By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer
ALBUQUERQUE — The court has reached its stated goal in a jury pool for the trial of a man accused of killing an elderly Portales couple. However, all sides involved feel they’d be best served with one more day of selection.
There are 61 potential jurors on a panel to try Stanley Bedford, 43, of Portales, on two charges each of first-degree murder and aggravated kidnapping, in addition to other lesser charges.
The charges are in connection with the deaths of Odis and Doris Newman of Portales.
Bedford may face the death penalty if convicted.
Lawyers had set 60 as the target for potential jurors before challenges cut the jury down to 12 jurors and four alternates. Now the hope is for a few more alternates. District Attorney Matt Chandler said 20 more jury candidates will be questioned this morning.
Chandler said opening arguments would begin Thursday.
Neither Mitchell nor Chandler are worried about the long jury selection taking away from the trial.
“I figured it would take about four weeks,” defense attorney Gary Mitchell of Ruidoso said. “They should have their stuff done within six good, hard days.”
Mitchell said he couldn’t say how long his defense would take, because much of it depends on what the prosecution does.
Chandler said in a long case like this, extra time is budgeted for small delays.
The bodies of the Newmans were found March 3, 2005, in the trunk of a burned-out car.