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Fairbanks trial loses another juror

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CROOKSTON -- The jury panel lost another member today in murder trial of Thomas Fairbanks in Crookston.

That makes it 14, including two alternates. Minnesota District Judge Jeff Remick told attorneys from both sides after lunch that a juror, a Crookston man, was battling an infection from a cyst near his ear. He had been taking less medicine than prescribed to avoid the side effect of drowsiness during the trial, but the man's physician wasn't satisfied with the lack of progress, Remick said. The man asked to be released from the jury panel, and with agreement from both sides, Remick did so.

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On Aug. 17, during the prosecution's opening argument, a Crookston woman on the jury panel fainted and was released from the jury. There now are eight men and six women on the jury panel.

Fairbanks is charged with first degree murder in the Feb. 18, 2009 shooting of Mahnomen County Sheriff's Deputy Christopher Dewey, and more than a dozen other lesser charges related to an ensuing standoff in Mahnomen.

Dewey died in hospice care Aug. 9, 2010, as result of complications from the gunshot wound to his head, testified Dr. Anne Bracey today.

Bracey is the St. Paul medical examiner who performed an autopsy on Dewey's body the day after he died.

She was one of several physicians called by the prosecution to the witness stand today who had treated or examined Dewey after he was shot next day.

While the prosecution showed graphic autopsy photos, Bracey described the ravages Dewey's body went through in the 18 months after he was shot. On Feb. 18, 2009, the six-foot, two-inch Dewey weighed 250 pounds.

At his autopsy, his body weighed 123 pounds, Bracey said.

Lee is a reporter for the Grand Forks Herald. The Herald and the Bemidji Pioneer are both owned Forum Communications Co.

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