Twelve jurors chosen for Franco trialby Tim Post, Minnesota Public Radio,
Ambar Espinoza, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Jury selection continues today in the trial of Olga Franco, the woman charged with killing four students after ramming a school bus with a minivan.
Twelve jurors have already been seated, but three more people need to be chosen. A jury of 12 will be picked from those final 15, with the remaining serving as alternates.
The judge in the case said opening statements in the trial could begin on Thursday.
The case has drawn a lot of attention from the news media since the February accident near Cottonwood. That's in part because federal officials say Franco is in the country illegally and used a stolen identity.
The issue of illegal immigration has featured prominently in jury selection so far. Franco's defense attorney has asked many of the potential jurors if they're prejudiced against Hispanic people. He also asks them if they understand Franco's immigration status is not an issue in this trial.
Eight potential jurors were dismissed after questioning by the defense and prosecution attorneys in the second day of jury selection.
One woman had written in a juror questionnaire that when the demographics of a community shift the changes are not always positive. Another man wrote that he had been robbed by Latinos in the past.
Defense attorney Manuel Guerrero asked both of them if they were prejudiced or biased against people of color or Latinos. Both of them answered no.
Others who were dismissed said it would be difficult to ignore Olga Franco's immigration status.
The case has drawn considerable media coverage in part because Franco is allegedly in the country illegally and authorities say she used a stolen identity.