KLAPHEKE TRIAL: Jury seated, opening statements to begin Wednesday
A 12-person jury was seated at approximately 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the trial of Tiffany Klapheke, a 23-year-old woman accused of neglecting her toddler daughter to the point of death in 2012.
The jury is made up of six men and six women from a wide range of ages. Two alternate jurors, a man and a woman, have also been selected.
Several of the 96 potential jurors met with prosecutors, defense attorneys and 104th District Court Judge Lee Hamilton prior to the the decision. Some were dismissed after expressing concerns that they could not be impartial toward Klapheke if they were chosen to hear the evidence in her case.
One, though, said she would not be able to make a judgment in the case, if she became a juror, for religious regions. Yet another excused juror knew witness Gretchen Denny, a former Child Protective Services worker who played a role in the Klapheke case.
Klapheke was arrested in August 2012 after she called 911 and first responders found her toddler – Tamryn – unresponsive at a home on Dyess Air Force Base. She is charged with first-degree felony injury to a child. If convicted, the jury could sentence her anywhere from five to 99 years – or life – in prison.
Opening statements are expected to begin Wednesday morning.
Jury selection will pick back up at 10 a.m. Tuesday for the trial of 23-year-old Tiffany Klapheke, who is accused of neglecting her toddler who died after she allegedly failed to feed her.
While 96 people are potential jurors, only 12 will be chosen. The selection process continued throughout the day Monday - with the prosecution taking up most of the afternoon and then the defense taking over.
Klapheke was arrested in August 2012 after she called 911 and first responders found her toddler – Tamryn – unresponsive on Dyess Air Force Base.
She is charged with first-degree felony injury to a child. If convicted, the jury could sentence her anywhere from five to 99 years – or life – in prison.
During a pre-trial hearing, prosecutors said two former Child Protective Services supervisors, Bit Whitaker and Gretchen Denny, will invoke the 5 th Amendment if asked to testify.
According to CPS, the agency's investigation into the Klapheke home was closed just six days before the toddler died in August 2012 without a mandatory final visit.
A total of four former Child Protective Service workers – and one current employee – are on the witness list for the trial.
All had some involvement – including Whitaker and Denny – in the Klapheke investigation that CPS undertook before the child died.
Others subpoenaed to appear at the trial include Barbara McDaniel, Tiffany Gann, and Rebecca Tapia. McDaniel is the only one still working for CPS.
Meanwhile, defense motions to quash the Klapheke indictment, ban discussion of the living conditions in the Klapheke house and ban potential evidence of the lack of bonding between Klapheke and her child were denied.
104th District Judge Lee Hamilton did, however, grant a defense motion to not make jurors aware of the fact that Klapheke's former live-in boyfriend, Airman Christopher Perez's, is currently serving a three-year military prison sentence in relation to the case. The defense made the motion since Perez will be called as a witness.