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East Ventura County Focus

WestLake : Murder Trial Jury Selection Completed

October 28, 1994|BARBARA MURPHY

Jury selection concluded Thursday in the capital murder trial of Mark Scott Thornton, accused of kidnaping and killing a Westlake nurse who disappeared while running errands in the middle of the day.

If the six men and six women on the jury convict Thornton of the murder of Kelly O'Sullivan, they will then consider whether the death penalty is warranted. Four alternate jurors also have been selected to sit through the trial, which is expected to last four to six weeks, Deputy Public Defender Susan Olson said.

The first witnesses in the high-profile trial will be called Tuesday, attorneys said. On Monday, the lawyers will argue over the admissibility of certain statements Thornton made to police, Olson said.

The attorneys' opening statements Tuesday will be the public's first exposure to the evidence in the Ventura County case. Superior Court Judge Charles R. McGrath has kept under seal the transcript of the grand jury hearing that resulted in Thornton's indictment on the charges.

Thornton, 20, of Thousand Oaks, is accused of murdering O'Sullivan in September, 1993, during a carjacking. She disappeared one afternoon and her body was found almost two weeks later in some brush in the Santa Monica Mountains in Los Angeles County.

An autopsy disclosed she had been shot to death.

Before O'Sullivan's body was found, Thornton had been arrested in Reno, Nev., on suspicion of kidnaping his former girlfriend on the day O'Sullivan disappeared. He had the keys to O'Sullivan's Ford Explorer in his pocket, and the truck was found nearby.

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