Jury selection began this morning for the trial of Diane Eldrup who is facing felony charges for aggravated animal cruelty and animal torture. When court recessed for lunch at noon, four jurors were approved. Four other jurors, who were questioned, were excused by Ninteenth Judicial Circuit Court Judge James Booras.
Jurors were questioned by Booras, Assistant States Attorney Michael Mermel, who is prosecuting the case; and defense attorney John Curnyn, as to whether they could be fair and impartial.
Eldrup will go before a , a Class 4 felony with a maximum punishment of one to three years in jail, and 19 counts of animal torture, a Class 3 felony that carries a maximum jail sentence of five years.
A , a former rescue and boarding facility on Route 12 in Deer Park.
Curnyn asked jurors questions including if they were involved in animal advocacy; if they had pets; whether they had heard of Muddy Paws, and whether they could be impartial after looking at photographs of deceased dogs. He also asked jurors if they understood that the state needs to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, and that the state has the burden of proof.
Mermel’s questions included whether the jurors considered themselves to have commonsense and whether they had ever seen an animal deteriorate.
Jurors who were excused included a man from Kildeer who said he had heard of the Muddy Paws case; a man who said he heard of the case, knew two of the witnesses and had a brother in intensive care; a woman who said she was uncomfortable with her command of the English language; and a woman who was a victim of a violent crime who said she was a loyal dog owner and may not be able to deal with the photos of dogs.
Among the witnesses who might be called by prosecutors are members of the Kildeer Police Department and the Lake County Sheriff’s Office; members of Lake County Animal Control, veterinarians, as well as Diane Eldrup’s estranged husband, Kurt Eldrup, and her fourth-grade son, Tyler.