By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer
Jury selection is roughly half finished in the death penalty case of a Portales man accused of killing an elderly Portales couple.
Stanley Bedford, 43, of Portales is charged with two counts each of first-degree murder and aggravated kidnapping and other lesser charges.
As of Wednesday, 100 potential jurors had been questioned, according to District Attorney Matt Chandler. Of those, 32 have been placed on a panel.
About 100 more will be questioned in efforts to make a 60-person panel.
From those jurors, each side will have the opportunity to challenge specific jurors. Defense attorney Gary Mitchell of Ruidoso will have 24 challenges while the state will receive 16.
Twelve jurors and as many as four alternates are needed.
The trial was moved to Albuquerque because of concerns about finding an impartial jury in Roosevelt County.
Chandler said even in Albuquerque, the court is finding many people who have heard of the case through a television or newspaper account. He realized the death-penalty case is high-profile, and basic knowledge was acceptable.
The bodies of Odis Newman, 70, and his wife, Doris Newman, 69, were found March 3, 2005, in the trunk of a burned-out car.
Jerry Fuller of Portales, a co-defendant in the case, pleaded guilty Jan. 17 and was sentence to 127 years in prison.