Judge Decides Whether Death Penalty An Option In Brooks Trial - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Judge Decides Whether Death Penalty An Option In Brooks Trial

David 'Bucky' Brooks David 'Bucky' Brooks

By David McArthur

(SHEPHERDSVILLE, January 8th, 2003, 8 p.m.) -- Before jury selection in the murder trial of David "Bucky" Brooks could begin, a judge had to first decide if the death penalty would be an option if Brooks is convicted of killing 17-year old Jessica Dishon. Jury selection for the capital case could take much longer. WAVE 3's David McArthur has the latest.

On Tuesday, Judge Thomas Walsh ruled that the death penalty should remain an option if Brooks is convicted in Dishon's murder. That ruling means that attorneys on both sides will be more selective in seating a jury.

Jessica Dishon was abducted from the driveway of her Bullitt County home the morning of September 10, 1999. Her body was found 17 days later about seven miles away. She had been beaten and strangled.

Brooks was arrested and charged with killing Dishon after a grand jury indicted him on January 18, 2001. He is charged with murder, kidnapping, tampering with physical evidence and complicity.

The Brooks and Dishons are neighbors.

Before beginning the jury selection process Tuesday, attorneys questioned one more witness about whether or not Brooks should be eligible for the death penalty if he is found guilty. The defense says Brooks has an IQ that meets the threshold for mental retardation, which would exclude him from receiving a death sentence.

Arleta Walker, a social worker who once intervened to protect the Brooks' three children testified that their mother wasn't caring for them properly. "I'm not sure what she was feeding the children," Walker told the court. "But I know that she was giving the cereal with Big Red on it instead of milk. She didn't like milk, so she didn't put milk with it."

The issue of pre-trial publicity could still be a factor in the case. The defense has previously requested a change of venue, but the judge decided to seat a jury first before denying or granting that request.

There are about 147 potential jurors, and it could take the rest of this week and part of next before a jury is seated.

Judge Walsh has issued a gag order in the case, barring attorneys from talking about it. Attorneys for the prosecution and defense have also instructed family members not to talk to the media.

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Online Reporter: David McArthur

Online Producer: Michael Dever