Jury selection in the case against a man accused of killing three teenage girls in the 1980s began in South Lake Tahoe Tuesday.
Prosecutors have charged Joseph Michael Nissensohn, 62, with murder counts in the 1989 death of South Lake Tahoe 15-year-old Kathy Graves and the 1981 killings of Tanya Jones, 14, and Tammy Jarshke, 13, in Monterey County.
Nissensohn faces the death penalty if convicted of murdering the girls. He has pleaded not guilty.
Jury selection in the case is expected to take place this month and next, with the commencement of the trial scheduled for July 23, according to information given to potential jurors Tuesday. The trial is likely to last into October.
Dozens of potential jurors filled the upstairs courtroom at El Dorado County Superior Court in South Lake Tahoe Tuesday morning, spilling out into the courthouse’s lobby. A line of people, many carrying jury summons, stretched out the front door of the building at one point Tuesday morning.
During an afternoon hearing in the case, El Dorado County Superior Court Judge Suzanne Kingsbury said problems with the court’s telephone system led some potential jurors to arrive at the courthouse at the wrong time, crowding the proceedings. She said she expected the problem to be fixed in time for additional juror screenings Wednesday and Thursday.
Nissensohn has been in custody in El Dorado County Jail longer than any other inmate currently in custody. He has been held in county jail awaiting trial since April 6, 2008, according to online court records.
El Dorado County prosecutors filed the murder charge against Nissensohn in the Graves’s death in January 2008, just days before he was set to be released from custody in Washington state, where he was serving time for a second-degree murder conviction. The Monterey County killings were added to the charges against Nissensohn later that year.