FEBRUARY 13, 2006 -- Darrell Maness sits quietly in the Columbus County Courthouse Monday as Judge Jack Hooks reads the long list of charges against him. Foremost among those charges is first degree murder. The Burlington man is accused of murdering Boiling Spring Lakes Police Officer Mitch Prince during a traffic stop last year. Prince left behind a wife and two children.
The jury is being chosen from Columbus County residents because of all the publicity the case has received in Brunswick County. The lawyers and judge are whittling down a jury pool of more than 300. Once the final panel is selected, they'll be transported everyday to Bolivia for the trial itself.
The state is seeking the death penalty against Maness. On the first day of jury selection Monday, Maness' family watched as Judge Hooks divided potential jurors into panels. He instructed them on how a capital trial works and asked them not to pay attention to the media.
Princes' wife was not in court Monday, although she is expected to attend the trial.
Lawyers won't begin questioning potential jurors until Wednesday. The jury selection process is expected to last two weeks.