Defense attorney Christopher Duby asked a potential juror in the Dickie E. Anderson Jr. murder case what sounded like a tricky question Thursday.
The woman knew only that Anderson is charged with two counts of murder.
"If you had to vote right now in this case, guilty or not guilty, what would you do?"
This is a common question during jury selection, and many people are tempted to respond, incorrectly, that they can't vote because they don't know the facts of the case.
The correct answer, as supplied by the woman who was eventually selected to serve on the panel, is "not guilty."
Under the law, Anderson and every other defendant in a criminal case is presumed innocent. It is the state's burden to prove him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Though Anderson's attorneys will be cross-examining witnesses and may even call their own witnesses, they have no legal burden to prove his innocence.
Anderson is accused in the strangling deaths of Renee Pellegrino and Michelle Comeau in 1997 and 1998, respectively. The trial is set to begin March 13, and to date attorneys for the state and for Anderson have selected 10 jurors. The full panel will comprise 12 jurors and a few alternates.