Day three: Brady murder trial continues
Published 5:15 pm Thursday, October 10, 2019
The third day of jury selection at the Dare County Courthouse was much like the previous two days, with District Attorney Andrew Womble questioning potential jurors in search of 12 impartial people that can listen to, evaluate and eventually rule on the testimony and evidence presented in a murder case.
Once a jury is in place, Mikel Edward Brady II will be on trial for his alleged participation in a 2017 failed escape attempt from the Pasquotank Correctional Institution in Elizabeth City.
Brady is the first of four inmates to be charged in the deaths of Correction Enterprise manager Veronica Darden, correction officers Justin Smith and Wendy Shannon, and maintenance mechanic Geoffrey Howe. Darden and Smith died on October 12, the day of the escape attempt; Shannon and Howe died later from injuries suffered the day of the violent escape attempt. About a dozen other people, both employees and inmates, were also injured.
The trial was moved from Pasquotank County to Dare County due to the potential for jury bias in Elizabeth City.
Three other inmates: Wisezah Buckman, Seth Frazier, and Jonathan Monk, are scheduled to be tried after the first of the year. All four face multiple first-degree murder charges in addition to other offenses related to the escape attempt and if convicted each could face the death penalty.
Early Wednesday morning defense attorney Thomas Manning, one of two representing Brady, advised that Brady wished to challenge a couple of jurors seated during Tuesday’s proceedings.
Following a ruling from Judge Jerry Tillett, five new potential jurors were seated for a new question and answer session. Other potential jurors were brought in after lunch.
Brady is the first of 20 defendant scheduled for trial in this Dare County Superior Court session. Currently the other 19 defendants are on stand-by and advised to be in touch with their lawyers. If the Brady trial does take up the entire calendar session as expected the other cases will be rescheduled for another date.