Murder trial Monday: Jury for murder trial set, opening arguments to start after weekend

The 16-member jury, with 12 jurors and four alternates, for the quadruple murder trial of Omar Mohamed Kalmio, 28, was selected Friday morning in the Ward County Courthouse.

Kalmio is being tried on suspicion of the Jan. 28, 2011, murders of Sabrina Zephier, 19, Jolene Zephier, 38, Dylan Zephier, 13, and Jeremy Longie, 22. Each charge is a class AA felony.

Kalmio is represented by attorneys Thomas Glass, of Bismarck, and Kerry Rosenquist, of Grand Forks. The prosecutors are Assistant State’s Attorneys for Ward County Kelly Dillon and Sean Kasson.

Two panels of potential jurors, with about 30 members each, were questioned and interviewed Wednesday with two others potential jurors who had missed their Wednesday afternoon panel interviewed Thursday morning. Attorneys had narrowed that pool down to 43 people who were asked a few more questions Friday before a long pause in the proceedings as the defense attorneys and prosecutors used their 10 exemptions each to select the final pool.

Although told to be at the courthouse by 8:30 a.m., the courtroom took care of some “housekeeping,” where attorneys and Judge Doug Mattson conferred to clarify procedural items before admitting the pool at about 9:15 a.m. Mattson did thank them “very much” for all showing up on time despite the delay.

The pool was reminded that they were still under oath and then were further questioned by Mattson who asked if they recognized other members in the pool as relatives, friends or co-workers and if they would be able to reach a decision on their own and not be influenced by those they know. They were also read a list of names and were asked if they recognized any of the names. The jury pool was then allowed to talk amongst themselves about anything “like the Vikings,” Mattson suggested other than the trial itself.

“Jury pool,” Judge Mattson said as he called the court back to order at about 10 a.m., “I’m going to have the clerk call out 16 names. If your name is called please bring your personal effects as you come forward and the bailiffs will usher you into the box where you can be seated.” The jurors, split equally between men and women, took their seats in the jury box in the order in which they were called, starting with the back row, and then were asked to raise their right hands as they were sworn in by the clerk of district court.

“Do you solemnly swear that you will consider all of the evidence in this case, follow the instructions given to you, deliberate fairly and impartially and reach a fair verdict so help you God? If so, please signify by saying ‘I do.'”

Unanimously, the jury swore the oath and were then let into the jury room as the court adjourned for the day at about 10:15 a.m., earlier than the deadline of 10:30 a.m. that Mattson had requested the previous day.

The actual trial, jury intact, will start Monday, at 8:45 a.m., when opening arguments will be presented.