Difficult time seating a jury for the Richmond Hill trial
Posted: Jun 5, 2015 8:04 PM EDT
Friday, Judge John Marnocha said he would have more control over the court proceedings.
The judge said on Thursday it was improper for the defense team to tell potential jurors that Mark Leonard could have hired a hit man while in jail to kill a witness.
Leonard is accused of 49 counts of arson, two counts of murder, one count of insurance fraud, and one count of conspiracy to commit murder.
The high profile case was moved to South Bend because there was too much publicity in Indianapolis to find an impartial jury.
Friday a pool of 54 jurors showed up to the St. Joseph County Courthouse.
Some of the potential jurors said they have already formed an opinion in this case, and couldn't be impartial during trial.
Others revealed they had done research on this case before.
One even said “I am scared, I would have his life in my hands I don't like that at all.”
This case is said to be complex, with thousands of articles of evidence to be introduced and 175 witnesses set to testify
The trial is expected to last through mid July.
Leonard is facing life in prison without the possibility of parole.
By the end of the day on Friday, 16 jurors had been seated.
Two additional jurors are needed and are expected to be seated Monday. Opening statements are expected Monday afternoon.