Ray Lewis Jury Expected Friday

Wednesday, May 17th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

ATLANTA (AP) — Defense lawyers expect a jury to be chosen by Friday in the murder trial of Ray Lewis, the Baltimore Ravens linebacker accused of murder.

Lawyers interviewed 14 potential jurors Tuesday, asking questions designed to reveal a potential juror's background, personal beliefs and hidden prejudices.

Defense attorneys asked several potential jurors how closely they followed the trial of O.J. Simpson — another NFL star accused of murder — and how it affected their opinion of the legal system.

Lewis and two friends, Reginald Oakley and Joseph Sweeting, are charged in the Jan. 31 stabbing deaths of Jacinth ``Shorty'' Baker, 21, and Richard Lollar, 24, during a brawl following a post-Super Bowl party.

Superior Court Judge Alice D. Bonner said she wanted 18 potential jurors interviewed Wednesday and another 18 Thursday.

There are 88 potential jurors left, but lawyers don't need to interview the entire group to get a jury.

Lawyers have to interview at least 46 potential jurors if the judge decides she wants four alternates in addition to the 12-person jury. If she wants six alternates, the lawyers have to interview at least 54.

At that pace, the jury could be selected by Friday afternoon, said Don Samuel, one of Lewis' attorneys.

Lewis' supporters in the courtroom Tuesday included his grandmother, his fiancee and the Rev. J. Richard Harris of Mountain Movers Ministries, a religious organization in Atlanta and Tallahassee, Fla., that works with professional athletes.

Other friends and family are expected to arrive in Atlanta before the trial begins.