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Brittany Lawonn, Published October 29 2007

Attorneys pick jurors for Gibbs trial

BISMARCK – Nine men and five women were selected this morning to serve as jurors for Moe Gibbs’ second murder trial.

Attorneys asked final questions of the 38-member panel, which included two alternates, before each side dismissed 11 people to form a final jury of 14 with two alternates.

One man was dismissed from the panel after telling attorneys he remembered something about the case that made him feel that Gibbs was guilty.

“I think the prosecution’s case would have to be really bad before I would vote not guilty,” the man said.

The 38 remaining jurors – 21 men and 17 women – were randomly drawn from 47 people who passed the first round of questioning during a four-day period last week.

A total of 65 people were questioned. Roughly 120 people received questionnaires regarding the case.

The media was removed from the courtroom for about seven minutes in the middle of the selection process. Southeast Judicial District Judge John Paulson did not give a reason for the dismissal, which came after a bench conference requested by the defense.

Paulson said the jury may be sequestered during deliberations but will not be sequestered during testimony.

Opening arguments will begin this afternoon.

Gibbs, 35, is facing a Class AA felony murder charge for the death of college student Mindy Morgenstern.

A jury in Minot, N.D., deadlocked 6-6 in July over whether the former Barnes County jailer strangled and cut the throat of the 22-year-old New Salem, N.D., native on Sept. 13, 2006, in her Valley, City, N.D., apartment.

Gibbs was a Barnes County jailer and lived in the same building at the time of his Sept. 20, 2006 arrest. He faces a maximum sentence of life without parole if convicted.

Read more online and in Tuesday's Forum.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Brittany Lawonn at (701) 241-5541

Attorneys pick jurors for Gibbs trial Brittany Lawonn 20071029