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Sober Collins Watches Jury Selection

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Sober Collins Watches Jury Selection




These words describe John
Norman Collins as he sits in
Circuit Court through the
second week of what has now
become an exhaustive and
exhausting search for a murder
trial jury.

If this dark-haired, oval-faced
college senior is wrenched by
fear, stirred by anger or moved
by scorn as he listens to the
parade of prospective jurors
answer questions, no one

If he revolts
readings of the charge uy
Judge John W, Conlin ". . . that
on the 23rd day of July in the
year 1969 he did kill and mur-
der Karen Sue Beineman ..."
he revolts only inwardly.

He sits there, hour after
droning hour, without a dis-
cernable expression, without a
touch of emotion, without an
outward sign.

He acknowledges the pres-

ence of his mother, Loretta,
his sister, Gale, and his broth-
er, Jerry, with a head nod or a
fleeting wave as he is being led
to his chair from the courtroom
lockup each day. His pale face
softens in those brief moments,
a smile flickers and then is

The faint smile appeared one
day this week when Sheriff's
Detective Roy Couch, substitut-
ing temporarily for Court Baliff
Roy Milligan, announced the
presiding judge as "Judge
John Collins."

But almost always his face
"cm'""? sober, b r o o d i n g ,

L^..i whpn his chief defense
counsel, '-outsell, shuf-
fles over '^ -.-. --.lair, places his
hands on the defendant's shoul-
ders and asks a prospective
juror the same probing ques-
tion, "Can you say now that
you consider this man at this
moment to be innocent?" —
even then John Norman Collins
does not permit himself the lux-
ury of a facial expression.

His eyes, staring out from
beneath slashes of black eye-
brows, take in the courtroom,
the prospective jurors, the
prosecutor, the judge. Tl
strong, unblinking eyes
drill to a target, catch it, hold
it and then move quickly on.,

They are eyes which do not
betray thoughts, do not tell ef
hidden fear or hope or frustra-

Last Saturday John Collins
would have graduated from
Eastern Michigan University.
Instead, he spent it in a double-
locked, maximum-security cell
in the County Jail where he has
been since la: it. The
green sport ' i green
slacks he wears da4y to the
long court sessions might have
been worn under an academic
robe had events in his life tak-
en another turn.

Perhaps even a college
gr ^ would not have
o, i the poker face, soft-
ened the hard lines, relaxed the
rigidity seen daily in the court-
room these • ! ; o weeks.

But what might have been
will never be known.

The enigma which is John
•Norman Collins appears now
lear, sharp, precise

setting of a court of law where
a slow, dogged, meticulous
search goes on for a jury.

And for the answer to s
charge of murder.

Court Clerk Betty Tennant
Draws Jurors' Names