WOODSTOCK – Jury selection will continue today for Gary Gauger’s malicious prosecution lawsuit against the sheriff’s office.
Gauger, who was convicted and later exonerated of his elderly parents’ 1993 murders, is claiming three sheriff’s investigators maliciously initiated and supported the criminal proceedings against him. Gauger, 57, seeks damages for the more than three years he spent behind bars and for post-traumatic stress disorder.
On Monday, attorneys chose six jurors; they will pick a total of 12 jurors and two alternates.
Attorneys asked potential jurors about their opinions on post-traumatic stress disorder, wrongful convictions, and police credibility. Several potential jurors were excused because they had heard about Gauger’s legal struggles in the news media or through friends.
The original criminal case hung on a confession that police claimed Gauger made after a long interview shortly after his parents’ bodies were discovered.
But Gauger, who was a 41-year-old organic farmer at the time of the slayings, has maintained that he had been discussing only a hypothetical account of how he might have committed the murders in an alcoholic blackout.
Gauger was sentenced to die by lethal injection and spent 20 months at Stateville Correctional Center.
In March 1996, an appellate court threw out Gauger’s confession to sheriff’s detectives after law professor Larry Marshall and Northwestern University School of Law’s Center on Wrongful Convictions took up his case.
Former Gov. George Ryan pardoned Gauger after his conviction was overturned, and federal authorities secured convictions of two Outlaw motorcycle gang members for the murders of Morris and Ruth Gauger.