Russell County jury selected to hear Barbour County capital murder case

Russell County jury selected to hear Barbour County capital murder case

PHENIX CITY, AL (WTVM) - A Barbour County capital murder trial is expected to start Tuesday morning in Judge Albert Johnson Sr's courtroom in Phenix City.

The Alabama Supreme Court appointed Johnson to preside over Willie Dickerson's case after Barbour County Circuit Judge Burt Smithart recused himself from the case to avoid the appearance of impropriety, according to the Dothan Eagle newspaper.  

The move was surrounded by accusations made against Smithart concerning the criminal charges against Dickerson.

The jury was selected Monday evening from a pool of 60 potential jurors as the defendant sat in court dressed in a white shirt, tie and dark pants.

When asked, if police have the wrong man, Dickerson responded "yes they do," while deputies escorted him out of the courtroom for a lunch break. The 44-year-old man from Dale County, Ala. is accused of killing Willie Pugh, 26.

Pugh's body was found in a wooded area on Sutton Dairy Road days after he was last seen on January, 14, 2012.  The victim's blue Chevy Malibu was also located near an abandoned trailer.

The initial crime scene was at Dickerson's mobile home where detectives sifted through the charred remains. Investigators reportedly collected evidence from inside that may be linked to the case. That evidence has not yet been revealed and it's unclear if it will be presented during the trial.

The jury will not hear evidence on a pending arson charge against Dickerson in the capital murder case. The trial is scheduled to begin Tuesday at 9 a.m. at the Russell County Courthouse.

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