Dean Trial to Have Special Jury Selection

By Benjamin Cox on August 16, 2021 at 8:31am

A Brown County murder trial is set to move forward with a special jury selection process at the end of this month.

41 year old John M. Dean of Mt. Sterling faces one count of first degree murder for allegedly shooting 44 year old Rebecca Niewohner of Mt. Sterling to death on the evening of June 14, 2019.

Defense attorney John Leonard requested at a July 29th hearing that jury selection, called in law as voir dire, will be conducted on an individual and separate basis. Brown County State’s Attorney Michael Hill voiced objections to that motion in a hearing on Wednesday, saying that there could possibly be up to 150 potential jurors called to be questioned in the county. Hill had indicated after the July 29th hearing he may possibly agree to the motion under certain stipulations due to the publicity and the intimacy of the Brown County community. Despite the objections, Judge Charles H.W. Burch granted the defense’s motion to conduct voir dire on an individual basis.

A state motion, proposed jury instructions, and any further stipulations for the court to consider are scheduled to be heard on Thursday, August 26th. Dean is set to go to trial by jury next month. Dean remains lodged at the Schuyler County Jail on $1 million bond prior to trial.