Jury selected for 2016 Labor Day weekend double homicide trial

Jury selected for 2016 Labor Day weekend double homicide trial

July 10th, 2018 by Zack Peterson in Local Regional News
Stephen Mobley

Stephen Mobley

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

After a Tuesday full of questioning, a jury is ready to hear the trial of a Chattanooga man accused of murdering two during a house party in 2016.

Stephen Mobley, 34, faces two counts of first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder, possession of a firearm and aggravated assault charges in the deaths of Jasmine Hines, 22, and Rashaud Taylor, 23.

His trial begins Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. in Hamilton County Criminal Court.

Police say Mobley opened fire inside a home on Pinewood Drive on Sept. 5, 2016, after Hines and another woman got sick during a night of partying. According to a criminal affidavit, Mobley was one of the last people in the house and a witness saw him arguing with Hines shortly before the shooting, which happened around 6 a.m.

But Mobley's public defenders say Hines may have died because she witnessed her father's murder six months earlier in 2016. Hines had previously spoken with Chattanooga police about her father's unsolved case from March 2016, and was fearful she'd be killed, too, defender Steve Brown has previously argued. On the night of her death, Hines appeared in a Facebook live video that showed her location, Brown has said.

Deputy Public Defender Mike Little added that Mobley pleaded his innocence in a Facebook video he made shortly before turning himself in to authorities in 2016. That video and an interview Hines gave to Chattanooga police before her death are expected to be shown to jurors.

Because of the high-profile attention paid to the case, attorneys agreed that jurors should be sequestered, meaning they will spend each night of the trial away from their families in an area hotel.

To ensure impartiality, attorneys crafted a list of questions for jurors to review Tuesday morning. Afterward, they spent most of the afternoon selecting 14 people to judge Mobley's fate.

Mobley's defenders mostly asked questions about Facebook and whether people had been falsely accused before.

If convicted, he faces a life sentence in prison.

Contact staff writer Zack Peterson at zpeterson@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6347. Follow him on Twitter @zackpeterson918.