The trial in Dare County of a second inmate accused of murdering four workers during a 2017 failed escape attempt at Pasquotank Correctional Institution has been delayed.
District Attorney Andrew Womble has agreed to a request by attorneys representing Wisezah D. Buckman for a continuance, but the reason for the request was not released, according to a report in The Daily Advance.
Womble said a new trial date has not been set for the 32-year-old Buckman, who was serving out a sentence of 32 years at the state prison outside Elizabeth City at the time of the escape attempt for killing a man in Charlotte in 2014.
Jury selection was scheduled to begin Monday in Dare County Superior Court, which was chosen for the trials of the four defendants in the attacks because the venue was outside Elizabeth City but still in the state’s First Judicial District.
Dare County Clerk of Superior Court Dean Tolson announced late Friday afternoon changes to the schedule for potential jurors:
There are currently three jury pools scheduled for the week of the Monday March 2, 2020 trial session in Dare County Criminal Superior Court. Jury Pool #1 was summoned to report on Monday March 2, Jury Pool #2 was summoned to report on Tuesday March 3, and Jury Pool #3 was summoned to report on Wednesday March 4. Please take notice of the following reporting instructions for each jury pool as instructions have changed.
Jury Pool #1
All jurors who have been summoned to report on Monday March 2, 2020 whose last name begins with the letter A through the letter N are to report to the Dare County Justice Center Jury Assembly Room at 11:00 am. All jurors whose last name begins with the letter O through the letter Z have been deferred for service at a later date to be determined by the Court and are not to report. All jurors with the last name beginning with the letter O through Z will receive a new Summons in the mail with the date and time to report for service.
Jury Pool #2
All jurors in Jury pool #2 have had their jury service deferred to another date by the Court and are not to report on Tuesday March 3, 2020. You will receive a new Summons in the mail with the date and time to report for service.
Jury Pool #3
All jurors in Jury pool #3 have had their jury service deferred to another date by the Court and are not to report on Wednesday March 4, 2020. You will receive a new Summons in the mail with the date and time to report for service.
The Dare County Clerk of Courts Office will get the new Summons out as soon as we receive the new court date. Thank you for your service.
Buckman could face the death penalty for the first degree murder of Correction Enterprises Manager Veronica Darden, 50; corrections officers Justin Smith, 35, and Wendy Shannon, 49; and maintenance mechanic Geoffrey Howe, 31.
Mikel Brady, who was considered the ring leader of the brutal attacks on Oct. 12, 2017, was found guilty last fall of murder and sentenced to die.
Hundreds of potential jurors were called to the Dare County Judicial Center during the selection process, which took almost two weeks.
Brady is currently being held in a federal facility in Kentucky for safety reasons, state prison officials said. Appeals of his case are pending.
Seth Frazier and Jonathan Monk are also awaiting their trials, which are also to be held in Dare County.