It was a grueling Wednesday for many in Barton County District Court as a potential jury pool of 100 for Sheriff Brian Bellendir’s misdemeanor trail was whittled down to six jurors and two alternates.
The voir dire process started at 9 a.m. By 3:30 p.m., the four woman, four man panel was seated.
“It has been a long day,” Senior Judge Edward Bouker told the jurors seated in the main courtroom. He said he appreciated their endurance.
The opening statements are set to begin at 9 a.m. today.
Next, he instructed them.
“Jurors must receive all of their information about the case from the trial itself, and must not rely on any other source of information,” he said.
“Jurors must not search for, read or listen to any information from the internet relating in any way to the case.”
They should also avoid media coverage. He also reminded them not to do any outside research and not to talk about the case or utilize any electronic or social media to discuss the matter.
After Bouker sent the eight home for the evening, he released the other potential jurors.
Bellendir is charged with “mistreatment of a confined person,” Nathan B. Manley. The prosecution alleges that on Aug. 10, 2017, Manley was detained in handcuffs by Bellendir, who spoke to him in a “vulgar, rude and/or angry manner” and struck him on the side of the head.
Manley, 43, is serving a prison sentence for a burglary and theft that occurred on Aug. 24, 2016, in Barton County. He was moved from the El Dorado Correctional Facility to the Larned Correctional Mental Health Facility on Nov. 1 so he could testify at the trial.