Jury selection to resume Tuesday in death penalty case

Freedom Newspapers

Jury selection won’t be completed until at least Tuesday in the death penalty case of a Portales man accused of killing an elderly Portales couple.

Stanley Bedford, 43, of Portales is charged with two counts each of first-degree murder, aggravated kidnapping and evidence tampering, and one count of possession of stolen property.

The court so far has interviewed 180 people and has a panel of about 52 potential jurors, according to District Attorney Matt Chandler. He and defense attorney Gary Mitchell are aiming for a panel of 60 potential jurors.

“We believe one more day of sequestered qualifications will get us a panel of 60,” Chandler said.

From those jurors, each side will have the opportunity to challenge specific jurors. Mitchell will have 24 challenges while the state will receive 16.

Twelve jurors and as many as four alternates are needed. Chandler said picking a jury from the panel should take about half a day, so the hope is to fill out the panel Tuesday morning.

Chandler said opening arguments are expected to start Wednesday.

The trial was moved to Albuquerque after Chandler and Mitchell agreed on the difficulty of finding an impartial jury in Roosevelt County.