BLOOMINGTON - Three insurance company employees and a nurse were accepted Tuesday as the newest jurors on the panel that will hear the criminal sexual assault case against former Bloomington police Sgt. Jeff Pelo. | Special section: Court documents, audio, archived stories | Audio Slideshow: What to expect during the trial | Monday's court action
The new panel brings to eight the total number of jurors selected for Pelo's trial.
Pelo is accused of raping four women and stalking a fifth woman between 2002 and 2006.
He was a 17-year veteran of the department in June 2006 when he was stopped outside the home of a Bloomington woman who reported an attempted break-in. Several weeks later, Pelo was charged in connection with four unsolved sexual assaults.
The jury so far consists of three men and five women. The first four jurors were a retired county employee, a former newspaper employee, a Danvers man who works for local government and an insurance company worker.
Associate Judge Robert Frietag asked potential jurors the first round of questions, followed by Chief Felony Prosecutor Mark Messman and defense attorney Michael Rosenblat.
Several would-be jurors excused Tuesday admitted that their strong personal feelings about the case precluded them from being fair jurors.
One man who was a victim of a break-in said listening to the charges against the 43-year-old police officer made him physically sick. He was excused.
Also released from consideration was a college student who appeared to be sleeping during questioning by attorneys.
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Pelo wrote notes on a legal pad and conferred with Roseblat and defense co-counsel Erica Longfield as jury selection continued for a second day.
Frietag explained to potential jurors that the trial could last at least four weeks. He said he plans to send jurors home at the end of each day but the panel will be sequestered at a local hotel if deliberations continue past one day.
Jurors still under consideration include a state correctional officer and a computer specialist.
In his questioning, Frietag emphasized what he termed "the bottom-line question" regarding the person's ability to be fair and impartial despite what they may have read or heard about the case.
One woman excused Tuesday morning said she and her husband are former police officers who know other law enforcement personnel.
"I couldn't be fair and impartial," the woman said.
In addition to 12 jurors, three alternates will be chosen for the trial. After jury selection is complete, the judge is expected to hear arguments of several pending pretrial motions.
Opening statements could be delivered to the jury Monday or Tuesday, the judge said.