Testimony may begin today in the trial of two men accused of shooting and killing a third man during a 2006 home invasion in East Chattanooga.
Jury selection ran long Tuesday, and at 5 p.m. Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Barry Steelman sent the prospective panelists home before attorneys had finalized their 14 members.
On trial are Dequon Letray Boyd, 21, and Jemarow Deverius Tillison, 22. Prosecutors will try to convince jurors the duo killed Casey Woods, 31, on April 5, 2006.
Chattanooga police chased two vehicles on the night of the shooting. One eventually was abandoned, but a car occupied by Mr. Tillison and Mr. Boyd crashed and officers arrested them after a short foot chase, according to police. A third person also fled from the crashed vehicle but never was located.
Mr. Woods died two days after the incident, according to the indictments of the two suspects.
A court officer said there was a brief skirmish outside the courtroom Tuesday when family members of the victim and a party from a defendant's family argued. That ended with one person being ejected from the courthouse, and Judge Steelman warned all gallery occupants to be on their best behavior or risk being arrested.
One person who admitted to falling asleep for five minutes during prospective juror questioning prompted a plea from the judge and defense attorney Dan Ripper to pay close attention to the court proceedings.
"This is the most important day of these men's lives," Mr. Ripper said of the defendants. "Please use the information we give you as if you are making the most important decision of your life."
Jurors were asked to return to court this morning, but final jury selection and opening statements may not begin until later in the morning, as Judge Steelman said he had a lengthy docket and other afternoon courtroom obligations.