By Al Camp
OKANOGAN – A jury was seated this afternoon, Aug. 14, in the trial of an Omak man charged with attempted murder, rape and burglary.
Jury selection began Friday, Aug. 10, for Kelly Eugene Small, 50, who is on trial for allegedly beating and raping a 75-year-old Omak woman Feb. 25, 2006, on South Juniper Street in Omak. He also faces a forgery charge.
A pool of about 101 jurors that started Friday was whittled down to about 38 at 1 p.m. Tuesday, then reduced to 14 jurors following peremptory challenges (16 total, eight by each side) by the state and defense.
Two jurors are alternates in case anything happens during the trial, which is expected to last two weeks.
Opening arguments were slated for 9 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 15, in Okanogan County Superior Court, 149 N. Third Ave.
“I know we have asked a lot of questions about pre-trial publicity,” Superior Court Judge Jack Burchard told the potential jurors. “What is reported in the papers or radio is not always completely correct; sometimes it’s wrong.
“If it'’s not said under oath and cross examination, it’s not evidence.”
Prosecutor Karl Sloan and Deputy Prosecutor Felecia Chandler represent the state.
Small is represented by public defenders Brian D. Gwinn and Melissa A. MacDougall.
After jury selection, Burchard went over two motions - admission of a letter allegedly written by Small and change of venue.
As for the venue change, the judge maintained an earlier ruling to keep the trial in Okanogan County.
The letter was a more difficult issue, since it was unclear to the judge how it was recovered, how it went together and what it referenced.
The letter appeared to be written on both sides of two sheets of paper.
Since the judge ruled in favor of the defense to sever the case of the attack on the elderly Omak woman from a charge that Small murdered Sandy Bauer, admittance of the note, which allegedly refers to Bauer's death, has been a sticking point.
Burchard ruled that he would hear, outside the jury's presence, a witness testify how the note was recovered and how it was put together – the sequencing of what was written.
The state allegedly will show the note goes with Small fleeing after giving DNA to Omak Police Department, who told him they knew DNA had been matched – but not by whom – in the Bauer case and the attack on the elderly woman.
Gwinn argued that the letter did not refer to the attack on the elderly woman, that it did not pertain to the current case and that it referenced the Bauer case.
Nothing about the Bauer case can be included in the current trial because the cases are severed to preserve the defendant’s right to a fair trial.