by KATE SHUNNEY
Circuit Judge Debra McLaughlin has ordered that a survey of potential local jurors can go ahead as part of preparations for the murder trial of Andrew McCauley Jr. Judge McLaughlin filed the order on September 8.
In that order, the judge also approved court funding for the survey work, which is being done by Orion Strategies. That company had already done a media audit to determine how widely McCauley’s charges and associated case information had been reported. Orion researchers had told the court this particular case stood out as receiving “significant, widespread media publicity.”
In approving a direct survey of local people who might be called to hear the case against McCauley, Judge McLaughlin directed McCauley’s legal team to add an additional question.
Anyone responding to the survey who indicates they already believe McCauley is guilty of the charges against him should be further questioned about what crime or crimes they believe he is guilty of, the judge ordered.
Any objections to the judge’s order were to be filed by mid-September and court records do not show any objections on record.
McCauley’s trial is set to begin on February 2, 2021.
McCauley is accused of murdering 15-year-old Riley Crossman in Berkeley Springs in May of 2019, and disposing of her body in neighboring Berkeley County. Crossman’s body was found by law enforcement officers more than a week after she was reported missing by her mother. McCauley was the mother’s boyfriend at the time of Crossman’s disappearance.
McCauley has been held without bond since his arrest last May.