Murder trial’s jury selection still ongoing

Published 9:16 pm Thursday, February 13, 2020

The capital murder trial of a Lincoln County man is likely to begin Saturday if attorneys can agree on 12 jurors and three alternates today.

Lincoln County District Attorney Dee Bates is seeking the death penalty for Willie Cory Godbolt, 37, who pleaded not guilty to four counts of capital murder, four counts of murder, one count of attempted murder, two counts of kidnapping and one count of armed robbery.

Opening statements may be presented Saturday morning at the Pike County Courthouse in Magnolia, said Beverly Pettigrew Kraft, public information officer for the Mississippi court system.

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Kraft said 500 people were summoned for jury selection. Of the 206 who showed up in court Monday, 75 were excused during questioning. More were excused Tuesday and Wednesday although that number was not available.

Jurors and alternates will be taken about 285 miles south to hear the trial at a courthouse in Magnolia, the county seat of Pike County. They will be sequestered through the duration of the trial, Kraft said.

Judge David Strong of the Mississippi 14th Circuit Court District is presiding over the trial.

Godbolt has remained in custody in Copiah County since his arrest on May 28, 2017, hours after the shootings. He is in DeSoto County this week for the jury selection.