July 10, 2012

Jury selection to continue in OSU player's trial


Editor's note: Jury selection resumed Tuesday and was ongoing as of the publication of this story.

The first day of suspended Oklahoma State basketball player Darrell Williams' trial on sexual assault allegations ended without a single juror being picked, but provided a glimpse into the cases prosecutors and defense lawyers will likely argue.

Assistant District Attorney Jill Tontz and defense attorney Cheryl Ramsey questioned potential jurors for about four hours Monday, dismissing a handful of people and failing to settle on any jury members. The selection process will continue Tuesday in Payne County District Court in Stillwater.

Williams is accused of groping two women and reaching into their pants without their consent at an off-campus party in December 2010. Williams has pleaded not guilty to four counts of rape by instrumentation and one count of sexual battery, all felony charges.

He has been suspended indefinitely from the Oklahoma State Cowboys team, sitting out all of last season while the case moved toward trial.

Judge Phillip Corley said the trial could take at least a couple of weeks.

Tontz, with questions she asked potential jurors, offered hints of what's to be expected when she presents prosecutors' case. She asked if they expect physical evidence such as DNA or fingerprints and whether they could recommend a conviction without it.

Tontz also asked if they consider a woman to be inviting rape if she wears suggestive clothing.

Ramsey countered with questions about the potential for defendants to be misidentified, particularly in poor lighting and crowded rooms.

Both Tontz and Ramsey asked potential jurors whether they are Oklahoma State sports fans, have season tickets or regularly attend men's basketball games. None of the men or women said they followed the team closely or recognized Williams.

The power forward averaged 7.1 points and 7.3 rebounds per game in part of one season with the Cowboys after transferring from junior college.

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