Berks

Jury seated for trial of parents charged in daughter's death

READING, Pa. - Jurors have been picked to decide the fate of a Berks County couple charged in the death of their two-year-old daughter.

Jonathan and Grace Foster's then-2-year-old daughter, Ella Grace, died of a treatable case of pneumonia inside the family's home in Upper Tulpehocken Township in 2016, officials said. She'd been sick for awhile, and authorities said the family didn't seek medical care for religious reasons.

The Fosters are charged with involuntary manslaughter and endangering the welfare of a child, but the parents said they're members of the Faith Tabernacle Church, which believes in the power of prayer over medicine and doctors.

When it comes to the jury selection process, the rules were explained to 104 potential jurors, and that was followed with questions. Some included: How many people heard or read about the case? For those who had: How many would be able to be fair?

The defense and prosecution continued a similar line of questioning, asking questions like: Who would find the defendants guilty without ever hearing any evidence? Several people stood up and said they would find them guilty.

When asked, however, if they agreed that people should be deemed innocent until proven guilty, the entire pool stood in agreement.

At one point, about 30 people stood, saying because the victim is a child, they couldn't put aside their emotions when deciding a verdict.

The trial is expected to last two to three days. There's no word whether the couple will testify in their defense. The trial begins Tuesday 9 at a.m.


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