Jury picked in less than 4 hours for Anne Norris murder trial

The trial is set to get underway next week, nearly two years after the body of Marcel Reardon was found under the outside stairway of a St. John's apartment building.

Trial to start next week, after judge and lawyers review legal issues

Anne Norris being led into Supreme Court in St. John's for the jury selection for her first-degree murder trial. (Glenn Payette/CBC News )

As Anne Norris was brought into Supreme Court in St. John's Monday morning, she seemed composed.

But the tears began to flow shortly after she was placed in the prisoner's box.

There is a lot at stake for the 30-year-old charged with the first-degree murder of Marcel Reardon in St. John's in 2016.

His body was found under the outside stairway of the Brazil Street apartment building where Norris lived.

Norris was visibly shaken as she sat in the prisoner's dock for the start of her jury selection accused of killing Marcel Reardon. (Glenn Payette/CBC News)

A jury of seven women and five men will decide her fate, with another man and another woman standing by as alternates. 

The 14 were whittled down from a pool of more than 200 potential jurors in a selection process that took less than four hours.

Justice William Goodridge told potential jurors they would automatically be excused for a number of reasons, including if they were police officers, sheriff's officers, prison warders, lawyers or the spouses of any of those.

Several were excused for medical reasons, and a number because they had some connection to the accused.

Some of the more than 200 potential jurors for the Anne Norris murder trial waiting to go through security to enter Supreme Court in St. John's for jury selection. (Glenn Payette/CBC News )

One woman was told she could leave after she said she was related to Jerome Kennedy, one of Norris's lawyers.

Another man was let go because he is related to Reardon's family.

The potential jurors were also told they would not be allowed on the jury if they had connections with any of the 38 witnesses the crown said it might call. Several were dismissed for that reason. 

One young man asked to be exempted saying that because of the media coverage of the case, he's already made up his mind.

Justice William Goodridge wanted to know why the man felt he couldn't be impartial and asked him to step aside for the time being.

But because the court was able to get the 12 jurors and two alternates it needed, the man was never recalled to answer the question.

Marcel Reardon's body being brought out on a stretcher from being the Harbour View Apartments on May 9, 2016. (Glenn Payette/CBC News)

Others were dismissed because they were essential to the company or organization they were employed with, or had young children, or had to look after loved ones with medical conditions — in one case, dementia.

The trial is expected to begin next Monday. Justice William Goodridge said the delay is to allow him and the lawyers to deal with some legal issues. He said the trial is slated to run until Feb. 15.

On the day Marcel Reardon's body was found, word quickly spread that he didn't die of natural causes.

Reardon's body was discovered May 9, 2016 behind the Harbour View Apartments off Brazil Street in downtown St. John's.  

It was a striking image as the body, covered by a red blanket on a stretcher, was taken from the scene. 

Word spread quickly that Reardon, 46, hadn't died of natural causes.

Norris being lead out of court following jury selection. Her trial starts Monday, Jan. 22 in St. John's. (Glenn Payette/CBC News)

Defence lawyers Rosellen Sullivan and Jerome Kennedy will be representing Norris. Iain Hollett and Jeff Summers will present the Crown's case.

Reardon remembered as 'loving father'

Karen Noel knew Reardon, and ran into him at a downtown soup kitchen about two weeks before he died. 

"The meals were being served, and he actually came up and said, 'Karen, can I jump ahead of you? I haven't slept and I haven't eaten in three days,'" said Noel.

Reardon's sister-in-law, Lisa Maria Sharpe, described him as "a loving father of two boys, and would give you the shirt off his back.

"We are very broken over this," said Sharpe.

"I don't want anyone to think that Marcel didn't have a family. We loved him so much."

About the Author

Glenn Payette


A veteran journalist with more than 30 years' experience, Glenn Payette is a videojournalist with CBC News in St. John's.