As jury selection begins in Carlevato case, 300 tapped |

As jury selection begins in Carlevato case, 300 tapped

Hundreds of South Shore residents appeared Monday in El Dorado County Superior Court as jury selection began for the trial of Edwin Robert Carlevato.

Carlevato, 47, is charged with the kidnap and sexual assault of two South Shore women in 1999 and the kidnap of a woman in 1998. He was arrested Nov. 4 1999, and has been in jail since awaiting trial.

If the process of jury selection goes smoothly, Judge Jerald Lasarow said in court that he hopes to a have a jury seated Dec. 13 and begin testimony the following week. The trial is expected to last four to six weeks, partly because the witness list is 76 people deep.

The court issued questionnaires to about 300 potential jurors and hoped to hand out another 150 today. The questionnaires are to be filled out and returned Friday. After the court is finished screening the information, selected people will return the following week for further probing by attorneys.

Questionnaires are often used when there is a large number of potential jurors. Close to 900 residents were originally called to jury duty to account for the fact that the holidays are coming, the trial is expected take more than a month and the case is a high profile one.

While Carlevato sat in court wearing a blue suit with his silver and black hair combed straight back, Lasarow asked a group of 76 potential jurors to refrain from reading, watching or listening to media stories about the case.

Seated next to the defendant was court-appointed defense attorney Donald Heape. He has filed a motion for a change of venue due to pretrial publicity, but has said the motion will be on hold until a jury is selected.

Carlevato pleaded not guilty to all charges in January and recently rejected a plea agreement with El Dorado County that would have sentenced him to a life term in prison. If convicted on all counts, he could be sentenced to several life terms.

Carvelato and his wife, a dispatcher with Jackson Rancheria Tribal Police, lived for the last nine years in Pioneer, a small community in Amadar County off State Route 88.

Carlevato was arrested while working as manager of a poker room at Jackson Rancheria Casino. Law enforcement agents made the arrest after he was identified as a rape suspect on a convenience store’s surveillance video.

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