ATHENS, Ala (WHNT) — The first day of jury selection for the second trial of Mason Sisk wrapped up Monday without a jury set with plans to continue Tuesday morning.
Selection began Monday morning at the Limestone County Courthouse in Athens. Sisk is charged with capital murder in connection with the fatal shooting of five of his family members in Elkmon in September 2019. He was 14 at the time.
Jury summons were sent to 200 people before the hearing, though only around 77 showed up in court Monday. The hearing began with every member of the pool sharing their basic background.
Questioning of the possible panel began with asking the panel if they had any fixed opinions about Sisk’s guilt or innocence, something several people admitted to.
One potential juror was actually held in contempt and arrested after a question about “mental ability” led to the man apparently using profanity in court during an exchange with the judge.
In the prosecution’s questions, District Attorney Brian Jones discussed the intense nature of the case. He said the case will likely change the jurors’ lives and asked if they could handle graphic images from the scene. Jones said this would include autopsy and crime scene photos of the victims which include two adults and three young children. He said there are 800 evidence exhibits in the State’s case.
At least twelve people were excused due to the graphic nature of possible evidence.
Jones also asked jurors if they listen to true crime podcasts or certain shows like CSI. He also said that there was no DNA from Sisk on the gun believed to be used in the case. Jones asked the panel if DNA was required to convict Sisk.
Jones ended his questioning by asking if any of the panel members had any contact with the justice system before showing up for jury duty, which caused several potential jurors to line up to talk to the judge.
Defense Attorney Shay Golden then took up questioning the potential jurors. Golden began much like Jones asking if the panel could handle the grim nature of much of the evidence in the case.
He also asked the jury if they felt video games helped with real-world skills. In the previous trial, it was noted Sisk enjoys playing first-person shooter video games. Golden also asked about crime shows and said they aren’t a model for how a real-life investigation goes.
Golden also asked panelists with teenage children if they felt confident about their child being questioned alone by police.
The dense also asked panelists about familiarity with motorcycle clubs, Sisk’s Father John Sisk, who was a victim in the case had been known to be a member of motorcycle clubs including one called the 1 Percent Club. One panelist explained the name by saying the idea is that 99 percent of motorcycle clubs are legal but the 1 Percent Club are outlaws.
Golden also stressed to the jury that whoever ends up on the jury the trial is a search for truth.