GREENFIELD — A jury of four men and two women were set to hear opening arguments and witness testimony today in the felony neglect trial of Rebecca Spencer.
Spencer, a New Palestine woman and former county probation officer, is charged with two felonies and a misdemeanor stemming from accusations that she failed to report child abuse.
Roughly three dozen local residents were summoned to Hancock Circuit Court Monday afternoon to take part in the jury selection process.
“It’s kind of like being interviewed for a job you don’t want,” said Tami Napier, chief deputy prosecutor.
The prosecution made it clear the jurors’ duty will be to establish guilt “beyond reasonable doubt” – not “beyond a shadow of a doubt” – which is often a misconception.
Spencer’s attorney, Chris Smith, however, made it clear that Spencer is innocent until proved guilty and that every person has the right to a fair trial.
“Right now, Becky Spencer is presumed innocent,” he said. “The state has the obligation to prove the case.”
Spencer’s case is closely connected to the criminal case that concluded with a 100-year prison sentence for her ex-husband, Michael Spencer.
Michael Spencer pleaded guilty earlier this month to five felony charges stemming from child sexual abuse over more than a decade.