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Jury seated in infant death trial

September 13th, 2011 11:59 am by Becky Campbell

For the second time this year, a man and woman accused in their 2-month-old daughter’s 2009 death appeared in court for jury selection in their trial.
In July, the process was sidelined after a defense witness from Florida became unavailable after his father died.
It all went much more smoothly Tuesday for Russell Long and Jessica Adkins’ first-degree murder trial.
Long, 26, is charged with two counts of murder — one while committing child abuse and one while committing child neglect — and Adkins faces one charge of first degree murder while committing child neglect.
Their infant daughter, Kaylie Trinity Adkins, died March 6, 2009, at their home after about a week of throwing up and not eating.
An autopsy showed young Kaylie had multiple fractures and hemorrhages when she died.
Long was the baby’s caregiver while Adkins worked second shift.
After her daughter’s death, Adkins told police that she took the baby to the doctor, but investigators said they learned that wasn’t true. Instead, police said, Adkins took the couple’s older child to a doctor’s appointment and took the baby with her, but didn’t have a medical professional look at the child.
Tuesday’s jury selection began with a slim group of only 22 potential jurors. Criminal Court Judge Robert Cupp said many jurors on the panel called in sick with a virus.
He made plans to recruit another jury panel, and that group came in handy for the afternoon court session.
Three attorneys — Assistant District Attorney Erin McArdle for the state, Jim Bowman for Adkins and Public Defender Jeff Kelly for Long — took several turns asking questions.
With Cupp only calling 14 jurors into the jury box for questioning, each time attorneys exercised their challenges and excused even one person, Cupp had to call more up and the questions started again.
In all, the process lasted more than five hours. By around 4:30 p.m., attorneys had sent 13 jurors home before settling on a 14-person panel.
The jury consists of nine women and five men. Most of the jurors are parents, which was one of the key questions from attorneys.
Defense attorneys also focused on how child rearing responsibilities were divided by jurors in their homes and the issue of relying on information provided by their caregiving partner.
During the investigation, Adkins apparently told police that she had no knowledge of her daughter being injured while she was away.
Little was mentioned about the similarities of the case to the Casey Anthony trial earlier this year in Florida. That was an issue when Long and Adkins went to trial in July.
During those proceedings, attorneys spent a day selecting a jury but the trial was snuffed out the following day when the witness issue came up.
Attorneys will present opening statements today, and the state will being putting on evidence.
Both Adkins and Long face life in prison if convicted. Adkins is free on an own recognizance bond while Long is being held on a $1 million bond.
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Press Staff Writer Becky Campbell is tweeting live from the Adkins-Long trial. Follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/CampbellinCourt.

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