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Jury selection begins in trial for man charged with murdering his mother

Prosecutors seeking death penalty

June 03, 2013|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com
  • Marcus Wallace
Marcus Wallace

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — Jury selection began Monday in Franklin County (Pa.) Court of Common Pleas for the capital murder trial of a man accused of beating his mother to death.

The trial is expected to start later this week for Marcus Wallace, 42, who is charged with first-degree murder and second-degree murder in the beating death of his 70-year-old mother, Consuella Wallace.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

One by one, potential jurors are submitting to questioning by attorneys and a judge brought in from another county. They already had completed lengthy questionnaires.

Jury selection is expected to continue through Thursday, with opening statements anticipated Friday. The trial is scheduled to last three weeks.

Potential jurors answered questions about their opinions regarding race, mental health and capital punishment.

The first potential juror undergoing an interview in the afternoon session was a salesman with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. He offered thoughts on the recent Jodi Arias trial in Arizona, saying he was pleased by the guilty verdict and would support Arias being sentenced to death.

The afternoon’s second potential juror said she did not have religious, ethical or moral concerns about the death penalty.

“You can’t just readily hand out that sentence,” she said.

That potential juror became the second rejected by the prosecution during the day.

The defense team had also rejected two jurors at that point, and Senior Judge John C. Uhler dismissed additional ones.

Defense attorneys rejected the next potential juror, a woman who watches every episode of television’s “Criminal Minds.” She said she would need DNA evidence to reach a verdict.

Prosecutors allege that Wallace attacked his mother in her Hamilton Township, Pa., home on Dec. 10, 2009. She died from her injuries in February 2010.

During pretrial hearings, Consuella Wallace’s family and friends testified she feared her adopted son. Her niece read a letter in court  purportedly written by the victim to the defendant.

In the letter from 1993, Consuella Wallace told her son to move out of her home and stop using drugs and alcohol.

“I love you, but I can’t live life the way you want me to. ... You have a good mind — use it, not me,” the letter was quoted as saying.

Marcus Wallace underwent several pretrial mental health evaluations.

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