Jury selection is scheduled to start today in the murder trial of a Northwood man accused of killing his girlfriend nearly two years ago.
Forty-one-year-old Tyrone Washington is charged with first-degree murder in the August 2013 death of 30-year-old Justina Smith, whose body was found in Swensrud Park.
Washington’s trial was moved from Worth to Webster County after an approval of a change of venue motion stating concerns about how the small percentage of African-Americans living in Worth County would hinder Washington’s ability to receive a fair trial.
Washington was scheduled to be tried this past May, but when 112 potential jurors showed up for jury selection, 111 identified themselves as white with the other person stating they were Native American. Washington’s attorney Charles Kenville made the motion that the entire jury panel be stricken, with District Judge Colleen Weiland approving Kenville’s request.
If convicted of first-degree murder, Washington would face the rest of his life in prison without the opportunity for parole.
(Reporting by Bob Fisher, KRIB, Mason City)