Spotlight on Jury Research

Rachel York, PH.D, Senior Litigation Consultant, Magna Legal Services

Magna’s jury consulting team, led by Senior Litigation Consultant, Rachel York, Ph.D., recently assisted the City of Alexandria in convicting a serial killer during a triple-murder trial. This high profile case, Commonwealth v. Charles Severance, involved the serial murders of three people over the course of 10 years

Rachel York

who were shot and killed in the doorways of their homes because of a hatred the defendant held for the City of Alexandria.


As the Commonwealth’s Attorney, Bryan L. Porter stated, “jury selection is a crucial stage in any trial. Far too often, in my experience, criminal attorneys on both sides are so uninformed with regards to prospective jurors that the voir dire process essentially becomes guesswork. I felt that, given the gravity of this case, I needed substantial assistance with jury selection and I reached out to Magna.”

When the Commonwealth’s Attorney sought our help with jury selection to ensure that Charles Severance was held accountable for the senseless violence he committed, our team was ready,with Porter saying “at the end of the selection process, I was confident that we had empaneled a jury comprised of intelligent, conscientious and thoughtful citizens.”

Our team at Magna was pleased to offer not only insights about the attributes that the Commonwealth should seek in a prospective juror, but also detailed observations and analyses once the voir dire process began.

After a five-week trial, the jury returned a verdict of guilty on all ten counts of the indictment and recommended three life sentences without the possibility of parole along with an additional 48 years of incarceration and a $400,000 fine.

More information on the case can be found here: