Originally created 04/24/98

Jury selected for McClure trial



BARNWELL, S.C. -- David McClure Jr. bragged that he was planning to kill his father and his father's girlfriend, Solicitor Barbara Morgan told jurors Thursday.

"Not only did he tell (friends) about it, he prepared," Ms. Morgan said.

Mr. McClure, 20, is charged with two murders in the stabbing deaths of his father, David McClure Sr., 39, and Donna Fitzpatrick, 31.

The couple were found inside their Church Street home in Williston on Jan. 8, 1996. The younger McClure was arrested in February at the Set Free Christian Discipleship Ranch, a drug rehabilitation center in San Bernardino, Calif.

Twelve jurors and two alternates were selected Thursday morning in Barnwell County General Sessions Court. The state began its case with testimony from Ms. Fitzpatrick's ex-husband Gary, who became concerned when no one answered the door or the telephone. Other witnesses included Williston Police Chief Roger Kaney and State Law Enforcement Division agent Paul LaRosa III.

Attorney Walter Bedingfield, one of Mr. McClure's two lawyers, all but conceded that his client can't deny what happened.

But Mr. Bedingfield told jurors it was the question "why" that he can't explain. He promised jurors would hear from psychiatrists who would try to give them answers but wouldn't try to say Mr. McClure was insane.

The average person can understand that wanting money moves a criminal to rob a store, but this crime was something else, Mr. Bedingfield said. It's about an ongoing "family matter," he said.

Mr. McClure has an intelligence quotient of 137, the attorney said.

"What a waste do we have here. He's in the top 5 percentile in the United States," Mr. Bedingfield said. "Something is wrong. Something is not right. ... Psychiatrists are going to tell you the boy has some problem. He knows he's done wrong. He wishes it had never happened."

State forensics pathologist Joel Sexton testified that the senior Mr. McClure bled to death after being stabbed more than 30 times. Four of the wounds were fatal, cutting into his heart and lungs, Dr. Sexton testified.

Ms. Fitzpatrick had more than 50 stab wounds. Her throat was slashed four times, each cut slicing to the spine, the pathologist said.

Police believe three kitchen knives found at the home were taken from a knife holder in the kitchen and used in the stabbings. Two knives were found near Ms. Fitzpatrick's body, where she lay face-down in the kitchen.

A butcher knife was found jabbed into the elder Mr. McClure's neck. His body was found lying halfway in a front hall and halfway in the master bedroom.