Sears trial jury selection expected to take most of weekPotential jurors in the second-degree murder trial of Randall Sears, 45, spent much of Tuesday completing a juror's questionnaire.
By: Jane Lightbourn, The Hastings Star-Gazette
Potential jurors in the second-degree murder trial of Randall Sears, 45, spent much of Tuesday completing a juror's questionnaire.
Both the prosecuting (Dakota County Attorney's office) and defense attorneys were expected to begin individual questioning of potential jurors Wednesday morning in Dakota County District Court.
A criminal jury consists of 12 people and two alternates.
The questionnaires, which both the prosecuting and defense attorneys have access to, include questions regarding biography, current/previous involvement with the justice system, knowledge of the case, relationship with anyone involved the case.
Opening arguments are not expected until the end of the week at the earliest.
Sears has been charged with two counts of second-degree murder and one count of assault in the first degree in connection with the alleged assault Aug. 4, 2008, on Richard Jackson, a Minnesota Veterans Home Hastings resident. Sears also lived at the Veterans Home at the time of the attack. Jackson died Aug. 24, 2008, at St. Paul Regions Hospital.
Hastings Police officers were called at approximately 7 a.m. Aug. 4 to the Veterans Home. When they arrived, they were directed to the residential area of the third floor. Officers observed a male lying on his back on the floor being attended to by the nursing staff. The nurses had placed ice packs on either side of the man's head in a effort to reduce the swelling.
An officer assisted in holding the man's head steady as nurses attended to him. The same officers were approached by another man, later identified as Sears. According to the complaint, Sears said, “You want to talk to me; I did it.”
When a second officer approached Sears and asked what had happened, Sears said, ”I did it ... you may as well handcuff me and take me to jail.” Before the officer had the opportunity to read Sears his Miranda rights Sears refused, saying, “Fifth Amendment, constitution, only thing you need to know is this one statement, I did it.”
A member of the nursing staff told the officers another resident told them to respond to the third floor. This third resident told officers he heard a loud noise coming from the hallway. When the resident looked out his door, he saw the male (Sears) standing over the man. The man (Sears) was apparently stomping on the victim's head and did not stop.
As a result of the brain injury suffered by Jackson, he was placed on a ventilator and was ventilator-dependent for survival. On Aug. 22, 2008, a tracheotomy was performed to assist Jackson's respiration. Because of leakage after the placement, additional surgery was performed to replace the tracheotomy two days later. During the surgery, Jackson went into cardio-respiratory arrest and was not able to be resuscitated.
According to the complaint, the medical examiner listed the cause of death as “respiratory arrest during tracheotomy revision due to cranio-cerebral injuries with tracheotomy due to closed head trauma due to assault.”
Sears has been lodged in the Dakota County Jail in Hastings since the incident. Bail had been at $750,000.
Judge Edward Lynch is hearing the case.