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Jury for Micronesian church shooting to be picked in July

Monday, September 22, 2008 | 11:25 a.m. CDT

NEOSHO — Jury selection for a southwest Missouri man accused of killing three Micronesian church leaders and wounding four people last year will be held in July.

Documents filed in Newton County Circuit Court show a panel of jurors from Greene County is set to be selected on July 13, 2009, the Neosho Daily News reported Sunday. The jurors will likely be sequestered for a trial to start next summer, according to the Daily News.

Eiken Elam Saimon, 54, of Neosho, was bound over for trial last September on three counts of murder, four counts of assault and one count each of felonious restraint and armed criminal action. He remains in custody at the Newton County jail without bail.

A motion hearing is scheduled for Oct. 3.

Saimon is accused of storming into First Congregational Church in the town of Neosho in August 2007 and opening fire. The Sunday afternoon service was being held by a group of South Pacific immigrants from Micronesia who rented church space to worship in their native language.

Police have said Saimon, although Micronesian, was not an active member of the church.

Killed were Kernal Rehobson, 43; his uncle, Intenson Rehobson, 44; and family friend Kuhpes Jesse Ikosia, 53. All three were church leaders.

Saimon allegedly shot the men, then briefly held the congregation hostage before surrendering to police.

Prosecutors have declined to discuss Saimon's motive in the shooting. But relatives of those killed have said Saimon was jealous of the victims' standing in the community and feared he might be outcast amid a teenage girl's sexual assault allegation against him.

Saimon also faces charges in the alleged assault, which authorities say involved a 14-year-old girl and happened at Saimon's home two days before the shooting.


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