TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Monday morning marked the beginning of three straight days for jury selection to begin the trial of William Davis, a former CHRISTUS nurse accused of murdering patients.
Davis, 36, is facing the death penalty in a case where prosecutors allege that he intentionally blew air in the arterial lines of patients at the CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Louis and Peaches Owen Heart Hospital.
Four patients were killed and several others were severely injured. Davis was arrested back in 2018 after an investigation by Tyler Police and the hospital itself.
More than 2,000 people are taken in six different groups Monday through Wednesday. Prosecutors and defense attorneys will need to narrow it down to 14 people: 12 jurors and two alternates.
Judge Jackson opened the proceedings by thanking everyone for their important duty to the judicial process and emphasized that no one speak to anyone about their involvement in the case until they were either cut from service or the trial ended.
In just the first pool of potential jurors, dozens of people said that they had heard about the case from either friends or news coverage.
Jackson emphasized that they must put aside those feelings and only focus on the evidence presented in the trial.
Due to it being a capital murder trial, jurors are required to fill out a 25-page questionnaire. It covers “very personal” questions about each juror’s past and the emotional toll a death penalty case can have.
Jackson said that the questions were done on paper so that the respondents did not have to answer such private questions in front of hundreds of other potential jurors.
He also explained that Davis, who was present in the jury room during the proceedings, is well within his rights to not testify at his own trial and that the U.S. Constitution stipulates that jurors could not hold this against him during deliberations.
Jurors will be interviewed individually in a process known as voir dire with Jackson and both sets of attorneys to go over the questionnaires and determine if they are fit to serve. That process will run from August 16 through September 1.
The trial for Davis is scheduled to begin in seven weeks on September 28.