After two even-toned warnings, the judge in the Shawn Rogers murder trial on Monday laid down a three-minute rule for attorneys questioning potential jurors in the case.
“Forty-one minutes to get through three is not going to work,” said Anchorage Judge Pro-tem Larry Card in Kenai Superior Court in reference to extensive questioning by both the prosecution and the defense attorneys as the first day of jury selection began.
A panel of 45 potential jurors was summoned to the courthouse with the goal of seating a 12-person jury with two or three alternates.
Rogers is the 33-year-old Kenai man charged with the shooting death of Brian Black, 43, of Beluga, in the summer of 2004.
Rogers is accused of shooting Black to death in Fat Albert’s Tavern and Bunkhouse in Beluga, north of Tyonek. Rogers is charged with first-degree murder.
After the first juror candidate was questioned by assistant district attorney Scot Leaders and defense attorney Chuck Robinson on Monday morning, Card said the jury candidates had all responded to fairly lengthy juror questionnaires in advance, and he felt the subsequent questioning took “a long time.”
After the fourth candidate was questioned, Card imposed the three-minute limit for each side, saying he would allow exceptions.
Before individual voir dire, the judge addressed all the candidates as a group, informing them the court will be in session from 8:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. each day, Monday through Friday except some weeks when the court calendar will only permit a Monday through Thursday schedule.
The trial is expected to continue for three to four weeks.
Rogers has entered a not guilty plea and is free on $350,000 bail.
Jury selection is scheduled to resume this morning.
Phil Hermanek can be reached at phillip.hermanek@ peninsulaclarion.com.
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