Jury selection in Griego trial to begin Wednesday

2014-04-01T13:40:00Z 2014-04-02T12:33:17Z Jury selection in Griego trial to begin WednesdayGazette Staff The Billings Gazette

Jury selection for the trial of Toby Griego, the man charged with committing a string of home-invasion rapes last year, is scheduled to begin Wednesday morning.

Griego, 41, faces 40 charges in connection to a string of home-invasion robberies, sexual assaults, attempted sexual assaults and kidnappings in 2013 that gripped Billings for months. He denied all charges at arraignment in November.

County Attorney Scott Twito said the trial will start Monday or Tuesday, depending on how long the jury selection process takes. The trial is expected to take about two weeks. 

Clerk of District Court Kristie Lee Boelter said that a pool of 300 potential jurors was requested for the jury selection process.

Boelter said that 96 people have been confirmed for jury selection at 9 a.m. Wednesday, with another group of 93 to go through the process at 1 p.m. Some people have been excused from jury duty for various reasons. 

Twito said a jury pool of this size has been called in cases before, but that it is generally not the norm.

Twelve people will be chosen to hear the trial. Twito said that it has been suggested that at least three alternate jurors also be selected.

Potential jurors will be given two questionnaires on information related to the case. 

Possible members of the jury will also go through voir dire, which is questioning by legal counsel and a judge to determine if they can address the issues of the case fairly and without bias.

Investigators have linked Griego to the rapes or attempted rapes of at least six victims, beginning in early 2013 and continuing into the summer. He will be on trial for alleged offenses against four of those victims.

In each attack, Griego is alleged to have entered a woman's home and assaulted her or tried to do so.

The prosecutors in the case are Chief Deputy Yellowstone County Attorney Juli M. Pierce and Chief Deputy Yellowstone County Attorney Rod Souza.

Griego is represented by Regional Deputy Public Defender David Duke, head of the Billings public defender’s office, and J. Thomas Bartleson of the major-crimes unit of the state public defender’s office.

Griego has been in custody at the county jail since Aug. 23. His bond is $1 million. If found guilty of rape, Griego could face life in prison.

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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