Jury selection began on Monday for the trial of one of four Pasquotank Correctional Institute inmates who are charged in the death of four prison employees during a failed escape attempt in October, 2017.
Mikel Brady, the first of the four to go on trial, faces four counts of first degree murder in connection with the deaths of Correction Enterprises Manager Veronica Darden, 50, corrections officer Justin Smith, 35, corrections officer Wendy Shannon, 49, and maintenance mechanic Geoffrey Howe, 31.
Monday morning marked the first day of jury selection, and a total of 600 potential jurors from Dare County and neighboring counties are being summoned to the Manteo courthouse where the trial is being conducted.
200 prospective jurors reported to the Dare County Courthouse on Monday morning at 10:30 a.m., and jury selection is expected to continue all week, with an additional 200 potential jurors reporting to the courthouse on Monday afternoon.
To accommodate the influx of potential jurors, the Dare County Court has set up a satellite parking area roughly 1.5 miles away from the courthouse at the College of the Albemarle Roanoke Island Campus located at 205 Uppowoc Avenue in Manteo. Potential jurors will be shuttled to and from the main government building from the off-site parking area.
Brady was in the courtroom for the first day of jury selection, surrounded by five armed police guards. He sat quietly for the first wave of jury selection, and occasionally wrote on a notepad during the proceedings.
Per OBX Today, attorneys for the four defendants requested changing the venue to outside the First Judicial District, but were only granted a move from Pasquotank County to Dare County.
The inmates allegedly attacked the prison workers on Oct. 12, 2017, and set fire to their work area. Darden and Smith died that same day, while Shannon and Howe died days later from their injuries. Another 10 employees and four inmates were hurt during the incident.
Wisezah Buckman, Seth Frazier and Jonathan Monk will have their trials at a later date, also in Dare County Superior Court, with Buckman currently scheduled to be in court next March. Superior Court Judge Tillet is overseeing the current trial of Mikel Brady.