Meskwaki man's murder trial delayed due to jury makeup issues

The trial is taking place in the courthouse in Tama County, Iowa. Photo by Bill Whittaker / Wikipedia

The first-degree murder trial of a member of the Meskwaki Tribe of Iowa is being delayed due to issues with the jury pool.

Dustin Jefferson, 39, is accused of aiding and abetting his mother in the murder his wife in 2013. Jury selection started this week but only two out of 86 potential jurors identified as Native American, The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reported.

That isn't enough to guarantee Jefferson a trial of his peers, his attorney argued .In Tama County, 7.5 percent of the population is Native American so the jury pool was not representative.

A similar issue was raised during the trial of Jefferson's mother, Ginger Jefferson, 57, who was convicted of first-degree murder for killing her son's wife. None of the jurors were Native American but the judge in that case said the two potential Native jurors who were dismissed were stricken for proper reasons.

Ginger Jefferson is now serving a life sentence with no chance of parole.

Kerry O'Clair-Jefferson, 23, was murdered in September 2013 at her home. Ginger Jefferson was charged that same month and went to trial in May.

On the same day Ginger Jefferson was convicted, authorities indicted Dustin Jefferson.

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Dustin Jefferson trial postponed because of concerns about jury pool (The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier 12/3)

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