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COUNTYWIDE FOCUS

THOUSAND OAKS : Judge Orders Release of Jury Pool Survey

October 02, 1994|DWAYNE BRAY

A judge has ordered the release of questionnaires used to poll the attitudes of prospective jurors in the murder case of Mark Scott Thornton of Thousand Oaks.

Thornton is accused of killing Westlake nurse Kellie O'Sullivan, 34, during a carjacking last year. Because O'Sullivan's 12-day disappearance and slaying drew substantial media coverage, the court is trying to discover how much the 125 members of the jury pool know about the case by having them complete an 84-question, 27-page survey.

On Friday, Superior Court Judge Charles R. McGrath said he will make the questionnaires public after each person is interviewed by lawyers. He will strike the juror's name, Social Security number and other identifying information from the forms, he said.

Earlier, McGrath denied several Ventura County media outlets access to the questionnaires. He decided to allow them to be inspected during a hearing on a motion filed by The Times.

So far, 40 of the 125 prospective jurors have either been interviewed by attorneys about their responses or excluded from the case because their answers reflected bias.The trial is expected to start after a jury is seated, possibly in about three weeks, attorneys said.

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