Jury selection begins in trial of Auburn football player's 2014 murder

Jury selection begins in trial of Auburn football player's 2014 murder
Published: Dec. 4, 2017 at 1:31 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 4, 2017 at 6:21 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn
Markale Hart. (Source: Auburn Police Department)
Markale Hart. (Source: Auburn Police Department)
Jakell Mitchell. (Source: Auburn Athletics)
Jakell Mitchell. (Source: Auburn Athletics)

OPELIKA, AL (WTVM) - The trial for a man accused of the 2014 murder of an Auburn football player began Monday.

Twenty-five-year-old Markale Hart was arrested and charged with murder three years ago.

According to Lee County deputies, Hart is responsible for shooting and killing 18-year-old Jakell Mitchell. Mitchell was a freshman running back when he was shot at an off-campus apartment in December of 2014.

Hart admitted to shooting Mitchell but claims it was in self-defense.

Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes tells us the jury selection process is taking more time because of the publicity of the events leading up to the trial.

Almost every juror admitted to hearing about this case before Monday. The prosecution and defense are looking for people who will listen to facts rather than what they've heard outside the courtroom.

Mitchell's family told us last year during a hearing, they are hoping for justice in the case.

"I feel really good about it, I feel like we are going to have some justice served here. It is still hard, it is hard every day, we have to go through it as a family and we are getting through it as a family but it is hard," says Jakell Mitchell's aunt Shakonda Mitchell.

The prosecution says they believe that Jakell Mitchell was not the instigator of the case and the evidence will prove just that.

Opening statements in the case are expected to happen Tuesday.

Copyright 2017 WTVM. All rights reserved. | For more news, download the WTVM app here