PRESCOTT - The trial of a man accused of kidnapping a 17-year-old girl in December 2011 got underway Wednesday with the selection of a jury.
Curtis Hollingsworth, 48, was charged with two counts of kidnapping after Yavapai County Sheriff's deputies said he tried to drag the girl into his car while she was out for an evening walk.
The teen told her mother and deputies that while she was walking, a car approached her and slowed. The driver, a man, did not speak, but the teen said she felt he was pacing her, and she began to get uncomfortable. She changed her route to a couple of other streets, but he continued to follow her.
He drove up beside her, opened the car door, grabbed her arm and tried to pull her inside, the mother said. She broke free and hid.
The teen provided deputies with a detailed description of the man along with the plate number, according to a YCSO report. A records check confirmed that Hollingsworth owned the car and is also a registered Level 3 sex offender. Deputies immediately drove to his home on Apricot Lane in Spring Valley, where they found him.
They arrested Hollingsworth and booked him into the Yavapai County jail in Camp Verde.
On Wednesday, his trial on the two counts of kidnapping began. Yavapai County Superior Court Judge Tina Ainley, Deputy County Attorney Steve Young, and Hollingworth's attorney, Andrew Falick of the public defender's office, spent the day narrowing down a courtroom full of prospective jurors to a panel of 12 plus two alternates.
Hollingsworth, dressed in a Western-style jacket, snap-front dress shirt, blue jeans and boots, watched and listened from the defense table. Still in custody, deputies brought him in and out of the courtroom, but did not handcuff him within sight of the jury pool.
Each attorney gave a few clues as to their planned case as they questioned the juror candidates.
Young asked, "DNA - does everyone know what that is?" He pointed at a few of the potential jurors, seemingly randomly, and asked, "Do you?" All said they did.
Then he asked if they knew what they did from having watched TV programs such as "CSI - Crime Scene Investigation." When several nodded, he asked, "Can you set aside what you know about DNA from the show?"
More nods, and Young was satisfied.
Falick asked about a defendant's right not to testify. "If you were (wrongly) accused of a crime, you'd claim innocence, wouldn't you? You'd want the whole world to know you were innocent, right?
"So what are you going to do when my client doesn't testify? Does it bother anyone if he doesn't get up and speak his piece?" he said, asking for a show of hands.
There were none. Falick also wanted to know how the prospective jurors saw his own role.
"What is my job?" he asked one woman.
"To defend your client," she said.
"Do I have to do anything to do that?" he continued, and the woman replied that he needed to call witnesses, and question them.
Falick said, "I can see why you might say that, but I don't actually have to do anything - my client is innocent until he's proven guilty. Mr. Young has to prove every element of every crime my client is charged with."
They selected nine men and five women to be jurors, and Ainley gave them instructions, including a definition of kidnapping that said Young must prove that Hollingsworth "knowingly restrained another person with the intent to place the victim in immediate fear of physical injury" to convict him of kidnapping.
After going over the instructions, Ainley released them for the night.
The trial is slated to run seven days, but she said she felt it might take less time.