Short trial starts

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 24, 2006

VIDALIA &8212; Jury selection in the murder trial of Jason Short began Monday, lasting throughout the day.

Five jurors were selected Monday, and the selection process will continue Tuesday. The beginning of the trial will immediately follow the selection process.

Short is charged with second-degree murder in connection with the April 4, 2006 murder of Richard Allan Cupstid of Vidalia. Short and Joe Loncar allegedly robbed Cupstid, shot him in the head and ran over him near the intersection of U.S. 84 and Rountree Road in Vidalia. Cupstid died a day later in a Jackson hospital.

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Loncar was found guilty of second-degree murder by a parish jury in April. Assistant District Attorney Brad Burget argued then it didn&8217;t matter whether Loncar or Short pulled the trigger because state statute provides that anyone who is a principle to a robbery during which a person is killed can be charged with murder.

Loncar&8217;s jury convicted him without evidence of the murder weapon or who fired it.

Both men have accused each other of pulling the trigger.

After the murder, Loncar and Short led police on a chase to Florida, where they were eventually arrested.

During Loncar&8217;s trial, Burget said he planned to call Loncar to testify in Short&8217;s trial.

Loncar will receive a mandatory life sentence without parole or probation. Official sentencing has not yet taken place.

In Locar&8217;s case, the jury had the option of considering lesser charges, which included manslaughter or negligent homicide.

Defense attorney Rodney Messina will represent Short&8217;s case against the prosecution, led by Burget.

Leo Boothe will preside as judge in the trial.