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Jury selection slow process in Fraga trial

WORTHINGTON -- Two down, 12 to go.

After four hours of questioning prospective jurors, attorneys gave the nod for two out of the six people interviewed to sit on the jury for the Josue Fraga murder trial.

Fraga is charged with first-degree murder in the death of his 2-year-old niece Samantha, who was pronounced dead March 20, 2008. Cause of death includes traumatic head injuries, multiple contusions, traumatic injuries to the external sex organs and rectum, peritonitis and a ruptured stomach.

Each prospective juror filled out an extensive questionnaire prior to the selection process, answering queries on topics that ranged from their experience with law enforcement to their knowledge of the case.

One by one, they were brought into the courtroom and questioned by Judge Timothy Connell, then defense attorneys Cecil Naatz and Pam King. If the defense attorneys had no objection, then prosecuting attorneys Assistant Attorney General Bill Klumpp and Nobles County Attorney Gordon Moore were allowed to ask more questions.

The questions covered a variety of subjects, asking the jury member's opinions on everything from picky eaters to the use of Viagra. Each prospective juror was asked if they would be able to handle seeing autopsy photos and if they thought they could participate in a group discussion and give their own opinion when it came time for deliberation.

They were also asked if sitting in the court room for two weeks would cause unnecessary hardship or scheduling conflicts.

Both jurors chosen so far are women. Selection will continue today and most likely for the rest of the week.