PEORIA – Four alternates were selected Tuesday for the jury in the Chris Harris murder trial, completing the panel that will hear opening statements Wednesday in the deaths of five members of a Beason family.
On Monday, the process of choosing seven women and five men for the main jury was finished after four days of individual questioning of 45 Peoria County residents.
The work to select the three women and one man as alternates took all day Tuesday as Judge Scott Drazewski, defense lawyers and prosecutors explored people’s backgrounds and possible biases.
Opening statements are expected from Logan County State’s Attorney Jonathan Wright and defense attorney Peter Naylor.
The trial is expected to last a month and could include 100 witnesses and hundreds of pieces of physical evidence.
Space will be at a premium both for the lawyers who are sandwiched close to each other on one side of the small courtroom and spectators who will compete for space on benches that accommodate about 50 people. Two rows on one side of the courtroom are reserved for journalists attending the trial.
Reporters are allowed to use laptop computers and cellphones to send written material from the courtroom under a court order signed by Drazewski before the trial. Cameras and recording devices are not allowed because Peoria County is not participating yet in an Illinois Supreme Court pilot project for extended media coverage.