Kaitlyn A. Conley

Jury selection in Conley’s retrial begins Thursday

Published Oct 9, 2017 at 4:10pm

Starting Thursday, accused killer Kaitlyn M. Conley will get a second chance to prove her innocence.

And the District Attorney’s Office will get a second chance to prove its accusation that Conley poisoned her boss, Dr. Mary L. Yoder, more than two years ago.

Following a mistrial in the spring, jury selection will begin for Conley’s retrial Thursday morning in County Court in Utica. Judge Michael L. Dwyer has set aside two full days for jury selection in order to find an impartial panel of Conley’s peers in this highly-publicized case.

Opening statements from the attorneys and the first witnesses are scheduled for the following Monday, Oct. 16, according to court officials. The trial is expected to last at least three weeks or more.

Conley, 24, of Sauquoit, is accused of poisoning her boss on July 20, 2015 at the Yoder family’s chiropractic office in Whitesboro. Conley worked as a receptionist for Yoder and her husband, Dr. William Yoder.

Prosecutors have said that Conley was in an on again/off again relationship with Yoder’s son for several years, and poisoning his mother was part of a scheme to win him back. Prosecutors said Conley ordered the toxin colchicine over the Internet at the start of the year 2015 and then somehow slipped it to Dr. Yoder on July 20, leading to her agonizing death.

At the first trial, the DA’s Office presented circumstantial evidence linking Conley to the Internet order of the colchicine. Prosecutors also showed evidence that Conley admitted to investigators that she had written and mailed an anonymous letter that tried to blame the killing on Yoder’s son.

Conley maintains her innocence in the murder.

The defense argued at the trial that there was no clear reason or direct evidence how or why Conley would intentionally poison her boss. The defense instead accused Yoder’s husband of carrying out the killing, pointing out that William Yoder started a romantic relationship with the victim’s sister shortly after Yoder died, and that he may have been familiar with colchicine.

The first trail lasted from April 25 to May 10 with more than 40 witnesses for the prosecution and defense. Conley did not take the stand. The jury then deliberated from May 11 to 18 and was unable to reach a unanimous verdict, prompting Judge Dwyer to declare the mistrial.

Since the first trial, the Conley family has replaced original defense attorney Christopher Pelli with new attorney Frank Policelli. Whether or not Policelli will use the same defense arguments is not yet known. The DA’s Office has also added First Assistant District Attorney Michael Coluzza to the prosecution, with Assistant District Attorney Laurie Lisi as the lead prosecutor.

Due to the high publicity of the case, Judge Dwyer issued a gag order to all attorneys involved, stopping them from speaking with The Daily Sentinel about the case.