Jury selection begins in Sizemore trial

KEVIN HARVISON | Staff photoDevin Sizemore walks prepares to enter the Pittsburg County Courthouse on Monday, where jury trial selection later began in the first-degree murder case filed against him in the 2016 death of his toddler daughter, Emily Sizemore.

McALESTER, Okla. — Jury selection began Monday in the murder trial of Devin Sizemore, set for this week at the Pittsburg County Courthouse in McAlester — with several potential jurors excused following the first round of questioning.

Sizemore is accused of killing his toddler daughter, Emily Sizemore, on July 15, 2016. Law enforcement officers testified during the preliminary hearing in the case that they found the child floating that night in a pond in rural Krebs, with Devin Sizemore standing nearby in the pond water.

Devin Sizemore is also standing trial on a second felony charge accusing him of assault and battery on a police officer for allegedly striking then-Krebs police officer Jack Suter after officers arrived at the scene. Sizemore has pleaded innocent to both charges.

"We do anticipate this trial going from two to seven days," said Associate District Judge Tim Mills, who is presiding over the court proceedings. "I do not anticipate this trial going any longer than that, but there is that possibility," Mills added.

District 18 District Attorney Chuck Sullivan and Assistant District Attorney Amanda Self are prosecuting the case, while McAlester attorneys Mike Miller and Matthew Sheets comprising Sizemore's defense team.

The attorneys listened as the names of 33 prospective jurors were called out around 10:30 a.m. Monday. They were selected from an initial jury pool consisting of approximately 52 individuals.

As Mills began an initial round of questioning, several potential jurors said they knew defense attorney Miller, but they all said they thought they could still deliver a fair and impartial verdict. After Mills moved on, several more jurors raised their hands when asked if any of the attorneys or their law firms had ever done any work on their behalf.

Again, Mills moved on after the prospective jurors who had answered in the affirmative said they could still render an impartial verdict.

When Mills asked if any of the prospective jurors had heard or read anything about the case, seven of them raised their hands. Mills called them each before the bench for individual questioning out of earshot of the other potential jurors. As a result, two of the seven potential jurors were excused. Another potential juror had been excused earlier, when it was established that she lived in McIntosh County. She said that although she lives in the Texanna area, she still gets her mail at her mother's house in Pittsburg County.

More jurors raised their hands when asked if they know any of the upcoming trial witnesses who names were included on the lengthy list of witnesses expected to testify at some point in the proceedings.

Mills called a lunch break around that time and told the prospective jurors to report back in the afternoon so the jury selection process could continue.

The trial is finally getting under way after the trial date was continued five times for various reasons. The Sept. 10 trial date marked the sixth time the trial has been scheduled to be heard in Pittsburg County District Court.

Contact James Beaty at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com

Contact James Beaty by email at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com.