Retrial jury selection begins for mother accused of attempted murder

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU)- A Luzerne County mother will have her day in court, again, on charges she tried to kill her two young children in 2015.

A jury could not reach a verdict in the trial of Melissa Scholl from Wilkes-Barre Township in June. With that hung jury, prosecutors are giving it another try.

Prosecutors say they have no doubt that Scholl wanted her kids dead, but they could not convince the jury in her first trial to find her guilty of attempted murder. Jury selection is now underway for her retrial.

Prosecutors say Scholl but her seven-year-old son and five-year-old daughter in the back of her car on the night of December 9th, 2015. They say she then drove to a bus company parking lot on Blackman Street in Wilkes-Barre Township and tried to kill them with exhaust fumes. Two garden hoses were connected to her exhaust pipe and run into the drivers side window. A bus driver spotted the car and intervened. Her children were not hurt.

Defense lawyers say she had no intention of killing her kids. They argued this was a cry for help from others because she needed help raising her children.

Defense attorney Al Flora has handled many high profile cases, while not involved in the Scholl Trial case, he believed selecting a jury for this second trial could be a challenge.

“When you have a hung jury, a lot of people have heard about the case,” says Flora. “They have formed views about the case. Now you are trying to pick a jury from a pool who have already been exposed to a lot of the facts.”

Flora says attorneys on both sides of the case have to be extra vigilant of not selecting a juror who, for whatever reason, wants to be on the panel because of some sort of hidden agenda.

“That is very difficult because what you’re trying to do is get a sense of that juror in a few moments of time,” says Flora. “Often times if they do have an agenda, you have to be able to figure it out and try to read that person.”

The 12 jurors and four alternates will be picked from a pool of 150 people. Once completed, opening statements will be given by the prosecution and defense attorneys.

The judge has issued a gag order, meaning no one directly involved in the case may speak to the media unless the trial is over.

Sources tell Eyewitness News the jury in the first trial voted ten to two to convict Scholl of attempted murder charges.

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