Ricardo Strozier Trial: Defense argues Grand Jury unconstitutional

By Sara Belsole

COLUMBUS, GA – Attorneys were back in the courtroom Tuesday morning for day two of pre-trial motions in the capital murder case surrounding the death of a local disk jockey in 2010.

Ricardo Strozier is facing the death penalty for allegedly killing Christian radio DJ Heath Jackson.

Tuesday, Judge Gil McBride heard arguments on the defense's motion that the Grand Jury that indicted Strozier was unconstitutional.

The defense says the Grand Jury pool was based on ten-year-old census data and therefore over-represented White citizens and under-represented Black and Hispanic citizens on the Grand Jury.

The pool was picked using a process called “forced balancing,” where jury commissioners manually balance the list of 4,802 grand jurors to make sure the pool accurately represented Muscogee County's population. Officials say because they began putting together the Grand Jury pool that indicted Strozier in February 2010, the most recent census data available was the 2000 census.

Defense attorneys argued the 2010 census data came out just days after the pool was finalized in the spring on 2011 and if the State had waited, a better representation of the population would have been depicted. The attorneys also say by that time, a new “more random” state jury selection process was available.

The State says since the jury process was started 13 months before it was finalized, officials used the correct census data; and even if the 2010 data was used, the numbers would be the same.

Judge McBride says he will rule on this motion Wednesday morning. Both sides will reconvene Wednesday for one more day of motions, then return for three days in February to finish the more than 100 motions.

There is no set date for the trial to begin.

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