Open Arguments Begin in Finlaw Murder Trial Today

By Benjamin Cox on January 26, 2022 at 9:40am

It took approximately six hours yesterday for a jury to be selected in the Dustin Finlaw murder trial in Morgan County Court.

Eight men and four women will decide the fate of 22 year old Dustin A. Finlaw of Meredosia in the 2018 murder of Robert Utter of Rushville.

Sangamon County Judge Jack Davis III presided over the hearing. Davis had Morgan County State’s Attorney Gray Noll and Finlaw, defending himself in the case, whittle down approximately 50 jurors to 12 and two alternates. All of the jurors will hear evidence in the trial, which begins this morning at 9AM with opening arguments from both parties. The trial is expected to last the rest of the week and possibly into Monday.

The court dismissed a dozen potential jurors from two pools during the first session of the day, while selecting two alternates from a final pool of twelve yesterday afternoon.

The jurors were asked by Morgan County State’s Attorney Gray Noll whether they would have an issue remaining impartial if they had to view evidence that was graphic in nature due to the nature of the charges,

He also asked if they would have problems being impartial if they heard evidence involving what he termed “unconventional sexual activity.”

After opening statements today, the state will begin presenting their case. If convicted of the first degree murder charges, Finlaw could face up to natural life in prison.