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Jury selected in case of Preston teacher, trial resumes Friday

Crime Watch

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Eli Lucero, pool photographer

PRESTON — It took over eight hours but a jury has been selected in the case of a Preston Junior High School science teacher accused of animal cruelty.

Robert Crosland allegedly fed a puppy to a turtle at the school in early 2018. Following an investigation by the state attorney general, Crosland was charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty.

RELATED | Trial begins for Preston teacher accused of animal cruelty

The jury selection began at 9 a.m. Thursday in the Franklin County Courthouse with 64 potential jurors filling out basic questionnaires. Those questionnaires were then examined by both the prosecution and defense, who then asked questions of potential jurors.

Prosecutor David Morse began the questioning by asking about speeding tickets. His line of questioning seemed to lead to finding which of the jurors believed the law is the law regardless of what others do and those that believe there are grey areas.

Morse continued by asking jurors about the pets they’ve owned and if they’ve ever had to euthanize any of them. He asked what they believe humanely killing an animal entails.

He spent a good deal of time speaking with jurors who said they were hunters.

He finally requested one of the potential jurors be excused after the juror expressed he didn’t believe he could go against the others if he felt their decision was wrong.

Shane Reichert, Crosland’s defense attorney, began asking about a story reported on by the Preston Citizen where a turkey broke into a home and caused serious damage. He asked if animal cruelty applies equally to all animals regardless of the animal.

He asked if anyone had used sticky traps to catch mice and how long it was until they found the rodents. As he continued his line of questioning, he asked if someone is guilty of animal cruelty if they did not intend to cause an animal to suffer. He used the example of hunting, asking if it was animal cruelty if a hunter missed their shot injuring the animal.

A jury was finally selected around 5:30 p.m. The trial will reconvene Friday at 9 a.m. If convicted, Crosland faces up to six months in jail and $5,000 in fines.

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