After more than three hours of jury selection yesterday in Middlesex Superior Court, the jury to decide whether a Framingham man is guilty of killing his wife and stepson in Framingham in 2006 is nearly complete.
So far, seven women and six men have been chosen for Jeremias Bins' double murder trial. Three more need to be picked.
Bins, 32, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the May 20, 2006, beating deaths of his wife, Carla Souza, 38, and his stepson, Caique Souza, 11.
Authorities say Bins beat them to death with a large hammer and later admitted to the murders, blaming marital stress on her devotion to the Mormon Church, his relationship with Caique and finances.
Prosecutor Lee Hettinger and Bins' lawyer Earl Howard will attempt to select the final three jurors today. There will be 12 jurors and four alternates.
Howard again argued yesterday that witnesses should not be allowed to testify to statements Souza or Bins may have made to people prior to the murders.
Hettinger has said two witnesses would testify that Souza complained about the couple's marriage falling apart. Hettinger said the statements would back up what Bins told police when he reportedly confessed to the murders.
Judge John Lu did not rule on the motion to give Howard time to file an argument.
Howard said yesterday the testimony should not be allowed because there is no evidence Bins knew what his wife said, so the statements could not be a motive to the murder.
"There is absolutely nothing that shows this was communicated to Mr. Bins," he said. "I'm suggesting to the court that this would be a reversible decision if some of these statements are allowed."
Howard argued some of the statements, particularly the day of the murders and the days just before, may be allowed, but older statements should be blocked.
One of the statements made by Bins that is supposed to be testified to is him saying, "Someday I will kill Carla and Caique." Howard said the statement was made several months before the murders.
"Anything that happened before the marriage, anything that happened 18 months before the deaths cannot be an exception to the hearsay rule," Howard argued.
Hettinger argued that case law does not require prosecutors to prove the defendant knew what was said, but that he knew the state of mind of the person who made the statements.
Bins' confession to police proved he knew there was stress in the marriage, Hettinger said.
"In the interview, the defendant states the problem started with the church before they were married," said Hettinger. "He also states, 'We were on the war path.' He also said her religion poisoned the relationship."
Bins told police he and his wife had been repeatedly arguing, including on the day Carla and Caique were murdered.
"When asked about that date (May 20, 2006), he said 'We fought for the last time,' " Hettinger said.
The judge again did not rule yesterday.
A visit to where the mother and son were killed was scheduled for today, but that has been pushed back until tomorrow because jury selection was not completed yesterday.
Opening statements are scheduled for Monday.