Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

April 1, 2014

Juror disturbed by pornographic images dismissed as Spaulding trial continues

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

PRINCETON — A trial continues today for a Mercer County man facing charges including first-degree sexual assault and 50 counts of possessing child pornography.

John Spaulding, 41, of Montcalm, is currently being tried in Mercer County Circuit Court before Judge William Sadler. The trial started Monday morning, and testimony continues today.

One juror was excused this morning after telling Sadler that she was disturbed by the child pornography images the jury was viewing. Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney George Sitler asked the court to keep the juror, but Spaulding’s attorney, Harold B. Wolfe II, asked that she be removed because she had already started to form an opinion.

Sadler excused the juror, and one of two alternates took her place on the jury. The trial continues today.

In Spaulding’s first trial last February, an alternate joined the jury after one juror became sick and could not report for duty. A second alternate was excused before the jury began its deliberations; however, another juror became ill. The jurors determined they could not continue after Sadler offered to let them return to the courthouse the next morning, and state law did not allow an alternate to be recalled after a jury started deliberating. A mistrial was declared.