Jury selection continues in capital murder trial

CAMERON—The lengthy jury selection process continues this week for the Brandon Charles Cotton capital murder trial.

Prosecutor Bill Torrey is seeking the death penalty for Cotton, who is accused of the Nov. 25, 2011, shotgun slaying of San Gabriel area resident Sandra Phillips.

On Monday interviews began for about 100 prospective jurors in the 20th District Courtroom.

That’s the number culled from the 210 who answered a roll call from a pool of 500 summoned Oct. to the Williams Civic Center in the formal start of jury selections.

Individual interviews of the 100 remaining began Monday, a process that is expected to take from two to four weeks.

Testimony in the trial is expected to begin on Monday, Dec. 2.

Interviews are being conducted by Judge John Youngblood and attorneys for both the prosecution and defense. Torrey leads the prosecution and Russ Hunt Sr. of Waco leads the defense.

Eventually the field of 100 is expected to be narrowed to 50. Each team of attorneys will have 15 “strikes” to dismiss anyone remaining in the jury panel.

The list will be further narrowed to 20 and interviews will be conducted until 14 persons—12 jurors and two alternates—are selected.

Questions on the death penalty are anticipated to be keys in the interviews.

At the Oct. 15 initial meeting, moved from the courthouse to the Williams Civic Center because of space limitations, Judge Youngblood outlined seven qualifications that determined who was qualified to serve on the jury and seven exemptions for which an individual could be excused.

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2013-11-07 digital edition

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