After a three-day jury selection process and a newly appointed presiding judge, the murder trial of John Rams Jr. in Barnstable Superior Court will not get underway until Monday at the earliest.
Mr. Rams is accused of killing Shirley M. Reine of East Falmouth. She was found shot in the garage of her home on East Falmouth Highway in 2005.
The jury panel of 12, plus four alternates, consists of 10 men and six women. On Tuesday, the court exhausted a 100-person jury pool and interviewed 40 more potential jurors to fill the 16 seats. Over half of the pool was excused for being familiar with the case.
“The process by which the Commonwealth selects jurors is cumbersome, but I won’t apologize because it’s set up to provide a fair and impartial trial,” said Judge Richard C. Rufo.
He was newly appointed to the trail after Judge Gary Nickerson fell ill.
“He has a terrible cold and laryngitis,” said Judge Rufo. He said it is the first time in 15 years that Judge Nickerson has been out sick from the bench.
The trial has been postponed in order to give Judge Rufo time to become familiar with documents pertaining to the case.
Mr. Rams was arraigned for the murder of Ms. Reine on December 20, 2011, and pleaded not guilty. He is nearing the end of a seven-year sentence for robbing Ms. Reine’s home. Following Ms. Reine’s death, police uncovered evidence of a previous robbery at Ms. Reine’s home in which a safe was stolen. In addition to Mr. Rams, Todd Reine, Ms. Reine’s stepson, was convicted for that break-in.
In 2002, Todd Reine and his brother, Melvin J. Reine Jr., filed a lawsuit against Shirley Reine, claiming she influenced their father, Melvin J. Reine Sr., to deprive them of their inheritance. Because of the lawsuit, the two brothers were deemed “persons of interest” in the murder from the beginning of an investigation.
Judge Rufo, who presided over a pretrial motion to suppress evidence in the case, said Wednesday he will “acquaint himself sufficiently” with all of the case filings before going further. The judge said he would review the case file, including all of the motions filed by defense attorney Timothy Flaherty before proceeding today.