Accused "Mississippi Highway Killer" James Willie's trial underw - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Accused "Mississippi Highway Killer" James Willie's trial underway

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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TUNICA COUNTY, Miss. (FOX13) -

The trial of accused "North Mississippi Highway Killer" James D. Willie got underway Monday with jury selection. The jury was seated by 3 p.m. and is being sequestered.

James D. Willie Was arrested in 2012 after an Arkansas woman reported that he raped and kidnapped her. During the investigation, police found a handgun and the weapon was later matched to two highway murders in north Mississippi.

Law enforcement claims Willie is responsible for the roadside shooting deaths of Tom Schindler in Panola County and three days later for the shooting death of Lori Carswell in Tunica County. Both shootings happened in May of 2012.

Carswell was a Fitzgeralds Tunica Casino worker who had gotten off of work shortly before she was slain near the DeSoto County line.

Willie is accused in the murder Carswell and is also charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of a stolen firearm. He also faces a charge of capital murder in Panola County.

Jury selection took place Monday and security was beefed up at the Tunica County Criminal Court.

Willie entered the north door of the courthouse Monday morning in handcuffs and escorted by Tunica County Sheriff's deputies. In court Willie appeared before Senior Judge Albert Smith. Willie is being represented by attorney Ricky Lewis.

As many as 31 witnesses will be called in the case. There are so many, the judge had to swear them in two groups. The jury was seated at 3 p.m. and is being sequestered.

Tunica Sheriff Casey Hamp and several crime lab investigators are among the witnesses.

The pool of potential jurors whittled down from 200 to 75 by mid-afternoon. Some of the potential jurors were related to Willie or are his friends and many here know the story.

Judge Smith told jurors that they could be sequestered for up to a week or more during the trial.

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(from earlier)

UPDATE 3:15 pm: Jury has been selected in James Willie Murder case in Tunica County Circuit court. Willie accused in Roadside Killing of Lori Carswell.

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(earlier)

Accused "Mississippi Highway Killer" is in court this morning as his capital murder trial gets underway.

James Willie just entered a Tunica, Mississippi courtroom this morning for jury selection.

Willie is accused of gunning down two people along North Mississippi highways in May 2012.

Thomas Schlender was found shot in his car along Interstate 55 near Pope and Lori Carswell was found shot in her car on Highway 713 near Tunica.

During the investigation, officers say they found the murder weapon, a gun, in Willie's girlfriend's car.

FOX13's Tom Dees is in the courtroom.  Tune into the FOX13 News at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. for the latest developments and MyFoxMemphis.com

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