WILKES-BARRE — After a lengthy selection process, a jury has finally been seated for the trial of Keith Williams.
Williams, 42, is accused of fatally shooting Brock Earnest, 40, after Earnest came to his Fairmount Township home in January 2017.
Attorneys took plenty of time to choose jurors, taking up all of Monday and the bulk of Tuesday in the process, interviewing each of the 80 candidates individually.
Finally, around 3 p.m. Tuesday, a jury was put together, comprised of nine women and three men. One man and one woman were also selected to act as alternate jurors.
Luzerne County Judge David W. Lupas, who is presiding over the case, allowed jurors an hour recess, ordering them to return at 4 p.m. so they can be given instructions and sworn in. After the recess, Lupas said one of the jurors had learned of a family emergency and had to be excused. She was replaced by one of the alternates.
Williams stands accused of killing Earnest after a playful fight turned violent.
Earnest came to Williams’ home Jan. 12, 2017, after he was invited by Williams’ girlfriend, Diedre Depiero, authorities report.
The men went outside to fire off shotgun rounds. After coming inside, Depiero told police they began to fight playfully. But Earnest began shouting at Williams, telling him to “fight back,” court records state.
Williams allegedly responded by retrieving a shotgun from a bedroom, and firing a round at Earnest’s chest, killing him.
Opening arguments will start Wednesday morning. Williams’ trial is likely to continue for the rest of the week.
Reach Patrick Kernan at 570-991-6386 or on Twitter @PatKernan