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A Mississippi man accused of killing seven members of his estranged wife's family along with a deputy sheriff will soon face a death penalty trial for the shocking killings.
Jury selection continued Tuesday, February 11, at the DeSoto County Courthouse in Hernando for Willie Cory Godbolt, 37, for the trial which will determine his fate.
He is accused of killing his estranged wife's mother, Barbara Mitchell, 55, and her relatives Tocarra May, 35, Brenda May, 53, Ferral Burrage, 45, Shelia Burrage, 46, Jordan Blackwell, 17, and Austin Edwards, 11. He's also accused of killing Lincoln County Deputy Sheriff William Durr, 36.
The public information officer for the Mississippi court system, Beverly Pettigrew Kraft, told Oxygen.com that 500 people were summoned for jury selection. Of the 206 people who showed up in court, 75 were excused during questioning Monday. She said jury selection is expected to be concluded on Wednesday. The trial proceedings are expected to get underway at the Pike County Courthouse Thursday morning if there are no delays.
Godbolt previously pleaded not guilty to four counts of capital murder, four counts of murder, one count of attempted murder, two counts of kidnapping and one count of armed robbery. He has remained in custody since his arrest in May 2017 – just hours after the alleged shootings.
Investigators said Godbolt went to his in-laws' home in Bogue Chitto where he got into an argument with his estranged wife and her family over the couple's two children. A deputy was called, and a witness said Godbolt then shot and killed the deputy, Godbolt's mother-in-law, and his estranged wife’s aunt and sister, according to CNN. After that, Godbolt allegedly shot and killed four other people at two other homes. One of Godbolt's wife's sisters and the woman's husband were also killed in the shootings.
Godbolt's estranged wife along with the two children she had with Godbolt escaped and survived the killings.
Godbolt reportedly apologized immediately after the killings in video caught by the Clarion Ledger.
“Somebody called the officer," a man believed to be Godbolt told the reporter as he sat cuffed on a road, surrounded by law enforcement. "People that didn’t even live at the house. That’s what they do. They intervene. It cost him his life. I’m sorry.”
“My pain wasn’t designed for him [the sheriff's deputy.] He was just there,” the man added.
He also said he was trying to die through "suicide by cop," the video indicated.
"I ain’t fit to live," the man alleged to be Godbolt said. "Not after what I’ve done.”
A judge decided last year that the video would be admissible evidence during Godbolt's trial.
Godbolt’s attorney said the defense will not likely go for an insanity defense at trial, local outlet WLBT reported late last year.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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