Judge orders south Ga. murder trial moved

Too many potential jurors know those involved, he decides

JESUP, Ga. -- As the sixth day of jury selection began, a judge halted the death penalty trial of a Wayne County man charged with killing his former wife and her parents nearly four years ago.

James Ralph "J.R." Spell, 40, of Jesup is charged with murdering Amanda Harrison Spell, 24, and her parents, Jeaney Mason Harrison, 49, and Gary Aldine Harrison, 54. He faces the death penalty or a life sentence if convicted of even one of the killings.

Jury selection began Monday in Jesup, the Wayne County seat, but ended before noon today because too many prospective jurors knew too much about the case.

Superior Court Judge Stephen Scarlett granted a change of venue because more than 30 percent of the 300 Wayne County residents in the jury pool were related to either the Harrisons or Spell, or already had formed an opinion about the case after hearing about the triple slaying.

Scarlett ordered the trial moved, with Brunswick 40 miles south, among the possible new sites. If the trial is brought to Brunswick, then Glynn County jurors could be selected beginning May 2.

 

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