the republic logo

Jury selection to begin for sentencing of man who killed Sioux Falls woman as part of plot

Share/Save/Bookmark

SIOUX FALLS, South Dakota — The potentially long process to select 15 jurors was scheduled to begin Monday to decide the fate of a man who killed a Sioux Falls woman as part of a cross-country plot to assassinate the president.

The state is seeking the death penalty for James McVay, who pleaded guilty but mentally ill to first-degree murder in the stabbing death of Maybelle Schein. The 72-year-old woman was killed July 2, 2011, as she slept in her home.

The last time Minnehaha County empaneled a jury to decide the penalty in a capital murder case, it took 16 days to qualify jurors.

"Oftentimes, in these death-penalty cases, it takes longer to get a jury than it does to try the case," former State's Attorney Dave Nelson told the Argus Leader (http://argusne.ws/1kBBdvR ).

McVay was arrested in Madison, Wisconsin, hours after the slaying. He told investigators and a television reporter there that he killed Schein and stole her car as part of a plot to drive to Washington, D.C., and assassinate President Barack Obama on a golf course. He also said he would kill again and that he wanted to be put to death.

McVay's attorneys have said he made the statements while he was sleep-deprived, under the influence of drugs and alcohol and influenced by his psychosis.

PHOTO: FILE - This July 7, 2011 file photo shows the home of 75-year-old Maybelle Schein, of Sioux Falls, S.D., who was killed by James McVay as part of a cross-country plot to assassinate the president in July 2011. Jury selection begins Monday, March 17, 2014, in McVay's sentencing hearing. He pleaded guilty but mentally ill to the crime and faces execution. (AP Photo/Argus Leader, Elisha Page, File)  NO SALES
FILE - This July 7, 2011 file photo shows the home of 75-year-old Maybelle Schein, of Sioux Falls, S.D., who was killed by James McVay as part of a cross-country plot to assassinate the president in July 2011. Jury selection begins Monday, March 17, 2014, in McVay's sentencing hearing. He pleaded guilty but mentally ill to the crime and faces execution. (AP Photo/Argus Leader, Elisha Page, File) NO SALES

He pleaded guilty but mentally ill in December 2011.

Jurors will be questioned on paper, in groups and as individuals about their familiarity with the case and their feelings on the morality of the death penalty. Judge Peter Lieberman said the goal will be to qualify 59 potential jurors, then pare the list to 12 jurors and three alternates.

Potential jurors were to fill out forms Monday. The lawyers — three for each side — will review the answers Tuesday. Questioning will begin Wednesday.

The final panel will decide if McVay is eligible for the death penalty under South Dakota law. His lawyers have argued that McVay's status as mentally ill should disqualify him from a death sentence.

If jurors agree, McVay will be sentenced to life in prison without parole. If jurors disagree with the defense, they then must decide whether to issue a death sentence. The decision must be unanimous.


Information from: KELO-TV, http://www.keloland.com

Think your friends should see this? Share it with them!

All comments are moderated before posting. Your email address must be verified with Disqus in order for your comment to appear.
View our commenting guidelines and FAQ's here.

Story copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Feedback, Corrections and Other Requests: AP welcomes feedback and comments from readers. Send an email to info@ap.org and it will be forwarded to the appropriate editor or reporter.


We also have more stories about:
(click the phrases to see a list)

Category:

Follow The Republic:

All content copyright ©2014 The Republic, a division of Home News Enterprises unless otherwise noted.
All rights reserved. Privacy policy.