New Trial Brings New Charges

By: Tim Saunders
By: Tim Saunders

There are new charges and a new trial for a man accused of killing two JMU students in 1996.

Brent Simmons is already serving two consecutive 20-year terms on state charges related to that crime. This time, he faces the death penalty on federal charges.

Jury selection for Simmons' trial began Monday. Ninety-four potential jurors were questioned, all from southwest Virginia, where the trial has been moved because of intense media coverage in the valley. Most of the people questioned have never heard of Brent Simmons or his case.

Potential jurors were also asked about their feelings on interracial violence and interracial relationships, since the defendant is black and the two victims were white.

Ninety-one more people will be questioned Tuesday. Twelve jurors and two alternates will be selected Wednesday. Simmons trial is expected to last two weeks.

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