Hundreds of juror no-shows face jail time

By: Mario Boone Email
By: Mario Boone Email

SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- It was a brutal crime for even the most veteran detectives. Beautiful four year old Kayleigh Biggerstaff was beaten so severely, her colon ruptured, then she died. The man fingered as her killer was Rico Benitez, the boyfriend of the girl's mom.

Jury selection in Benitez's murder trial was supposed to start Tuesday, but Judge Rex Ogle halted the case when just 40 potential jurors out of 250 showed up.

"If people want justice for things like that, then they should be there to help," said Lucy Williams.

Joe Ward agreed saying, "you need to prove cause why you can't be here or simply just show up."

Judge Ogle was barely able to contain his anger at the no-shows. "People ought to, as my mother said, have enough brass in their butt to get up and do the right things by each other."

Ogle says he's fed up with chronic criticism of the courts, while some people continue skirting their responsibility. "It's called an oxygen thief, they're just taking up space."

The judge says he'll order the missing jurors back to court, this time to explain why they shouldn't be locked up with Benitez.

"The penalties for contempt of court in this situation will carry up to 10 days in jails and a $50 fine."


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Lou Location: Seymour on Oct 6, 2011 at 11:10 AM
    Thanks for this. My neighbor is one and she bragged about it.
  • by Adeline Location: Gray on Oct 6, 2011 at 07:37 AM
    I feel sorry for the family of the deceased child and hope the man that killed this child never see's the day of light again for as long as he lives if not the death penalty. But, as far as the people showing up for jury duty are you going to pay their bills? No, your not so back off.
  • by Christi on Oct 5, 2011 at 05:55 PM
    it's not like they know WHAT trial they're supposed to showing up for - skirting their responsibilities, yes, but being offensive to the child's family, I'm certain not intentionally. It is sad people didn't find the time to explain to the courts why they couldn't be there - but seriously 210 people summoned to jury duty couldn't? There are plenty of valid reasons to be excused, so simply not showing up shouldn't ever be one of them. I'm sure it would be a lot easier to get jurors to show up if you didn't get just a few dollars a day vs your regular pay, esp with so many people barely making it paycheck to paycheck.
  • by judy Location: knox on Oct 5, 2011 at 03:47 PM
    i would gladly be a juror for this trial
  • by Angel Location: Kodak TN on Oct 5, 2011 at 03:29 PM
    He should put them in jail! This child's family has been through enough and them skirting their responsibilities is just plain mean. I'm sure if it had been one of their children they wouldn't want the potential jurors skipping out on their civic duties!

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