400 letters sent to potential jurors
By John W. Goodwin Jr.
The capital murder trial of a Youngstown man charged in the shooting death of a sleeping 8-year-old East Side boy inches closer, with letters sent to potential jurors this week.
Shawn Wilson is set to go on trial for aggravated murder with death- penalty specifications Jan. 14. Wilson, 21, is being held in the Mahoning County jail on a $5 million bond.
The case will be tried before Judge R. Scott Krichbaum of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court
Bob Jackson, Mahoning County jury commissioner, said more than 400 letters have been sent to potential jurors in the upcoming trial. He said the goal is to get more than 100 people in for questioning from defense attorneys and prosecutors as potential jurors in the case.
“Out of the 400, we will probably end up with 125 when you factor in those qualified to be excluded under the law and those letters deemed undeliverable. ... Those 125 people will be the prospective jurors,” he said.
That panel of prospective jurors from across the county will be questioned in open court by prosecutors and defense attorneys. There also will be an individual questioning session where only the attorneys, judge and prospective juror are present.
There will be 12 jurors and two alternate jurors selected to hear the case.
Bryce Linebaugh, 8, was killed in the early hours of Aug. 20 as he slept in a bunk bed at his Maplewood Court home in Rockford Village on the city’s East Side. Police say Wilson indiscriminately shot into the occupied structure while positioned outside the house.
Police recovered what is believed to be the murder weapon in a wooded area next to Wilson’s Browning Avenue residence shortly after the shooting.
Officials have said Wilson told an individual with whom he had a disagreement that he would come back and shoot up a house. They contend Wilson did just that, leading to the death of Linebaugh.
City prosecutors, during Wilson’s initial arraignment, also pointed to evidence that Wilson tried to hide the firearm, wiped down his car and washed his clothes in an attempt to cover his crime.
The Jan. 14 start date for the trial is pretty much etched in stone. Judge Krichbaum said the chances that the trial date will be postponed are nil.
“This is my policy to move these cases as efficiently as possible,” he said. “This will not be continued.”