Williamson County officials have summoned 1,200 potential jurors in hopes of getting at least 400 to show up Wednesday to fill out questionnaires as the capital murder trial of Albert Leslie Love Jr. enters its initial stage.
Love’s trial was moved to Georgetown after his co-defendant, Rickey Cummings, received the death penalty in November following his conviction in Waco.
Love, 26, also faces the death penalty if convicted in the March 2011 ambush-style slayings of Tyus Sneed, 17, and Keenan Hubert, 20, at the Lakewood Villas apartment complex in Waco.
Judge Ralph Strother of Waco’s 19th State District Court, who will preside over Love’s trial in Georgetown, said testimony is set to begin July 8.
The prospective jurors who report Wednesday will be asked to fill out a 21-page questionnaire with 119 questions that prosecutors Michael Jarrett and Greg Davis and defense attorneys John Donahue and Jon Evans will use to help determine if potential jurors are suited to the case.
Strother said Williamson County officials summon so many jurors because the county has a poor track record getting jurors to honor court notices.
“Their response is not as good as ours here in McLennan County, and we are trying to make sure we don’t have to go back and summon a supplemental panel like we had to do in Rickey Cummings’ case,” the judge said.
In Cummings’ case, attorneys questioned about 180 potential jurors before selecting 12 jurors and two alternate jurors.
Prospective jurors are questioned individually instead of together in a large panel in capital murder cases in which the prosecution is seeking the death penalty.
Individual questioning of jurors will begin June 3 and is expected to take about three weeks, Strother said.
The judge said testimony should last from two to three weeks.
Strother placed the attorneys in the case under a gag order, preventing them from talking to the media.
The questionnaire for potential jurors covers a variety of issues, from their views on capital punishment to their favorite TV shows.
It includes personal information about their families, their religious and political affiliations, their knowledge of the criminal justice system and if they or family members have had dealings with law enforcement.
The questionnaire also asks which is the greater wrong: for a jury to find a guilty person not guilty or for a jury to find an innocent person guilty.
It also lists the names of about 100 prospective witnesses and asks potential jurors if they know any of them.
Sneed and Hubert were sitting in the back seat of a car at the apartment complex at 1601 Spring St. when multiple suspects opened fire on the car. Deontrae Majors and Marion Bible, who were in the front seat, were wounded but managed to escape.
Waco police arrested Cummings, Love, Darvis Tyrell Cummings, Kennedy Wayne Hardway and Tyrece Edwards Richards and charged them all with capital murder in the shootings.
District Attorney Abel Reyna since has dismissed the capital murder charges against Hardway and Richards.