Jury selected in Bosley case; trial is this week

Of the 113 Venango County residents who were called to report for jury duty Monday morning, 77 men and women, old and young, arrived at the Seneca Fire Department building where 100 wooden folding chairs had been set up in the social hall to accommodate them.

Venango County President Judge Matthew Kirtland told them it might be a long day.

But to everyone’s surprise, in about two hours, that number was whittled down to the 12 jurors and four alternates who were selected to spend this week sitting in the jury box in Courtroom 1 at the courthouse listening to testimony during the murder trial of David Bosley.

Bosley, 61, of Oil City, is accused of raping and killing Marcy Suzette Nellis, 76, also of Oil City, along the bike trail in the West End of town in March 2023.

The two lived a couple of blocks from each other in the neighborhood near Penelec, Venango Campus and Venango Catholic High School.

The jury is made up of five men and seven woman along with four alternates — two men and two women.

The trial is scheduled to run from May 13 through May 17, beginning at 9 a.m. each morning, Kirtland told the jurors.

Kirtland said he plans to end court each day by 4:30 p.m. unless circumstances arise that make it necessary to go longer.

At the front of the room Monday with Kirtland were Venango County District Attorney Shawn White, first assistant district attorney Kyle Peasley, and public defenders Jeffery Misko and Eric Paden, who are representing Bosley.

Bosely sat between his attorneys dressed in a dark gray suit and light shirt of dull green. His beard and what hair he has were rather disheveled.

He was very still, except for his eyes which were continually roving across the gathered crowd.

Bosley is facing charges of first degree murder, second degree murder, rape by forcible compulsion, aggravated indecent assault, kidnapping to facilitate a felony, kidnapping to inflict injury/terror and abuse of a corpse.

Nellis was reported missing the evening of March 26, 2023, after she failed to return home from her afternoon walk on the trail near her home.

Her body was found the next morning near the trail.

Bosley was arrested 10 days later at his home in the 1600 block of West First Street following an around-the-clock investigation that involved several law enforcement agencies.

As Kirtland asked the potential jurors questions Monday, such as if any of them had a personal, professional or social relationship with Bosley or Nellis or her family or if knowing the charges against Bosley would cause them to feel they couldn’t be impartial, 16 people were dismissed.

A noise machine was on whenever potential jurors came to the judge to respond to one of his questions, so the responses were not able to be heard by the entire room.

When Kirtland asked if anyone present had read articles about the case or seen accounts on the news, almost the whole room rose as one.

After conferring with White and Misko, Kirtland said the real question before the prospective jurors was whether they could set aside what they had read or heard about the case to judge impartially based solely on the facts presented to them in the courtroom.

Kirtland then asked who felt they could not be impartial after what they had seen and heard in the media or in private conversations about the case.

Twelve stood up and queued up before Kirtland, and the judge spoke to each individually. He dismissed 11 of them.

The jury was chosen from the remaining 50 people who felt they could be impartial. The attorneys whittled down the list by passing a clipboard and striking the names of those they didn’t want to see on the jury.

A second slate of 112 potential jurors who had been scheduled to come for jury selection Monday afternoon were paid and dismissed when they arrived.

A motion was filed in November by the public defender’s office to bring in jurors from another county for Bosley’s trial, but the motion was denied.

All the documents associated with the case against Bosley were sealed in February by order of Kirtland following a hearing where the district attorney’s office presented material that is “highly inflammatory” and if made public could jeopardize Bosley’s right to a fair trial, according to a subsequent March 1 order from Kirtland.

Kirtland later rescinded the February order, instead stating that only certain filings associated with the hearing will remain sealed and the “remainder of the record at this criminal docket shall be unsealed.”

Bosley has three prior convictions for assaulting middle-aged women in rural areas of Venango County in the 1990s, and he registered as a lifetime offender on Megan’s Law in April 2019 after he was released from state prison.