Jury selection starts for man accused of barbershop slaying
PRATTVILLE, Ala. (AP) — Jury selection began Monday in the trial of an Alabama man charged with killing three people at a barber shop during a robbery attempt.
The selection process in Keon Cain’s trial is expected to take two days, The Montgomery Advertiser reported. Cain is facing three counts of capital murder in the deaths of Eddie Scott, Anthony Smith, and Al Benson at a Prattville barbershop in July 2017. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
Circuit Clerk Deb Hill sent out 500 notices to people, which is about twice the number of an average jury pool. Potential jurors were also sent a 15-page questionnaire ranging from personal information to views on capital punishment and the types of television programs they watch.
The three men killed at the barbershop were well known in the community and their deaths received extensive coverage, the newspaper said.
Circuit Judge Bill Lewis will handle screening potential jurors individually along with defense attorneys and prosecutors. Officials expect the process to last through Tuesday. If a panel is seated, opening statements are set for Wednesday.
Cain’s co-defendant Marty Morgan pleaded guilty to one count of capital murder last March.
Assistant District Attorney Josh Cochran said Morgan struck Scott and Benson in the head with cinder blocks at the Hook-Up Barber and Style Shop, killing them by blunt force trauma. Cain is accused of shooting Smith, who owned the shop. Cochran said after Smith was shot, he staggered out of the shop and collapsed in a parking lot next door. Cochran said that Cain then approached Smith and shot him in the back of the head.
Prattville Police Chief Mark Thompson previously described the slaying a robbery gone wrong.
Morgan hasn’t been sentenced. He’s expected to testify against Cain.
There is a gag order on the case barring prosecutors and defense attorneys from commenting outside the courtroom.