Questionnaire formed for homicide trial

Published 12:00 pm Tuesday, March 30, 2010

State and county prosecutors, and the defense counsel for Chad Jamie Gulbertson, on Monday finalized the questionnaire that potential jurors will receive in Gulbertson’s upcoming homicide trial.

The questionnaire will have more than 60 questions on it. Jurors will also meet one-on-one with the prosecutors and defense counsel.

During what was classified as a pre-trial Monday, the lawyers also discussed motions made by both sides, regarding statements that can be made to jurors during the trial.

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At the end of the Monday hearing, Freeborn County District Court Judge John A. Chesterman indicated there were still several issues that need be resolved before jury selection begins April 12 in Rice County.

To handle these issues, there will be a second pre-trial hearing about a week before the trial, Chesterman said. The exact date has not yet been set.

Gulbertson, 38, is accused of murdering his estranged girlfriend Jody Lee Morrow last June. He faces five counts of murder, including three first-degree murder charges and two second-degree murder charges, after a grand jury indictment in October.

He was arrested June 21, 2009, after authorities found Morrow, 38, dead inside her trailer at 730 Larimore Circle in Albert Lea.

Before officers found Morrow, Gulbertson reportedly came into the Law Enforcement Center in the Freeborn County Government Center with a family member and told an officer he thought he killed his former girlfriend, according to police reports.

Reports from the Freeborn County medical examiner determined that Morrow’s death was caused by multiple blunt-force injuries to her head with a hammer, according to court documents.

Morrow had applied for an emergency order for protection against Gulbertson in both September of 2008 and in May of 2009. She was granted an official order for protection June 1, 2009, according to court records.

Chesterman, the prosecutors and Gulbertson’s lawyers said Monday they plan to meet at the Rice County Courthouse today to familiarize themselves with the courtroom.

Freeborn County Attorney Craig Nelson said as of Monday, Rice County officials are not consenting to house Gulbertson in their jail during the trial.

Whether Gulbertson will be transported from Freeborn County each day of the trial has not been determined.