Wednesday January 4, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- Jury selection began Tuesday in the Berkshire Superior Court trial of Gerald Field for the alleged June 2010 rape of a 55-year-old woman who, police said, was held against her will for five days in a Great Barrington home.

On Tuesday, seven men and five women were impaneled. Two more jurors were expected to be picked on Wednesday to round out the panel.

Police and prosecutors claim Field held the woman against her will and repeatedly attacked and raped her over a 72-hour period in June 2010, an accusation the defendant has denied.

Field was arrested in Great Barrington on June 22, 2010, after a five-hour manhunt by local and state police. He was charged with four counts of aggravated rape, two counts of assault and battery, and single counts of armed kidnapping with a sexual assault, witness intimidation and threat to commit murder.

During Tuesday's jury selection, Judge Daniel A. Ford asked candidates a series of questions, including whether Field's belief in a Nordic pagan religion and alleged anti-Semitic remarks would prevent them from being fair jurors. It remains to be seen whether the substance of the questions will surface at trial.

Field remains in the custody at the Berkshire County Jail & House of Correction on $50,000 bail pending the outcome of his trial.