ITHACA, N.Y. — A jury was finalized Thursday afternoon and opening statements are set to begin Friday for Tompkins County Deputy Jeremy Vann, who is facing 14 charges after allegedly committing a number of crimes against a woman.
The first day of jury selection began on Monday, when the first four jurors were chosen. The selection was delayed for two days due to weather conditions and resumed on Thursday when the remaining eight jurors were chosen — a total of six females, six males and two alternates.
Vann is accused of attacking a woman during a domestic dispute and faces felonies charges for third-degree robbery, third-degree criminal mischief, and fourth-degree grand larceny. Additionally, he faces misdemeanor charges including third-degree assault, criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation, second-degree unlawful imprisonment, two counts of fourth-degree criminal mischief, fourth-degree tampering with a witness, third-degree criminal tampering, two counts of second-degree attempted coercion, prohibited use of weapons and prohibitions on the use and possession of firearms.
Assistant District Attorney Dan Johnson addressed potential jurors, assessing the group’s experience with crime and connections with law enforcement. Johnson brought up the issue of mental health, asking jurors if their opinions toward testimonies would change based on their views on depression, self-harm and mental health overall.
Vann’s attorney, Ray Schlather, addressed potential jurors and said, “Mr. Vann is adamant that he did nothing wrong and believed he was helping the victim.” Schlather went on to grill the jurors about their assumptions in regards to domestic violence.
“We live in a society where issues of domestic violence trigger a tall manner of presumptuous thoughts,” he said. “Are we coming into this case with pre-conceived notions? There’s a young woman crying and making these claims and we have a deputy sheriff who’s saying it’s not true – will you be able to imagine that there might be false claims of domestic violence?”
Prosecutors refute the claims that the allegations are false and have previously said they have photos and testimony from multiple people indicating that Vann hurt the woman.
The jury selection process went on to address personal “baggage.” Schlather said the case would involve situations of relational issues, domestic violence, pregnancy, abortion, drug & alcohol use and abuse, the local bar scene and “graphic and nasty” language.
Opening statements are set to begin Friday morning.