Attorneys Spar Over Juror Questionnaire and Admissible Evidence in Terse Young Pretrial
SAN ANGELO, TX — If John Young’s jury trial for forgery, theft and money laundering is anything like the pretrial Wednesday, there’ll be fireworks from the get go.
John Stacy Young, 57, along with co-defendant Ray Zapata is accused of forging the will of John Sullivan naming Young as the sole beneficiary.
Zapata was found guilty of forgery in May and sentenced to six months in prison and five years probation. He was also ordered to pay a portion of $1.8 million owed to the Sullivan estate. Zapata is appealing his conviction.
Prosecuting attorney Shane Attaway from the Texas attorney general’s office objected to several questions on a questionnaire offered by the defense. Attaway told Judge Brock Jones the questions favored the defense. Judge Jones then went down the list and asked prosecutors question by question if they objected to each one.
At one point Defense attorney Daniel Hurley said about denying the use of the questionnaire, “This will deny Mr. Young a fair trial and will make jury selection a long process.” Judge Jones agreed that jury selection will be a long process.
In the end, Jones accepted the questionnaire after striking six questions and gave prosecutors the opportunity to add their own questions.
Jones said potential jurors will be given the questionnaire on the first day of jury selection October 16 and must complete it before they are dismissed.
Jones went through about 14 motions filed by the defense granting most of them.
During the afternoon pretrial hearing Wednesday Hurley and Attaway argued with each other over several issues prompting Judge Jones to say, “Gentlemen, talk to me, not to each other.”
Defense attorneys anticipate objecting to testimony from Texas Ranger Nick Hanna citing his testimony from the Zapata trial. Hurley said some of that testimony was hearsay and drew conclusions.
Young has another pretrial on Wednesday October 11 with the jury trial set to begin Monday October 16 in the Tom Green County courthouse.