By Patsy R. Brumfield / Daily Journal
2:50 P.M. – Jones murder trial jury takes its seats in the Prentiss County Courthouse jury box – 7 men, 7 women (4 are black).
Two of them are alternates, who will assume juror status if another becomes ill or otherwise cannot complete the trial. The alternates do not know they are alternates at this stage.
Opening statements are expected, and perhaps a few witnesses before afternoon recess.
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12:20 – Jones murder trial jury pool breaks for long lunch. Judge Jim Seth Pounds tells them to be back at 2:45, when the 14 jurors will be announced.
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(Below are some details directly from this morning’s session. Please excuse typos and other glitches likely as I type rapidly.)
11:04 a.m. -
Judge reads list of potential witnesses (I may not have spelling correct, just hearing judge.)
Tammy Johnson, Roy Rainey, Randy Tolar, Betty Rosky, Lisa Diallo, Dr. Newt Harrison, Melissa Hammond, Dr. Amy McMasters, Brooke Creech, Jimmy Hicks, Felicia Robinson, Larry Putnam, Billy Arnold, Linda Ofer, David Whitehead, Steve Sanders.
Various potential jurors say they know some of these people and say it may or may not affect their perspective on case. (Lawyers taking notes about comments.)
Defendant Rebecca Lynn “Becky” Jones is accused of fatally shooting her mother, Jane, in 2010. She’s in the courtroom wearing a white turtleneck sweater and a gold chain/medallion around her neck. Jones appears to be in her late 40s. She’s got short brown hair and wears glasses.
11:23 – Josh Wise, assistant DA, questions potential jurors.
One in jury pool, Bubba Pounds, is chancery clerk. Another male says he is the defendant’s daughter’s godfather and that his wife is her best friend. He admits it might be difficult to be impartial on the jury.
11:50 – Defense attorney Rob Laher asks questions.
One woman says she waits to hear everything on Law & Order before she makes up her mind. She feels say way about defense, “like on A Time to Kill, you’re representing Samuel L. Jackson.” Laher says yes. In this case someone has died. You will see photos that “are not pretty.” Can’t change that a person has died, but it’s human nature to try to redeem a death … some sort of retribution for the person that’s died. Only one left is Becky.
Same woman says she doesn’t have anything against others who own guns. I’m scared of the dark. After a got a divorce from my husband, I got a handgun for protection.
Man says he was a victim and testified before the grand jury. Spoke with Wise about his testimony. About grand jury experience … assume something is wrong because her case went through grand jury. Laher says she’s presumed innocent, isn’t she? Man says you have to see how it plays out. Will listen to everything.
Others respond to his questions about being the victim of a crime or believing one side over another. Older woman says people kill, not guns. Doesn’t have any problem with guns. Another says, “I love guns.”
12:15 – Laher wraps up questions. Anything else we need to know about. Woman who was in jail cell with Becky Jones, says I believe both tables are just tables, no strikes against either one of them. When case starts, I wouldn’t look at anybody at tables. Listen to witnesses, make up my mind by that, not by looking at her. Believe they don’t have nothing against them (state). Just two tables.
12:15 – Judge says I’ll let everyone go to eat. Picking a jury will take a while. Return at 2:45, we’ll announce these 14 jurors. After that, everyone else will be let go.
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11:10 A.M. – Judge Jim Seth Pounds asks if anybody in the jury pool has already made up their minds about this case. No one responds.
He continues to ask questions of the prospective jurors.
Some have said they know the defendant or her mother, or are related to various possible witnesses, including – Tammy Johnson, Roy Rainey, Randy Tolar, Betty Rosky, Lisa Diallo, Dr. Newt Harrison, Melissa Hammond, Dr. Amy McMasters, Brook Creech, Jimmie Hicks, Felicia Robinson, Larry Putnam, Billy Arnold, Linda Ofer, David Whitehead, Steve Sanders.
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10:48 A.M. – Judge Jim Seth Pounds returns to the courtroom and tells the 82 in jury pool that the jury will hear the murder case against Rebecca Jones.
Pounds has more specific questions of pool, such as kin of lawyers or others on attorney teams. Can you set that aside and be fair? Pounds asks, when potential jurors say they have connections.
(Readers, if you have questions for me about this trial, follow me @realnewsqueen on Twitter.com or email me at email@example.com)
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10:30 A.M. – The 117-member jury pool is whittled to 82, and they’re on a short break as the court sorts through their names. They’ve already been assigned new seating arrangments.
Next, attorneys for the state and defense will question them in an attempt to determine who should not or whom they would prefer to serve or not serve.
The jury pool has not been told what case they will consider.
• Come back for updates or watch live Twitter.com posts #Jonestrial.
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BOONEVILLE – A packed Prentiss County courtroom awaits questions and choices for a jury to consider the fate of Rebecca “Becky” Jones, accused in the 2010 murder of her mother, Jane.
Last November, Jones went on trial for the shooting death but on the trial’s third day, her attorney announced she’d taken ill suddenly overnight.
Circuit Judge Jim Seth Pounds declared a mistrial after determining her comatose condition in an Alabama hospital would necessarily delay her prosecution.
No one has yet publicly discussed what put her in the hospital other than vague references to her collapse in the bathroom of her Alabama home after some kind of reaction to medication.
Pounds set a new trial date and Jones’ immediate arrest after her release from the hospital.
Through her attorney, Rob Laher of Tupelo, Jones insists she did not intend to shoot her mother when the women argued at Jane Jones’ home in Prentiss County.
Assistant district attorneys Kimmie Kitchens and Josh Wise will prosecute the case.
• Come back for live updates and watch periodically for extensive rolling accounts from the courtroom.