Capital murder case on track for August trial
Published 10:33 pm Wednesday, May 28, 2014
A Troy man’s capital murder case is expected to go to trial in August. Pike County Circuit Judge Thomas Head met with Circuit Clerk Jamie Scarbrough, Assistant District Attorney Jon Folmar and John Carlton Taylor, defense attorney for Marquisse McClaney, Wednesday afternoon. The status conference was held in order to make sure that both sides were still on track for the trial in less than three months.
The first topic of discussion was jury selection. Attorneys agreed on a questionnaire that would be sent to prospective jurors prior to jury selection. Three hundred Pike County residents will answer the questions and report for duty in August. Those who do not turn in their questionnaires prior to jury selection will be placed in the last group to be paneled and most likely have to return to court long after others have been dismissed.
Taylor asked Head to include a warning to jurors about the use of social media prior to the start of the trial.
Head chose not to place a gag order on the trial but warned attorneys to be careful of what was said to the media.
“We just don’t need to be rehashing the facts and having the case tried in the media,” he said.
Head also asked the attorneys if they would be able to present their cases in five days.
“It’s becoming more and more difficult to guess how long a trial will take,” he said.
Taylor said his last capital murder case included 15 witnesses and took three days. The prosecution’s witness list contained more than 20 names.
Evidence was another topic for discussion. Head asked attorneys if there were any known disputes over discovery. Attorneys had no issues to discuss.
McClaney was one of four men charged with capital murder in the 2011 deaths of Mark Kelvin Adams and Carla LeAnn Smilie. Adams and Smilie were found shot to death at Adams’ home in the Needmore community on April 5, 2011.
John Contrel Foster of Troy; Troy Kentrell McClaney of Union Springs; and Brandon Jamal Ryles of Brundidge; also were charged in 2011 with capital murder in the deaths of Adams and Smilie.
Foster and Troy McClaney pleaded guilty to the lesser crime of felony murder in both cases and agreed to testify against the two remaining suspects. Ryles’ case will be heard by Pike County Circuit Judge Shannon Clark in September.