Jury selection for murder trial completed

Published 11:25 am Monday, August 9, 2010

VIDALIA — Jury selection for the first-degree murder trial of Michael Kelly Stevens has been completed.

Stevens is accused in the killing of Mike Welch of Vidalia, who was discovered dead in his Myrtle Street home in October 2009. His throat had been cut.

Jury selection Monday took approximately six hours. The jury is composed of three black women, four white males, one black male and four white women. The jury alternates are one black woman and one black male.

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Seventh Judicial District District Attorney Brad Burget told potential jurors Monday morning Concordia Parish has not seen a first-degree murder trial since the late 1970s.

While Stevens is being tried on charges of first-degree murder, Burget said the state is not seeking the death penalty in the matter.

The district attorney said he could not explain his decision not to seek the death penalty without explaining the details of the case to the potential jurors.

Stevens is charged with first-degree murder because the state intends to prove he had specific intent to kill Welch and Stevens was in the process of committing another crime at the time of the killing, Burget said.

The penalty for conviction in this case would be a life sentence without benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence.

Prosecution in the trial starts at 9 a.m. Tuesday.