Jury selection begins in Ohio trial of foster mother accused in death of toddler

Monday, February 12th 2007, 8:07 pm
By: News On 6

BATAVIA, Ohio (AP) _ A woman charged with murder in the death of her developmentally disabled foster son sat quietly at the defense table Monday as potential jurors were asked what they knew and thought about the accusations against her.

Prosecutors say Liz Carroll and her husband wrapped 3-year-old Marcus Fiesel in a blanket, bound him with packing tape and left him in a closet last August while they went to a family reunion in Kentucky for the weekend, returning to find the boy dead. She later reported that Marcus went missing from a suburban Cincinnati park.

Ten of the first 30 prospective jurors who were questioned were excused, but only three because they told Judge Robert Ringland they had strong opinions about the couple's guilt. Jury selection was set to resume Tuesday afternoon.

Carroll, 30, wore a black pantsuit that covered the leg restraints she was ordered to wear. She was brought into the Clermont County courtroom before prospective jurors entered so they would not notice her hobbled walk.

Her husband, David Carroll Jr., also is charged with murder and is to be tried separately next month. They are each being held in lieu of $10.1 million bail.

Liz Carroll's attorney, Gregory Cohen, has asked that the trial be moved from southwest Ohio. Ringland has not ruled on that motion but could at any time if a jury cannot be seated.

Ringland cautioned prospective jurors to stop reading newspapers, listening to news reports or researching the case on the Internet until the trial ends. He said the trial was likely to take two weeks.

Liz Carroll and David Carroll Jr., 29, have pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges including kidnapping and child endangerment. David Carroll, who is accused of burning the boy's body and dumping the remains in the Ohio River, also is charged with gross abuse of a corpse.

Liz Carroll acknowledged in grand jury testimony days after the child was reported missing that he had been left in the closet and died, but she said she had no intention of hurting him.

The Carrolls also face trial on lesser charges, including perjury and inducing panic, in Hamilton County, where they told authorities Aug. 16 that Marcus wandered off or had been taken from a park during an outing.

Prosecutors have said the Carrolls' live-in companion, Amy Baker, provided information leading to the couple's indictments and is expected to testify.