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The Long jury list: Illumination at last

| Sunday, Dec. 7, 2003

Finally, some jurors from the Karl Long murder trial have shared with the Trib's readers their insights -- despite a Westmoreland County judge's continuing efforts to shield their identities.

Regrettably, the jurors' valuable input, freely offered, comes three months after Dr. Long was convicted of third-degree murder for the suffocation of his wife. Yet even now, their comments shed light on how justice was served in this high-profile case.

Judge William J. Ober hasn't released the jury list and still says he acted to protect jurors because he believed there was an attempt at intimidation. Without access to the court list of jurors, it took a Trib reporter's sleuthing through juror payment records to deduce their identities.

And when that reporter contacted the jurors -- surprise! -- he found some of them were quite willing to answer questions. The jurors who spoke to us said they didn't feel intimidated nor targeted by purported tampering.

Regardless, if a juror felt uncomfortable talking to the press after the trial, a simple "no comment" would suffice. Instead, Judge Ober took it upon himself to eliminate that option.

Interestingly, some of the jurors, themselves , thought it important to speak up. And for good reason.

At issue isn't merely one jury at one trial. It's the public's right to know who sits on any jury in any case in Westmoreland County, and to learn what those jurors wish to say afterward.

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