PHOENIX - The first set of potential jurors in the trial of "Serial Shooter" suspect Dale Hausner has been whittled down to about 40 people, but hundreds more are expected to go through the initial vetting process in coming days.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Roland Steinle on Wednesday gave each of more than 120 people a turn to say whether they were able to serve. Those who said they could not cited medical reasons, a bias against Hausner or problems with missing work for a long time.
Those who remained filled out a questionnaire and were ordered to return for further questioning later this month. The process will be repeated with another jury pool Wednesday afternoon, and with additional panels through the week.
Steinle told potential jurors that the questionnaire is an opportunity for them to articulate their beliefs.
"Please be candid," Steinle said. "The mere fact that you may have heard something on the news about the serial shooter or about the case does not necessarily exclude you from jury service. The question is whether or not you formed opinions about the guilt or innocence of Mr. Hausner based upon what you read in the paper."
Hausner has pleaded not guilty in eight killings and 20 other attacks.
The process could take weeks because several hundred potential jurors will have to be screened before a panel is finally seated.
Among the witnesses expected to testify is Hausner's alleged partner in the crimes, Samuel Dieteman. Dieteman has said in court that he rode with Hausner while the two cruised neighborhoods in search of "just random, senseless destruction."
Dieteman pleaded guilty in April to two murders in the case.
Hausner appeared in court in a gray dress shirt. Defense attorney Tim Agan said his client "seems to be fine."
Prosecutors say Hausner preyed on people, dogs and horses during a 14-month period that started May 2005, randomly attacking from his Toyota Camry in a conspiracy that occasionally included his brother, Jeff, and Dieteman.
Jeff Hausner has been charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault in one of the assaults connected to the case. He has pleaded not guilty.
Dale Hausner and Dieteman could face the death penalty. Dieteman has said he won't fight his sentence if a jury recommends death.
"He can never fix things, but this is one way that he can right the wrongs," Dieteman's lawyer, Maria Schaffer, said.