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Jury Picked in School Shooting Case

June 9, 1998

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) _ A jury of 15 people was selected Tuesday for the trial of the 17-year-old boy accused of killing two classmates in a shooting at his high school.

Circuit Judge Samac Richardson seated the panel of nine females and six males, which includes three alternates.

About 80 people were questioned Tuesday afternoon before the jury was selected. Opening statements were scheduled for Wednesday morning.

Authorities say Luke Woodham walked into a crowded commons area at Pearl High School on Oct. 1, pulled a rifle from beneath his trench coat and began firing at classmates. A girl he had once dated and her friend were killed; seven others were wounded.

His lawyers say Woodham is mentally ill, easily manipulated and can’t be held responsible for his actions.

The shootings in Pearl, a bedroom community of about 16,000 just east of the state capital of Jackson, were the first in a series of high-profile school attacks around the nation.

The trial is the second for Woodham in two weeks. On Friday, he was convicted of stabbing and bludgeoning his mother to death only hours before the school attack.

Woodham was sentenced to life in prison.

Convictions in the school shootings would bring at least two additional life terms.

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