, Salem, MA

Local News

September 19, 2013

Jury selection underway in Beverly slaying


Buso then told the judge that Christensen had been tapering off of just one medication, a sleep aid, so that he would be more alert in the morning.

Buxton said she was worried that forcing Christensen to go to trial now, without knowing for certain the potential effects of withdrawing from the medication or his PTSD, might increase the likelihood of an appeal for a new trial.

But Whitehead concluded that it appeared Christensen understood the proceedings, and he chose to begin jury selection.

In another issue the lawyers had hoped to resolve before trial, Whitehead indicated a second time that he, as of now, does not see how he will be able to give jurors the option of considering self-defense, given the evidence that’s been made known to him.

While the judge said he would not preclude Buso from mentioning self-defense in his opening statement, “I have doubts, though, in the end, whether that case is going to be made,” Whitehead said.

Prior to the start of jury selection, Buso renewed a request to quiz jurors on their prior knowledge of the case, citing in particular stories that appeared last week and yesterday in The Salem News.

The case had also received extensive coverage from Boston-area media in 2011, and last year, Boston Magazine published a story on Christensen’s difficult upbringing.

But just four members of the pool of more than 40 potential jurors recalled hearing anything about the case.

Ten jurors were chosen for the trial yesterday; six more will have to be selected before the trial gets underway with opening statements.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.

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