Circuit Court Judge Tom Tedeschi will hear motions Friday afternoon as the state and defense prepare for a second attempt at the murder trial of Donald A. Lee, accused in the shooting death of Brittany Marie (Wallace) Andrews, 23, of Bonnie in May 2013.
Tedeschi declared a mistrial on Feb. 7 during the second of three video taped interviews heard by jurors on the third day of the trial.
Benton Police Department detectives were dispatched to the parking lot of 204 E. Main Street known as Vickee"s Flowers and Gifts in response to a victim lying on the pavement on May 17, 2013.
During opening statements, Franklin County Assistant State"s Attorney Phillip Butler identified charges in the case to the jury panel that included two counts of first degree murder, unlawful possession of a weapon and unlawful discharge of a firearm.
Butler said Lee had a rocky relationship with the victim, and had been convicted of domestic battery, first in Perry County on Jan. 1, 2013 and on March 30, 2013 in Steeleville.
Jurors listened to testimony provided by law enforcement before viewing portions of three recorded interviews conducted in the Franklin County Sheriff"s Department by Benton detectives Chris Funkhouser and Christopher Kyle Melvin.
As the first interviewed recording began, Tedeschi explained that portions of the recordings had been redacted, or removed before being published to the jury.
Jurors struggled to hear the second recorded interview, paused after Lee"s attorney Bryan Drew objected to the interrogation tapes, which included a comment that Lee was a convicted felon. That evidence was not supposed to have been introduced.
During each of the interrogation recordings, Lee maintained that Andrews had shot herself.
During Tuesday afternoon"s status hearing, it was apparent all parties are working to eliminate the possibility another jury could be contaminated by the tapes. Butler said work continues to get the tapes redacted per Tedeschi"s instructions. He said the third taped interview would be available on Wednesday. Defense attorney T.J. Parrish said the tapes had been reviewed multiple times.
Tedeschi said he would not hear motions until he personally reviews the redacted tapes prior to Friday"s status hearing. Jury section is slated to begin 9:30 a.m. March 4.