Jury selection continues in case against Ivelis Turell

TRENTON — Another 50 prospects were brought Tuesday afternoon in a bid to find the last few jurors for the trial of a long abused woman claiming she killed her boyfriend in self-defense.
Soon after they were brought before Mercer County Superior Court Judge Pedro Jiminez, most members of the jury pool were lining up to talk to the judge about why they couldn’t serve.

During the day’s proceedings, and last week, the judge excused prospective jurors who said they were self-employed or would not be paid by their employers for time missed. The trial is expected to go three weeks.
Prospective jurors, including 15 now seated in the jury box but subject to getting cut, have been asked if domestic violence has touched their lives. Most said no.
They will be asked to decide the fate of Ivelis Turell, who allegedly shot and killed Michael Whitaker in a struggle over a gun in May 2007 at their home on Ferry Street.
She also was shot in the struggle with Whitaker, who worked as a heating and AC technician. A previous Mercer judge called it self-defense and tossed out the case. Turell’s previous lawyer, Tim Smith of upstate Fairfield, said Whitaker beat Turell frequently and often made her play Russian Roulette.
But prosecutors sought and got another indictment and have pressed on with the case.
The couple had one child together and lived with her other two children in a new house overlooking a small park at Ferry and Bridge Street.

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