BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Two panels of prospective jurors filled out questionnaires Monday ahead of the trial of a California City couple charged in the deaths of two of their adopted children.
The groups — the first contained 70 potential jurors, the second had 62 — filled out a hardship questionnaire as well as a questionnaire asking if they’ve heard media coverage of the case against Trezell and Jacqueline West.
Of the first group, 36 had heard about the case, as had 38 in the second group.
Judge Charles R. Brehmer ordered more than 40 potential jurors back Thursday for questioning by attorneys. Additionally, more jury panels will be called in Tuesday.
The trial is expected to begin next week.
Trezell West, 36, and Jacqueline West, 33, are charged with offenses including second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter in the deaths of Orrin and Orson West. There has been intense media attention since the boys, ages 4 and 3, went missing more than two years ago. Their bodies have not been found.
Brehmer excused dozens of potential jurors for a variety of reasons: financial hardships, prepaid vacations, and work or child care issues.
Some were excused for writing they could not be fair or impartial and believed the Wests are guilty. The judge excused one person who wrote they have anxiety, and another who said they become emotional in cases involving children.
Prosecutors allege Orrin and Orson died about three months before the Wests reported them missing on Dec. 21, 2020. Numerous searches have been conducted and digging performed at sites in California City and Bakersfield.