Biggest show in town
The fact that a jury was picked so quickly was something of a surprise because Butler County is home to just 15,000 people. In fact, there isn't a proper stoplight in the whole county —just a few flashing red-lights. There was much speculation that it would prove impossible to find an impartial jury in such a close-knit community. Prosecutors filed a conditional change-of-venue motion, to take effect if they couldn't find a jury in Butler County, so Becker's speedy trial rights would not be violated. Just in case, Judge Carroll had a jury pool of 200 ready to go in nearby Wright County, but released them when a Butler County jury was selected.
Aside from rebuilding from the tornado, nothing gripped the attention of Butler County residents more than the Mark Becker trial. The courtroom was generally full of townspeople, law enforcement agents and high school students who had been given leave by teachers to attend the trial.
Reporters from Waterloo, Cedar Rapids and Des Moines television stations attended the trial throughout, as did print reporters from all over the state. When the trial began on February 12, 2010, it was the biggest story in the state of Iowa.