Jury selection begins in Creato case; Haddon Township dad is charged in tot’s death

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Jury selection began Tuesday in the case of a Haddon Township, NJ, man accused of killing his 3-year-old son and dumping the boy’s body in the woods in 2015.

David “D.J.” Creato Jr., 23, who is charged with murder in the death of his son, Brendan, sat in Superior Court in Camden in a dark blue suit and black dress shoes, with his hair in a ponytail.

Creato’s attorney, Richard J. Fuschino Jr., introduced his client to potential jurors by saying he had “the privilege” of defending Creato. Assistant Camden County Prosecutor Christine Shah also introduced herself, as is standard procedure, before the process of selecting 12 jurors began.

Creato did not speak.

Among the jurors Judge John T. Kelley excused during Tuesday’s selection: A woman who said she works with a friend of Creato’s family. When Kelley asked whether she could keep an open mind and listen to the facts of the case, the woman said she didn’t think so.

Kelley asked other potential jurors a variety of questions, from what jobs they hold to what TV shows they watch to where they get their news. He also asked whether they have children.

Prosecutors have alleged that Creato killed Brendan to stop his then-17-year-old girlfriend from leaving him. The girlfriend has not been charged. She was at Pace University in New York when Brendan died, authorities said.

Shah has said that Brendan died of “homicidal violence,” and that an examination of his brain showed an abnormality consistent with oxygen deprivation that can be caused by asphyxiation, drowning, or strangulation.

An exact cause of death, however, was never determined, despite a review of the case by three doctors, including state Medical Examiner Andrew L. Falzon.

A police dog found Brendan’s pajama-clad body slumped over a rock near the Cooper River on Oct. 13, 2015, not far from Cooper Street and South Park Drive. Creato had called 911 and reported his son missing several hours earlier.

He was charged three months later.

The trial should last through May but end before May 31, Kelley said. It will be held three days a week: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

Jury selection is expected to continue through this week.

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