SAN ANTONIO – Just as jury selection began in the capital murder trial of Otis McKane, 35, the coronavirus pandemic hit full stride and created all kinds of chaos, including inside courtrooms.
McKane is facing capital murder charges in the execution-style slaying of veteran San Antonio Police Department Detective Ben Marconi in November 2016.
“There’s a lot of the jurors in the initial part of that jury selection that have self-quarantined,” District Judge Ron Rangel said last week.
Rangel, who is presiding over the McKane trial, is also the criminal district courts administrative judge.
He ordered jury selection halted after several jurors decided to self-quarantine. Another reason for stopping jury selection was because individual interviews with prospective jurors would be conducted in a small conference room.
“Each side has 3 attorneys, you have the defendant and the bailiffs that are present as well as the judge and the court reporter,” Rangel said.
Doing so would be in violation of orders that no more than 10 people are allowed to assemble together.
COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new virus, stands for coronavirus disease 2019. The disease first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, but spread around the world in early 2020, causing the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic in March.
MORE CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE FROM KSAT: