Jury selection starts under tight security - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Jury selection starts under tight security

February 21, 2006

Thomasville -- Jury selection is underway in the trial of three men accused of torching a Donalsonville motel four years ago.

Seventy-six potential jurors arrived at the Federal Courthouse in Tuesday morning for the beginning of jury selection.

Cairo businessman Dexter Harrison is accused of hiring Marty Harrell to torch his Donalsonville Ramada Limited hotel in 2002. Harrell's father Charles Harrell is also facing charges after GBI agents raided his Cairo home for evidence.

Twenty-five jurors were questioned individually in the judge's chambers because they either knew someone in the case, or something about the case. The remaining jurors were questioned as a group.

Jury selection is expected to continue into tomorrow.

Security was also increased at the Federal Courthouse because of the Harrell-Harrison trial. Three agents from the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Protective Service will be stationed at the courthouse until the trial is complete.

Agents walked the sidewalk outside the courthouse to make sure everyone was able to arrive on time for jury selection. The agents are present for all federal cases, and this is the first federal case to be tried in Thomasville in more than five years.

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