Hundreds are being screened for possible jury service.
New Hampshire prosecutors have compiled a list of 410 potential witnesses.
And now the main event — a capital murder trial — begins for John A. Brooks, 56. He founded and was the president of Poly Vac Inc., a vacuum former and injection molder in Manchester, N.H.
The millionaire's trial before Judge Robert Lynn starts Aug. 11 in Rockingham County Superior Court in Brentwood, N.H. If convicted, Brooks could get the death penalty. He is accused in the 2005 slaying of handyman and trash hauler Jack Reid Sr., 57, of Derry, N.H.
The court summoned about 800 prospective jurors to appear July 7 to complete an unusually extensive pretrial form with 143 questions — some of them obviously case-specific and others relating to candidates' opinions, lifestyle, habits and preferences.
The entire process could take two to three months. ``The trial begins with three to four weeks of jury selection, four to five weeks of trial, and then if we reach the penalty phase, three to four weeks,'' said Kirsten Wilson, senior assistant attorney general.
One question on the jury-selection survey asked for an opinion about the ethics and honesty of a millionaire; another dealt with a person's experience with diabetes, which Brooks has. In particular, opinions about the death penalty were solicited. The court can exclude anyone who is unwilling to apply the death penalty.
Lawyers for the state and Brooks have been evaluating the questionnaire results and will work through the prospects.
Brooks' five defense lawyers come from four states: Christopher Carter of Concord, N.H.; Thomas Hoopes and Martin Murphy from separate Boston law firms; Monica Foster of Indianapolis; and David Bruck of Lexington, Va.
The state attorney general's list of more than 400 possible witnesses from across the country includes 112 with credentials as law enforcement officials, forensic laboratory technicians, medical examiners and other specialists.
On March 5, a grand jury returned four indictments against Brooks relating to Reid's slaying: first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit capital murder, capital murder during the act of kidnapping and criminally soliciting Joseph Vrooman, Robin Knight and Michael Benton to cause Reid's death.
Vrooman, 52, of Las Vegas pleaded guilty June 3 to conspiracy to commit capital murder and hindering apprehension. He faces 17½ to 35 years in prison.
Benton, 31, of Manchester, N.H., pleaded guilty in January to second-degree murder. He faces 35 years in prison.
Vrooman and Benton have agreed to testify against Brooks at his trial.
Knight, 56, of North Hampton, N.H., is scheduled for a Feb. 2 trial on two counts: conspiracy to commit capital murder and acting as an accomplice to first-degree murder.
John Brooks' son is another defendant. Jesse Brooks, 31, of Las Vegas is scheduled for a March 9 trial on one count of conspiracy to commit capital murder.
The state's investigation found:
• John Brooks told several people that he wanted to kill Reid.
• Brooks hired Reid in September 2003 to help pack a moving truck with personal property as Brooks prepared to move to Las Vegas from Londonderry, N.H.
• The truck was stolen in Londonderry one day after the packing took place. Brooks believed that Reid had stolen the truck full of Brooks' items, including motorcycles and household goods.
• Reid was beaten with a hammer and killed around June 27, 2005, on a Deerfield, N.H., horse farm. His body was wrapped in plastic and found July 5, 2005, in the bed of his dump truck, which was parked in Saugus, Mass.
The Brooks' case has taken twists.
Brooks' lawyers filed a federal lawsuit objecting to state officials moving Brooks from the Stafford County jail in Dover to a state prison over concerns about Brooks' allegedly exerting influence, hindering jail security and causing others to beat up certain inmates.
In June, a grand jury indicted Brooks for allegedly having an inmate beaten in the Stafford County jail in early 2007, when Brooks was being held there.
At one time, Brooks was a successful businessman and was mentioned as a possible candidate for a high New Hampshire political office such as governor or senator. He was named the 1997 New Hampshire Small Business Person of the Year.
Brooks operated a private orthotic practice and, through polymer experimentation, devised a creative method to manufacture plastic orthopedic braces.
He formed Poly Vac initially in 1985 to take advantage of a process using polymers that could withstand extreme temperatures to sterilize reusable delivery trays holding surgical instruments.