Jury selection hits standstill in Northwood murder case amid challenge to panelist diversity


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FORT DODGE, Iowa — Jury selection in the trial of a 41-year-old Northwood man accused of killing his former girlfriend has hit a standstill amid challenges to the racial makeup of potential jurors.

An attorney for Tyrone Washington Jr. argued Tuesday that the system in Webster County underrepresents blacks. Of prospective jurors who gathered Monday, 111 identified themselves as white and one as Native American, and his attorney said they therefore don't represent a fair cross-section of the community.

Prosecutors argue the state also deserves a fair trial.

The trial was moved to Webster County after Washington's lawyer argued that with so few blacks in Worth County, Washington — who is black — wouldn't be judged by a jury of his peers.

Washington is charged with stabbing to death 30-year-old Justine Smith in 2013.

Information from: Globe Gazette, http://www.globegazette.com/

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