Outside jury to hear capital murder case

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, January 22, 2003

The capital murder trial of one of two men accused in the June18, 2002, shooting of Brookhaven man is planned for the week ofJune 9 and a jury from another county will hear the case, JudgeKeith Starrett ruled Tuesday.

Starrett heard a variety of defense motions in the case againstCearic Barnes, 18, of 830 Beauregard St., who is charged in theshooting death of Marvin Durr. Durr’s body was found inside hisburned car on South Washington Street outside the city limits lastJune 18.

Among the motions granted was a request for a change ofvenue.

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“There’s been a lot of publicity, and I’m going to grant themotion for change of venue,” Starrett said.

However, the judge it would likely be a “reverse change ofvenue.”

In those cases, instead of the trial being moved to anothercounty, a jury from another county would be brought to LincolnCounty and hear the trial. Starrett said he would be checkingnearby counties and court dockets before selecting a county fromwhich to pick a jury.

“I’m very happy with the rulings today,” said Bill Barnett,Barnes’ attorney. “We’re very pleased with results of the motionshearings.”

A number of other routine defense motions were also granted.Those involved issues such as jury sequestering, evidencenotification and adjourning the trial at a reasonable hour.

District Attorney Danny Smith said it was premature for thejudge to rule on some other motions, such admissibility of Barnes’arrest records, a juvenile record and other prior “bad acts.”Starrett reserved his ruling on those motions.

Barnes faces the possibility of the death sentence if convicted,although Marvin Durr’s family has indicated no desire to see thatpursued. The Rev. Jerry Durr, his wife Frances, and other familymembers spoke briefly with Smith before leaving the courtroomfollowing Tuesday’s hearing.

Jerrard T. Cook, a co-defendant in the case, pleaded guilty tocapital murder in November. A sentencing hearing for Cook, 17, of2123 Madison Road, has not held, but the only sentence that may begiven is life without the possibility of parole.

Cook is expected to testify in the trial against Barnes.