Opening Statements Begin Tuesday In Walters Murder TrialPosted: Updated:
All 12 jurors were seated Monday in the Justin Walters murder trial in Jefferson County Court.
Hundreds of people were called as potential jurors. But in only a few hours, nine men and three women were picked to hear the case. Three alternates - all women - were also picked.
"This is a case that's gotten a lot of press attention and a lot of notoriety in Jefferson County and the surrounding counties so, I, having had some years of experience in doing this, was relatively surprised with the number of jurors we were able to get in round number 1 and round number 2," said Ed Narrow, Walters' attorney.
Walters, an Army veteran, is accused of shooting and killing his wife, 27 year old Nichole Walters, and 36 year old state Trooper Joel Davis, who was answering a domestic violence call at the Walters home outside Theresa in July 2017
Walters was indicted on 55 counts. The charges include murder, attempted murder, assault, and criminal possession of a weapon.
The judge told potential jurors Monday morning that he expects the trial to last at least until next Wednesday, but jurors should plan for two weeks.
There are 46 people on the list of potential witnesses, although District Attorney Kristyna Mills says she plans to call about 20. On that list are a number of law enforcement officers and first responders, as well as Rebecca Finkle. Finkle lived on the Walters' property and was shot and injured the night Davis and Nichole Walters were killed.
On Monday, potential jurors answered questions regarding how they felt about whether they thought people under the influence of alcohol and medication were responsible for their actions.
Narrow says he won's dispute that Walters was behind the shootings, but that he plans to argue that Walters has a mental disease or defect and could not form the criminal intent necessary to commit the crimes that were charged.
Narrow said Walters served two tours in Afghanistan and as a result suffered mental health issues.
He says he will call a psychiatrist to testify on Walters behalf.
"Dr. (Stephen) Price is going to give his expert opinion after evaluating Mr. Walters at the Jefferson County Jail and we're hopeful the jurors will consider all the evidence in this case and come to a fair verdict," said Narrow.
Walters waved to a couple in the back of the courtroom. They are Walters' mother and step-father, who are in Watertown from Michigan for the trial, Narrow said.
Opening statements from the prosecution and defense will take place Tuesday morning.