The manslaughter trial of Thomas Woolly got off to an interesting start Tuesday with a discussion on whether the defendant could have his Bible in the courtroom.
Deputy District Attorney Jack Roth brought the matter up before the jury was brought in.
Roth said prosecutors had no problem with Woolly having his Bible with him.
“The people aren’t saying he can’t look at it when he wants to,” Roth said. “What the people object to is the prominent display on the defense table.”
Roth offered citations of several previous cases where the issue came up, including one in which the judge offered a defendant a manila envelope to keep the Bible stored in.
Woolly’s lawyer Patrick Mika responded by saying, “I don’t know if we have 12 atheists on the jury or 12 religious people.”
“Mr. Woolly is a religious person,” Mika added. “He would prefer to have the Bible open at all times. A closed Bible doesn’t do anybody any good anyway.”
Judge Robert Lowrey said he was concerned that a display of the Bible “could cause a juror to have thoughts that are not relevant to the case.”
“This court has no qualms with the argument that Mr. Woolly is a religious man,” the judge added.
When Wooley put his Bible away, the judge told him he leave it out, just so long as it remained open.
And with that, the jury came in and testimony got underway.
Woolly is accused in the May 10, 2009 fatal shooting of Lisa Baumann, 19, in an apartment at 4116 Westmeadow Drive. His lawyer has argued that the shooting was accidental. Prosecutors claim Woolly was reckless in his handling of the gun.
The trial is in recess until 1:3o p.m. today. Stay with the Sidebar blog for updates.