Court Continues Jury Selection in Riverside Church Murder Trial – Suspect Represents Self


By Ava Schwartzapfel

LOS ANGELES, CA— Jury selection continued here in Riverside County Superior Court Thursday in the murder trial of Thomas Ryan Scott, who is charged with killing a 17-year-old outside of a church in Riverside County on Aug. 28, 2021.

“Jail records show that Scott was booked… on suspicion of murder, being a felon in possession of a firearm, possession of a controlled substance for transport or sale and parole violation,” according to, which notes bail is not an option in this case, and the suspect and victim were allegedly in an argument.

Thursday, Jan. 6, Judge Matthew Perantoni welcomed the 9th, 10th, and 11th groups of potential jurors to the Riverside Justice Department.

Perantoni, along with District Attorney Kevin Beecham and Scott, who is representing himself in pro per, sorted through the plethora of potential candidates.

With each new group, Judge Perantoni began by explaining how COVID-19 has made the process of choosing jurors much more difficult than before, as there are no longer “70 or 80 of you here in the court room… bunched up like sardines.”

Social distancing regulations only permit about 20 potential jurors per session, safely distributed throughout the courtroom.

The judge, prosecution, and defense then interviewed each juror, assuring that they fulfill the minimum requirements of jury duty on a criminal case. Those that did not were then dismissed from the pool—many were dismissed because of financial hardships, or because they are full time students who cannot miss school.

This selection process is expected to lead into early next week, and jurors who were accepted to continue with the process were instructed to return to Riverside Justice Department next Tuesday, Jan. 11.

The case is expected to proceed through the entire month of January because, stated Judge Perantoni, there are “serious charges involved.”

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