Needmore murder trial begins Monday

Published 8:39 pm Friday, August 8, 2014

After a three years and just over four months, the capital murder trial for Marquis McClaney will begin on Monday.

McClaney is being charged with three counts of capital murder following an April 2011 incident in the Needmore community area. McClaney, along with John Contrel Foster, Troy Kentrell McClaney and Brandon Jamal Ryles, were arrested after Mark Kelvin Adams, 53, and Carla Leann Smilie, 22, were found dead at Adams’ residence in Needmore. The four were originally charged with two counts of capital murder, but after a grand jury trial one count was added for the killing of two or more persons, District Attorny Tom Anderson said in a previous interview.

The Troy Police Department initially stated robbery was a plausible motive for the murder.

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Foster and Troy Kentrell McClaney pleaded guilty in February to felony murder and agreed to testify in Ryles’ and McClaney’s trials.

Pike County Circuit Judge Thomas Head met with the potential jury Friday afternoon and named 15 jurors for the case. The case will have 12 regular jurors and three alternates. Circuit Court Judge Thomas Head said in Friday’s meeting with the appointed jury that the need for three alternates was a contingency plan.

“Death is different,” Head said. “We are operating at a heightened sense of caution.”

Head also warned jurors of a chance for sequestration in the event that the jury was tainted by outside sources or could not abide by the rules set before them.

District Attorney Jon Folmar and Anderson were unable to comment on the trial after receiving a gag order from Head.

The trial will begin Monday, Aug. 11 in the Pike County Court House.