Jury selection begins Tuesday for the trial of Mark Tyron Soyars, 29, who is accused of robbing, kidnapping and murdering an Eden shopkeeper last July.
Soyars, formerly of Bethlehem Church Road in Reidsville, is accused of abducting Nan Barnard Doyle from her Eden card shop July 18, robbing her of the money in the store's cash register, forcing her into a car and driving her to a wooded area near Eden and shooting her.Soyars faces charges of armed robbery, first-degree kidnapping and first-degree murder.
Soyars' alleged accomplice, Donald William ``Billy' Campbell, 23, of Aiken Road, who led authorities to Doyle's body a week after the shooting, faces the same charges as Soyars. Campbell's trial is expected to begin in May.
Rockingham District Attorney Thurman Hampton said he plans to ask for the death penalty in both cases.
Attorneys expect the Soyars trial to last two or three weeks, including a week to select the jury.
Court officials have summoned 300 potential jurors, more than five times the usual number, according to a court official. Of the jurors, 100 have been asked to appear for pretrial interviews Tuesday, 100 more Wednesday and the final 100 Thursday.
Dan Bailey, one of Soyars' attorneys, said several motions to suppress evidence will be heard today before Superior Court Judge Douglas Albright.
Bailey said Hampton plans to show pictures and a video tape of Doyle's decomposed body. Bailey and Phil Berger, Soyars' other attorney, said in a motion that the pictures present an inaccurate view of how Doyle appeared at the time of her death.
In another motion, Bailey said Soyars' defense would concentrate on refuting testimony given by Campbell to Eden police officers and State Bureau of Investigation agents.
In his statement, Campbell said Soyars planned the robbery by studying Nan's Hallmark Store, Doyle's business, and determining that Doyle closed the store alone at 5:30 p.m. every day.
Campbell said he and Soyars waited outside and forced Doyle into Campbell's car. Campbell said that after driving to Town Creek Road, Soyars took Doyle into a wooded area and shot her.
An autopsy determined Doyle died from three gunshot wounds to the head and neck.
Soyars has remained in the Rockingham County Jail without bond since his arrest.