In the second-degree murder trial of Robert Steven Wright, the jury did not enter the courtroom at all today, March 21, and court was adjourned at 10:30 a.m.
As the discussion occurred in voir dire, it is covered under a publication ban, meaning Sudbury.com can’t report what transpired.
Court was adjourned yesterday before any testimony could begin as a COVID-19 outbreak swept through the jury, an outbreak that began on March 16 when the first juror tested positive. The other jury members, who had been in close quarters throughout the trial, were told to self-isolate through the weekend. Those who tested positive contacted the courthouse (the exact number of positive jurors was discussed during voir dire and can’t be reported), and court was adjourned to allow the jurors to isolate for 48 hours.
Wright is on trial for the second-degree murder of 23-year-old Laurentian University student Renée Sweeney, who was stabbed 27 times while working at a video store on Paris Street on Jan. 27, 1998. At the time, Wright was an 18-year-old student at Lockerby Composite School, which was within walking distance of the store where Sweeney worked.
The Crown has rested their case. The defence is currently presenting witnesses, including calling Wright, to the stand last week.
Wright testified on March 13 and March 14. He stated he found a bloodied Sweeney lying on the floor of the store, and said he panicked and ran, believing she was already dead. Wright said the fingerprints found on a cash tray at the scene were his, as were the teal jacket and gloves that he testified to discarding after running from the store. They were later discovered by police.
Court will resume on Wednesday, March 22, but it isn’t clear the jury will be present. The case will resume when jurors have isolated for the prescribed amount of time, which could be Thursday.
Jenny Lamothe is a reporter at Sudbury.com.