Defense in double homicide wants jury thrown out

Published 11:31 pm Monday, July 10, 2017

By Mary Pieper, Mason City Globe Gazette

MASON CITY — The defense in the trial of Peter Veal, the defendant in a Mason City double homicide case, is hoping to have the jury panel stricken to have more time to investigate whether certain races were systematically excluded.

Attorneys for Veal sought and were granted a court order Monday to allow them to obtain information regarding the statistics of racial makeup of both the voter registration list and the driver’s license or identification cardholders over age 18 in the state of Iowa and Webster County.

Peter Veal

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The jury pool list comes from voter registration and from driver’s license or identification cardholders.

Jury selection began Monday morning, but the jury panel was sent home early for the day.

District Court Judge Rustin Davenport told the Globe Gazette in an e-mail late Monday afternoon that a hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Webster County Courthouse, and the jury panel will report back to the courthouse at 12:30 p.m.

Peter Veal, 31, Lake Mills, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder in connection with the Nov. 17 deaths of Mason City residents Mindy Kavars and Caleb Christensen at a residence in the 1600 block of North Hampshire Avenue.

Veal is also facing one count of attempted murder involving a witness at the scene.

The trial location was switched from a Cerro Gordo County to Webster County after a defense request for a change of venue was granted, due to extensive media coverage of the case.