Jury seated in Tyler murder trial

Opening statements and testimony are expected today in the first-degree murder trial of Hillary Tyler after the jury was seated Monday afternoon.

The six-man, eight-woman jury, which includes two alternates, was seated around 4 p.m. Monday after a selection process that took up most of the day.

Tyler, 32, of Mulhall, Okla., is accused of killing her newborn child at the Super 8, 3755 Fifth Ave. S., on Sept. 19, 2011.

She has pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Nearly 100 potential jurors were at the Webster County Courthouse Monday morning to answer questions about their knowledge of the case as well as whether they’d be able to have an open mind regarding testimony.

The potential jurors were questioned by the prosecution, represented by Laura Roan, assistant Iowa attorney general, and Webster County Attorney Ricki Osborn, and the defense, represented by Joseph McCarville and Charles Kenville, of Fort Dodge.

Judge Thomas Bice, who is presiding over the trial, told the jurors that the only information they can use to determine guilt or innocence is testimony from witnesses during the trial.

“Keep an open mind and don’t come to any conclusion until you have heard all of the evidence presented,” Bice said to the jurors. “Do not rush to judgment under any circumstances.”

Court recessed for the day around 4:30 p.m., with Bice telling the jury to be ready to begin at 9 a.m. today.

The trial is expected to last until Friday, but Bice said he believes it will take longer.

“The odds of that happening are closer to slim to none,” he said. “We’ll more likely get the case to you on Monday or Tuesday.”

He added the length of the trial will determine on how much time both sides need.

“We want to make sure this trial goes in an expeditious, but very fair manner,” Bice told jurors. “You need to stay focused and concentrate. You are the judge of the facts, and that is a very important function you are asked to fulfill.”