The capital murder trial of Albert Leslie Love Jr. has the potential to be the costliest McLennan County trial in decades because of a venue change to Georgetown.
Hotel rooms, meals and mileage reimbursement for 19th State District Judge Ralph Strother, five court officials, two or three prosecutors, two defense attorneys, daily costs to keep Love in the Williamson County Jail and more all will be funded from McLennan County coffers as the state seeks the death penalty for Love.
Testimony is set to begin Monday in the Williamson County Courthouse. The trial was moved there after Strother determined that the publicity surrounding the Waco trial of co- defendant Rickey Cummings last year would prevent a fair trial here for Love.
Jury selection began June 3 and took more than three weeks to complete. Each of the 160 potential jurors questioned in the arduous process was paid $30 and the 12 jurors and two alternate jurors will be paid $30 a day during the trial, which is expected to last at least two weeks.
Before that, 450 potential jurors were called to fill out questionnaires in May. Each was paid $6 for showing up that day, also a tab that McLennan County will pay.
During the jury selection process, the judge, a court administrator, a court reporter, two deputies and District Clerk Karen Matkin or her chief deputy, Suzanne Bounds, stayed in hotels at $89 a night and were given $10 a day for meals.
Also, prosecutors Michael Jarrett and Greg Davis and defense attorneys John Donahue and Jon Evans stayed in a motel and will be reimbursed for meals.
Love, 26, is on trial in the March 2011 shooting deaths of Tyus Sneed, 17, and Keenan Hubert, 20, at the Lakewood Villas apartment complex, 1601 Spring St. in Waco.
Sneed and Hubert were sitting in the back seat of a car, while Deontrae Majors and Marion Bible were in the front seat. Majors and Bible were wounded but managed to escape. They testified at Cummings’ trial, which ended in November.
Prosecutors intend to prove that Love was wielding an AK-47 when he, Cummings and perhaps others ambushed the four men sitting in the car.
Also, records show Love reportedly violated federal firearms statutes by encouraging his girlfriend to try to buy an AK-47 assault rifle for him at Praco Pawn in Waco in March 2011; and that he committed the offense of unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon by possessing a revolver and an AK-47 in March 2011.
Love’s school and medical records filed by his attorneys perhaps give a clue about some issues that might come up at trial.
Love was accepted to Prairie View A&M University in the fall of 2006 and made a B, four Cs and a D his first semester. In the spring of 2007, records show he made five Fs and was given an incomplete.
In the fall of 2007, he made 5 Fs and an A in reading, his transcripts show.
But his medical records show that Love became ill while at school, complaining of headaches, nausea and vomiting.
In May 2007, Love underwent a craniectomy in Waco to drain and remove a brain abscess, a swelling caused by a bacterial infection.
He spent three weeks in the hospital, but returned again on May 28, 2007, for another operation on a second abscess, according to his medical records on file with the court.
Defense attorneys could use the brain surgeries as mitigation evidence should the jury convict Love of capital murder.