Benton County clerks to call 140 people for jury selection in nanny trial

Kristin M. Kraemer, Tri-City HeraldApril 16, 2013 

Benton County clerks will call in about 140 residents as potential jurors in the manslaughter trial of Richland nanny Kelli A. Jacobsen.

Clerk Josie Delvin told the court Tuesday that her office has a no-show rate of 20 percent, so that means they should get a return of about 110 people. That is the maximum capacity in the jury waiting room, she said.

Prosecutors and Jacobsen's defense attorney agreed that should be enough to seat a panel with alternates for the trial, which is expected to last at least three weeks. Jury selection begins Monday, with opening statements planned Thursday, April 25.

Jacobsen, 28, is charged in Benton County Superior Court with first-degree manslaughter. She had been hired to watch Ryder Morrison, who celebrated his first birthday the day before he died in surgery for head trauma on June 22, 2011.

The charge includes aggravating circumstances alleging Ryder was particularly vulnerable, incapable of resistance, and that his death had a destructive and foreseeable impact on others.

Jacobsen has denied recklessly causing the boy's death.

Tawney Johnson saw her son when she went home for lunch that day, and was back at work by noon.

Then at 12:14 p.m., Jacobsen called 911 and told authorities Ryder fell while she was in the kitchen getting him a snack, court documents said. She said she ran to the living room and found Ryder on his back.

Emergency room doctors at Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland have said the boy's injuries, including a brain bleed, were inconsistent with the nanny's story, documents said.

Investigators had a pediatrician at Children's Hospital in Seattle review the autopsy and medical records. The conclusion reportedly was that the injuries Ryder suffered normally are caused by severe whiplash, which also can cause neck muscle and spinal cord bleeding.

Prosecutor Andy Miller and Jacobsen's attorney, Scott Johnson, have lengthy witness lists with a large number of medical experts.

Another court hearing is scheduled Thursday morning to work out some legal issues before the jury is called in.

Tri-City Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service