WILKES-BARRE — Jury selection began on Monday in the trial of Keith Williams, who stands accused of shooting and killing a man in his Fairmount Township home early last year.
But the process was slow going, and will need to be completed Tuesday morning.
Williams, 42, allegedly shot Brock Earnest, 40, in the chest with a shotgun in January 2017.
The jury selection process was a lengthy one, with attorneys mostly asking questions regarding the potential jurors’ opinion about gun ownership and their use for self-defense.
A vast majority of the 80 potential jurors said they or someone in their home owned a firearm, but many potential jurors indicated they felt that someone who would use a gun in self-defense should issue some sort of warning.
By late Monday afternoon, attorneys were interviewing each of the potential jurors individually, and had not completed the interviews. A jury is likely to be picked Tuesday morning or early afternoon.
Police say Williams shot Earnest after a fight that started playful turned violent.
Williams’ girlfriend, Diedre Depiero, had invited Earnest to Williams’ home on Jan. 12, 2017. She invited him after Earnest had confided in her that he was “dying of cancer.”
Later that evening, the men went outside to fire off shotgun rounds. When they went back inside, Depiero told police they began to fight, playfully at first. But Earnest began shouting at Williams to “fight back.”
Depiero said Williams got the shotgun from a bedroom in response, and fired a round at Earnest’s chest. Williams later told police that Earnest was “hitting on” Depiero and that he felt “threatened” by him.
Williams remains locked up at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility. His trial is likely to last the rest of the week.
Reach Patrick Kernan at 570-991-6386 or on Twitter @PatKernan