The Times West Virginian

Local News

March 11, 2014

Travel to scene and opening statements in Michael Palmer murder trial today

CLARKSBURG — After about five hours of questioning, a jury was finally selected in the first-degree murder trial of Michael Ian Palmer, which is being held in Harrison County.

The original jury selection for the trial was Jan. 23 in Marion County, but because a sufficient number of jurors could not be found, Marion Circuit Judge Michael John Aloi issued a change of venue.

Palmer, of Baxter, was arrested in June 2012 and charged with the premeditated murder of his father-in-law, Everett “Ed” Wilson. Wilson was shot to death at the Baxter home of his daughter, Kristyn Palmer, and son-in-law, Michael Palmer, on Dec. 11, 2011.

The shooting was originally portrayed as a domestic incident in which Wilson damaged the front door while trying to enter the Palmers’ home. Wilson was shot once in the torso. Wilson was pronounced dead on the scene by a state medical examiner.

During the jury-selection process Monday, both Marion County Prosecuting Attorney Patrick Wilson and defense attorney Sean Murphy asked potential jurors questions addressing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), seeing that Everett Wilson was a veteran.

Patrick Wilson and Murphy asked potential jurors if they or anyone they are close with have been diagnosed with PTSD.

Other questioning surrounded self-defense.

Wilson questioned the potential jurors about self defense and what justifies self defense.

“If someone comes to your house, they appear at your door and come in your door uninvited, does that give you a reason to cause deadly harm?” Wilson asked potential jurors.

Around 4 p.m. Monday, the jury-selection process ended with 12 individuals on the jury and six alternates. Of the 12, six were female and six were male.

Aloi told the jury how important their role is and how serious this case is.

“We thank you for service and we appreciate it,” he told them.

Aloi said the trial will continue every day Monday through Friday and expects the trial to last two to three weeks.

“It could go longer but that’s our estimate,” he said.

Today, the jury will travel to the scene in Baxter for the jury view. Upon returning to Harrison County, Aloi expects opening statements from both the prosecuting attorney and the defense attorney. If there is time, he would like at least one witness called to the stand.

“If we get back and the opening statements are done by 2 p.m., I don’t want to waste an afternoon,” Aloi said.

Email Emily Gallagher at egallagher@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @EGallagherTWV.

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