Jury selection continues in Brady murder trial
Published 7:27 am Wednesday, October 9, 2019
Day two of the Mikel Edward Brady II trial at the Dare County Courthouse ran from 9:30 a.m. until almost 7 p.m. on October 8 and was consumed by the continued search for 12 impartial people.
After six of the previous day’s jurors were replaced, the question and answer session started afresh for the half dozen new people with District Attorney Andrew Womble introducing himself and the other attorneys involved in the case.
Brady is one of four inmates charged with trying to break out of the Pasquotank Correctional Institution in Elizabeth City on October 12, 2017. During that failed escape attempt, four prison employees were killed.
For his part in the violent escape attempt Brady is charged with multiple counts of first-degree murder, felony inciting to riot, attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury, burning certain public buildings and attempted escape from state prison.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty in the case, making it a long and tedious process to sift through a pool of 600 people to find 12 that can listen to, evaluate and eventually rule on the testimony and evidence presented in the case.
Although several potential jurors said they have little or no knowledge of the case and feel confident they can render an impartial verdict, others have been excused from service based on pre-conceived opinions about court fairness, police credibility and the death penalty.
The process was also delayed when it was discovered one prospective juror was not fluent in English and two others were suspected of being impaired. Another delay after lunch Tuesday came when another prospective juror was questioned on his whereabouts earlier that morning when his name was called and he did not answer. One juror was excused, another returned to the jury pool and two others were taken into custody for contempt of court.
Once a jury has been selected, the case is expected to take several weeks to complete. During one questioning session on Monday, Womble read a list of 70 people that might be called to testify.
Brady, surrounded by Department of Corrections Special Operations Response Team officers, has been present for courtroom motions and discussions during both days of trial.
Court is scheduled to reconvene 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.