ALPENA, Michigan – Jury selection for the trial of Brad Srebnik, who is charged in the deaths of Brynn Bills and Abby Hill, began on Wednesday at the APlex in Alpena. Srebnik is facing charges including two counts of premeditated murder, weapons charges, and disinterment and mutilation of a body. If convicted, he could be sentenced to life in prison.
The decision to hold the proceeding at the APlex was made due to the high profile of the case and the media attention it has received nationwide. Concerns were raised about the difficulty of forming an impartial jury from the large number of candidates summoned.
Leading the proceedings was Alan Curtis, an 88th District Court judge, as 26th Circuit Court Judge Ed Black’s decision to refuse recusal from the bench is currently under review by the State Court Administrative Office. The defense attorney, Patrick Cherry, has requested a verdict on whether Judge Black will continue overseeing the case.
During the jury selection, potential jurors were asked about their availability for the trial dates, any health issues that could prevent them from serving on the jury, and any conflicts of interest. They were also made aware of the graphic material that will be presented during the trial and were given the opportunity to communicate any concerns.
After the initial questioning, the first 16 potential jury candidates were brought to the front of the room for further inquiry by Patrick Cherry and Assistant Attorney General Danielle Hagaman-Clark. Some potential jurors were excused for various reasons, while others remained in consideration for the 12-person jury, with four alternates.
In the second round of questioning, many of the candidates admitted to having some knowledge of the case from media reports and local discussions. Both Hagaman-Clark and Cherry emphasized the importance of setting aside any preconceived notions and making decisions based solely on the evidence presented in court.
Notable witnesses expected to testify against Srebnik include Josh Wirgau, who reached a plea deal last year, and his defense attorneys Rick Stieger and Dennis Grenkowicz. Wirgau was an accomplice in the deaths of Bills and Hill and has pleaded guilty to several charges related to the case.
The trial, which is expected to last about two weeks if not further delayed, has been postponed multiple times due to the extensive evidence and witnesses involved. The jury selection process will continue today.
In summary, jury selection is underway for Brad Srebnik’s trial in Alpena, Michigan. Srebnik is facing charges of premeditated murder, weapons charges, and disinterment and mutilation of a body in connection with the deaths of Brynn Bills and Abby Hill. The high profile nature of the case and media attention has led to the trial being held at the APlex. The trial is expected to last approximately two weeks.