GREAT WHITE Nightclub Fire: Nearly 100 Fail To Show For Jury Selection

September 8, 2006

The Associated Press has issued the following report:

Nearly 100 people summoned for jury duty failed to appear in court earlier this week as jury selection began in the trial of the co-owner of The Station nightclub, where a 2003 fire killed 100 people.

Michael Derderian faces 200 counts of involuntary manslaughter -- two counts for each person killed under separate legal theories — for the Feb. 20, 2003 fire at the West Warwick club. The fire was sparked by the rock band GREAT WHITE's pyrotechnics.

Court officials expected 512 prospective jurors to report to the Kent County Courthouse on either Tuesday or Wednesday, said Craig Berke, a spokesman for the state judiciary. Instead, 421 people showed up.

The names of the prospective jurors have not been released publicly, and it's not known why the 91 people were absent, Berke said.

Berke said court officials anticipated a fair number of absentees and were not troubled by the attendance.

"They feel like they have a satisfactory number right now to work from," Berke said.

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