Jury selection began Wednesday in the trial of a woman accused of helping to arrange the 2010 Valentine’s Day contract killing of a 45-year-old Snellville man.
Lynitra Ross of Austell faces charges of malice murder. Her trial is scheduled to begin in Hall County on Tuesday.
She is accused of connecting Stacey Schoeck, her supervisor at a DeKalb County spine clinic, with acquaintance Reginald Coleman, whom law enforcement officials say shot Schoeck’s 45-year-old husband, Richard, to death in Belton Bridge Park near Lula.
Stacey Schoeck is alleged to have paid Coleman $10,000 to carry out the slaying, accusing her husband of molesting their children.
Stacey Schoeck has also admitted to authorities a five-year extramarital affair, and had pending life insurance claims totaling a half million dollars after her husband’s death, according to court records.
Of the three alleged co-conspirators in Richard Schoeck’s death, Ross will be the first to face trial.
Prosecutors said Wednesday that lawyers hope to choose the 12 people who will determine her fate by the end of today.
They questioned about 65 potential jurors Wednesday on their previous knowledge of the case and quizzed them on possible prejudices based on experiences with violent crimes and connections with parties in the case.
Potential jurors have also been quizzed on their previous experiences with the Hall County Sheriff’s and District Attorney’s offices, and whether those experiences might sway their decision in Ross’ case.
A few prospects have already been dismissed for political connections with District Attorney Lee Darragh and a stated bias against local law enforcement.
Before his death, Richard Schoeck was active in Boy Scouts; attorneys questioning the panel have specifically sought to discover which potential jurors might have been involved in similar organizations.
Attorneys for the defense sought to discover potential jurors who felt that Austell, where both Ross and Coleman lived before their arrests, was not a safe area.
Attorneys on both sides have asked potential jurors about their belief in whether certain crime shows on television are based on fact more than fiction.
Attorneys for the prosecution seem concerned with the show "C.S.I." and whether potential jurors who watch the show believe that the scientific methods fictional law enforcement officials use to solve murders on the show are easily available to agencies everywhere.
Defense attorneys have focused their questions on the Oxygen network show “Snapped,” a program that profiles the cases of female killers and what drives them to commit the crime.
Attorneys for the defense have also questioned potential jurors about their experiences with domestic abuse.
Hall County Superior Court Judge Jason Deal told the panel of potential jurors that he expects Ross’ trial to wrap up by Memorial Day weekend, but said that those who serve can plan for a week in the jury box.
Assistant District Attorney Lindsay Burton, the state’s lead counsel on the case against Ross, noted Wednesday that a number of potential jurors are teachers who are trying to wrap up their final days in class with local students.
Already, several potential jurors have stated conflicts with serving in the jury for the length of the trial. Jury selection continues this morning in Deal’s courtroom.
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