Rochester, N.Y. - The murder trial of Max Wyant was out on hold for parts of two days while the judge and lawyers addressed one or more problems with the jury.
For about 90 minutes in Thursday and about three hours on Friday Monroe County Court Judge Doug Randall sealed off the courtroom while discussions were held with various jurors and the lawyers. On Friday morning the judge even took the unusual step of taping pieces of paper to the windows of the courtroom so even discussions inside could not be viewed.
Before breaking for lunch the judge re-opened the courtroom and could be heard giving the jury stern instructions to avoid media reports and social media updates that deal with the trial.
One female alternate juror was dismissed at some point during those closed courtroom discussions. That leaves a jury of 12 with two alternates; ten men and four women in all.
Wyant is accused of 2nd Degree Murder in the shooting death of his former roomate Christopher "C.J." Schoen. The shooting occurred at 37 Hartfeld Drive a home both the defendant and victim once shared with a third roomate. Schoen was found shot to death and laying just outside that home around 5:30 p.m. On February 8, 2012.
Wyant's lawyer admits his client fired the deadly shot but that the circumstances surrounding that shooting are crucial for the jury to understand.
The prosecution calls this an act of intentional murder and points out that a rubber "less than lethal" round struck and penetrated the victim in the arm prior to a fatal buckshot round being fired into the victim's back.
Testimony resumed Friday afternoon with Brighton Police Investigator Tim Karch testifying on the witness stand. Inv. Karch was one of two crime scene technicians who processed the scene the night of the crime. His testimony picked up Friday afternoon with the playing of a thirty minute video that toured the outside and inside of 37 Hartfeld Drive before any evidence was touched, processed, or photographed in further detail.
Judge Randall granted a request by 13WHAM news to release still photos and a video taken at the crime scene hours after the shooting.
The evidence shows an unusual home – Wyant’s room was full of guns, swords, and homemade weapons, as well as a basement used for target practice, with ammunition scattered on the ground and lining the staircase.
In addition, crime scene investigators found what appeared to be a booby-trap at the entrance on Max Wyant’s room.
The trial is expected to wrap up late next week.