Jury selection begins in father's murder trial

October 18, 2011 9:57:40 AM PDT
A high profile murder case starts today. Roderick Fountain is accused of killing his three-year-old son who vanished in 2006 and has never been found.

This case has been in the news since 2006 when Kendrick Jackson vanished. Now, five years later, his father, Roderick Fountain, is on trial for the child's murder and his lawyers say they are concerned about pre-trial publicity.

When Roderick Fountain reported his son missing in April 2006, search crews looked for the child for weeks but they never found him. According to the indictment, the 37-year-old father allegedly beat his three-year-old to death and disposed of his body.

Fountain was charged with felony murder while serving time for a weapons possession conviction. Prosecutors say he told someone in the prison that he killed the child.

His defense team said selecting the jury will take longer than usual, because of news coverage. Normally there are just 62 prospective jurors. In this case, there are 75. That's an indicator that they are expecting to have to rule out a large number of people who have already formed an opinion about the defendant.

"All we are doing at this point is trying to get a non-biased, objective jury, one that's not swayed by emotion at this time," said Tyrone Moncriffe, Fountain's defense attorney. "A case of this nature is so high publicity, we want to be sure the jury can keep their minds open as they're looking at the facts as they come through and not be swayed by the media."

The court expects it will take Tuesday and at least part of Wednesday to seat a jury. If convicted of felony murder, Roderick Fountain could be sentenced to life in prison.

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