As jury selection begins, most in small town already have minds made up about accused murderer

As jury selection begins, most in small town already have minds made up about accused murderer
James Dean Worley (Source: Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio (CCNO))

DELTA, OH (WTOL) - It's a crime that shook the community of Delta - the murder of Sierah Joughin.

Now, residents hope justice will be served for her alleged killer.

Sierah's partially-clothed body was found in a farm field outside of Delta in July, 2016.

The twenty year old University of Toledo student had been riding her bike.

"I don't live very far from Route Seven. And it was very upsetting. You could look down the road and know he buried her alongside the road. I think of it every time I go down it," said Delta resident Laura Curry.

James Worley was arrested shortly afterward. He faces 17 charges including murder, kidnapping and aggravated murder.

If convicted, he could face the death penalty.

His trial begins Monday in Fulton County Common Pleas Court in Wauseon with jury selection.

Jury selection is expected to take up to a week so opening statements and the first witness can be called to the stand by next week. Jurors are expected to hear from at least four dozen witnesses and see at least 400 pieces of evidence during the trial.

Christine Brick owns The Barn Restaurant and knows Mr. Worley as a customer.

"He was strange. He always made me nervous when he came into the restaurants where I worked and all the other girls. He'd just watch everybody," said Brick.

The case has always been the talk of Delta.

Folks still can't believe a horrific crime like this happened in a small town.

"It just sickens me to know what happened to her," said Perry Niles.

Ken Moore, a cook at The Barn, thinks about his own children.

"It just makes you realize how precious life is and makes you worry about your kids," said Moore.

It's a widely-held belief in Delta that James Worley is guilty as sin and deserves the worst punishment.

"Oh I haven't heard anything kind. And this is a very Christian town," said Peggy Niles.

Ms. Brick agrees.

"If he's guilty, he should die," said Brick.

When asked what kind of sentence Worley should get, Ken Moore didn't hesitate.

"Between the choice of life and death, I would definitely say death," said Moore.

Something else they're saying in this Christian town is it's hoped the end of the trial will bring closure to Sierah Joughin's family.

Sierah's family have been at every court hearing leading up to this trial. The state has requested that 24 seats be saved for her family and friends throughout the entire trial.

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