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McVeigh jury selection advances to second round

timothy.mcveigh Latest developments:

DENVER (CNN) -- Jury selection in the Timothy McVeigh bombing trial moves to the next phase Tuesday after the first round concluded with questioning of the 99th potential juror.

U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch announced Monday he would hear motions Tuesday, indicating the first round of jury selection, which began March 31, was over.

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  • The second round, in which the two sides have 23 peremptory strikes, was scheduled for Tuesday morning, a source said. Those strikes may be used for no given reason. A final panel of 12 jurors and six alternates will then remain.

    Opening statements in the trial were expected to begin Thursday.

    McVeigh is charged with the murder of eight federal workers in the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995. The bombing killed 168 people.

    Lead prosecutor Joseph Hartzler and lead defense attorney Stephen Jones were absent from Monday's session, prompting speculation they are working on opening statements.

    First round ends with truck driver

    The first round of jury selection concluded with the questioning of potential juror 99, a truck driver for a food supply company.

    The man told Matsch he could impose the death penalty if the circumstances warranted. He said he remembered seeing images of the Murrah building and McVeigh in the orange prison jumpsuit, and recalled that 168 people died; he said he did not follow the story after that.

    Earlier, the 98th potential juror said he might have a problem serving on the jury because his 8-year-old son is expected to undergo surgery for a nonmalignant bone tumor.

    Matsch told the man that if he is chosen, "We'll work around it."

    The second potential juror to be questioned Monday told the court he thought he had read in the papers that a jury had been selected, so he kept reading despite orders to avoid the media.

    McVeigh writes letter to prosecutor

    Sources told CNN that McVeigh has written a letter to one of the government attorneys who is prosecuting him, though the contents of the letter have not been disclosed. Sources would only confirm the letter was written several months ago.

    Earlier this month, it was disclosed that McVeigh wrote a letter to an Oklahoma City newspaper reporter. In that letter, McVeigh accused the FBI of being responsible for the 1993 fire that destroyed the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas.


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