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WWAY: Payne representing Defendant Montey Murray,
April 07, 2015


BOLIVIA, NC (WWAY) -- Jury selection for a Brunswick County man accused of killing a toddler will continue from the current pool of potential jurors, despite his attorney trying to get the pool thrown out.

Judge Ola Lewis today denied a motion by attorney James Payne to start over the jury selection for Montey Murray, 29. He is charged with the 2012 murder of Jaronn McAllister, 3.

Payne's motion came after an incident yesterday in which several jurors tried to start conversations with a WWAY reporter outside the courtroom.

WWAY's Alexa Block was waiting for the courtroom to reopen yesterday morning when a group of jurors playing cards in the hall outside suggested she do a story on them because of the way they were passing time on the third day they'd spent at the Brunswick County Courthouse. Block says a woman who had entered the courthouse behind her and sat down near the group of jurors playing cards then asked her if there was a fund set up for McAllister's family where she could donate the money she made for jury duty. Block says another man said he wanted to do the same thing. Block did not continue the conversation and left moments later after getting a phone call from the station sending her to another story.

When Block returned to the courthouse in the afternoon, Judge Lewis asked her to approach the bench and explain what happened after it had been reported to a bailiff that someone had seen Block and the jurors talking. When there was some confusion about what exactly had happened, the judge asked Block to be sworn in and recount her story for the record. Payne, concerned about jurors who may have already made up their mind about the case and possibly discussed their opinion with others, then told Judge Lewis he wanted a new jury pool.

Payne made a formal motion to start over this morning, but Lewis denied the motion.

Court officials have said Block did nothing wrong.

So far seven jurors have been seated. The case still needs seven more jurors. That selection will continue from the current pool. If that runs out, another pool of jurors is available Monday.