Jury Selected in 1991 Murder Case - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Jury Selected in 1991 Murder Case

Howard Godfrey Howard Godfrey
Dave & Ann Scoville Dave & Ann Scoville
Patricia Scoville Patricia Scoville

White River Junction, Vermont - January 10, 2008

Howard "Skip" Godfrey, 60, was delivered to court wearing a new suit, tie, shirt, haircut and glasses-- a much different appearance than he had when he was arrested three years ago. His arrest came fourteen years after Patty Scoville, 28, was raped and suffocated in a shallow grave in the hillside above Stowe's Moss Glen Falls.

Police had DNA evidence from the crime scene. Over the years, hundreds of comparisons with DNA profiles of potential suspects did not produce a match.

Her parents, Dave and Ann Scoville, provided testimony to Congress that led to the creation of a national FBI DNA database in hopes it would identify a suspect in their daughter's murder. It did. 14 years later, Godfrey's DNA profile for a 1996 attempted abduction of a woman in Johnson, matched the DNA from the Scoville murder.

Police say Godfrey initially denied ever knowing Patty Scoville. But after they told him about the DNA match he changed his story and claimed he had consensual sex with her but he didn't kill her.

At jury selection, his lawyers-- speaking out of range from microphones-- told the potential jurors, "this is not a question of whether or not Skip and Patricia Scoville had sex. They did. He told the police that." Godfrey's lawyers wanted to know if potential jurors would keep an open mind or hold it against Godfrey if he did not testify.

Prosecutors wanted to know if they would be willing to convict on the basis of circumstantial as well as direct scientific evidence.

After two days of jury selection a panel was selected: 12 women and 3 men-- three of them to be designated as alternates in case any of the twelve primaries have to be replaced. All of the lawyers declined comment as did Patty Scoville's parents. The lawyers will deliver opening statements to the jury Friday morning.

It appears Godfrey's lawyers will try to convince jurors that the prosecution cannot prove Godfrey was the killer.

Brian Joyce - WCAX News

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