KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — The process is underway to find a jury to decide the fate of the Kalamazoo shooting rampage suspect.
Jason Dalton, 48, of Cooper Township, is charged with six counts of murder, two counts of attempted murder and eight counts of felony use of a firearm.
The jury selection process started Thursday with the judge screening potential jurors in his chambers to begin narrowing down the pool of about 200. That questioning was expected to continue Friday.
Starting Monday, attorneys will question potential jurors in open court to decide which will be seated. The goal is to make sure they are coming in with open minds, unbiased by personal opinions or news coverage. Though the shooting spree dominated headlines after it happened nearly three years ago, prosecutors say they don’t think they’ll have any trouble finding 14 people (12 jurors and two alternates) who are impartial.
Opening statements are expected as early as Tuesday, and the trial is slated to last two weeks. 24 Hour News 8 will be livestreaming the trial, including jury selection Monday.
The last few times Dalton appeared in court, he either had an outburst or attended via video under heavy guard. The court administrator said there will be no special arrangements made for his appearance in court this time, but that security has a plan in place in case he has another outburst or begins to act erratically.
He is accused of shooting eight people, killing six of them, at three locations over the course of about five hours on Feb. 20, 2016.
Tiana Carruthers, who was shot multiple times near her Richland Township home, was seriously hurt but survived. Father and son Rich and Tyler Smith were gunned down a few hours later in Kalamazoo. Mary Lou Nye, Mary Jo Nye, Judy Brown and Barbara Hawthorne were killed in the parking lot of the Texas Township Cracker Barrel. The 14-year-old girl with them, Abigail Kopf, was shot in the head and nearly died, but pulled through.
Dalton, who took Uber fares in between shooting, later told police he was possessed by his Uber app and that it told him who to shoot.
24 Hour News 8 will have crews at the trial every day. Stay with us on air and online for the latest as it happens.