The second day of jury selection in a courtroom in Davenport was intense for many in the jury pool for the kidnapping and murder trial of Roger Bentley in Davenport. He’s charged with abducting a ten-year-old girl from her home in Cedar Rapids last year and killing the child.
Frank Gluck, a reporter for the Cedar Rapids Gazette, says Bentley’s cleaned up since earlier appearances in which he had long hair and a shaggy beard. The newsman says Bentley’s appeared with short hair, his beard neatly trimmed, and has worn simple street clothing. He says Bentley just looks like “somebody off the street.”
Tuesday, the prospective jurors were shown photos of Jetseta Gage’s dead body. The reporter says they also faced Bentley as they were interviewed by lawyers for the prosecution and defense. Gluck says he thinks everyone involved has been “slightly uncomfortable,” as jurors come in one by one and sit at a small table. He says some steal glances at Bentley, and their questioning, seeing the photo of the dead girl, and sitting across from the defendant has been “probably nerve-wracking.”
The child’s death shocked many Iowans and led to a move to put harsh restrictions on all sex offenders whose crimes involved children. Lawyers may give their opening arguments in the trial today (Wednesday).