WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — The jury selection process has been delayed even further in the capital murder trial of the first of four defendants accused of the robbery-turned-fatal shooting of a Wichita Falls dance instructor in 2020.
Zaeveion Denson, 21, of Wichita Falls, is charged with engaging in organized crime capital murder for his alleged role in the death of Carolyn High, 65, of Wichita Falls, after she was found deceased in the driveway of a residence on Cumberland Avenue in January 2020.
If convicted, Denson faces an automatic life sentence. Since he was under the age of 18 when the alleged crime was committed, he will be eligible for parole after serving 40 years of that sentence.
Voir dire proceedings continued on Wednesday morning, August 9, 2023, at the Ray Climer Exhibit Hall in the MPEC. The panel of prospective jurors was tasked to arrive at 9 a.m. on Wednesday by 78th District Court Judge Meredith Kennedy.
However, not all of the 100 Wichita County residents who were summoned for jury service showed up on Wednesday morning.
A prospective juror failed to arrive, and all attempts to contact the individual by courthouse officials were unsuccessful.
According to courthouse officials, deputies with the Wichita County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to the prospective juror’s residence. Deputies said he was not there, and said family members told them he hadn’t come home the previous night.
Judge Kennedy spoke with the prospective juror’s employer, who said they weren’t at work. The individual’s employer told Judge Kennedy their attempts to contact the potential juror were also unsuccessful.
Judge Kennedy asked counsel for both the prosecution and the defense if they had any objections to proceeding with voir dire without the missing juror. Dobie Kosub, Wichita County’s First Assistant District Attorney and lead prosecutor, said the state had no objections. However, Denson’s defense team said they wished to wait for this juror to arrive.
By 11 a.m. on Wednesday, the prospective juror had not arrived at the MPEC and any attempts to contact or locate the individual were unsuccessful. Judge Kennedy then dismissed the 99 other members of the jury pool to lunch.
The delay caused by the prospective juror’s absence further extends the already lengthy voir dire process even further, moving into the afternoon of the third day since proceedings began on Monday, August 7, 2023.
Voir dire proceedings are set to continue at the MPEC on Wednesday, August 9, at 1:30 p.m., where a decision will be made by Judge Kennedy regarding how they are to move forward with a missing potential juror.
This is a developing story. Stick with Texoma’s Homepage for updates as more information becomes available. All individuals charged with a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.