By Cary Rosenbaum
Editor’s Note: This is the second part of a story that ran in the Oct. 7 Chronicle, involving the trial of the State v. Kelly Small, a 14-year cold case that determined the man responsible for the murder of Sandy Bauer. The juror referenced in this article is Rusty Post.
Q: Had you ever been on a jury before?
Post: I have not been on a jury before. Individually, as a juror, that was certainly a tremendous responsibility, and part of what jury duty is about. I helped facilitate this discussion, and work our way through our agenda for reviewing the case. But my individual views or responsibilities were really no more than any other juror.
It was very important that no one would hold sway over the group of any other juror, and all the jurors took their roles very seriously, and were very respectful towards each other during the process, and considered all the evidence and testimony put before us.
Q: What was the biggest challenge in determining Kelly Small's guilt?
Post: I think for me, is likely the case for most other jurors, it's important to make the right decision. If you believe you are making the right decision based on the facts that are presented. And only the testimony and the evidence that's presented. All of us as jurors, considered all of the evidence in its entirety. Certainly there were some testimonies and evidence that were stronger than others. There were certain points that we felt either did not have a bearing on the decision or the case after we considered them.
Q: What did the form look like that the jury had to decide on during deliberations?
Post: Well, there were three options on each of the three charges. For example, the murder was murder in the first, murder in the second, or not guilty. And after weighing all the evidence, we felt he was guilty in the first degree. And the same was true in the other charges.
We had to review the jury instructions very closely and follow them precisely. And make the determination based on our review of the evidence, whether there were additional circumstances aggravation or sexual intent, and we found that those were also true.
Q: At which point were you able to determine the sexual intent, or the aggravation?
Post: It's very specifically defined in the jury instructions. And we followed the jury instructions through the letter. And according to the instructions, we found that those other circumstances and intent also existed, and that they were true.
Q: How has your life changed since the trial?
Post: Well, I had always wondered what it would be like to be on a jury trial.
I was very impressed with my fellow jurors. And their ability to consider all of the evidence. And to be very supportive of their fellow jurors. They did an excellent job of listening to each other and working together as a group through some very difficult information, difficult circumstances. It's very challenging to be on a jury on a case that's that long.
I thought (Superior Court) Judge (Jack) Burchard was exceptional throughout the entire process, both with selection and how he treated everybody in the court room, from witnesses to attorneys to the jury, he had an excellent sense of dealing with a very serious subject matter, but had a great ability to be light-hearted in moments. And the fact that he thanked us constantly, and recognized how significant it is to take three weeks out of your life, and spend it on a jury. I was impressed by that.