09/03/14 — Jury selection begins in murder trial

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Jury selection begins in murder trial

By John Joyce
Published in News on September 3, 2014 1:47 PM

Javonta Marquez Ellis

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Stephon Deandre Jennings

Jury selection is nearing completion in the first-degree murder trial of two men charged in the 2012 shooting death of a Goldsboro man.

Stephon Deandre Jennings, 19, and Javonta Marquez Ellis, 17, jailed since 2012, are charged with murder and attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon in connection with the murder of Kevin Bell, 34.

According to Goldsboro police reports, Bell died shortly after midnight June 14, 2012, the victim of a botched robbery. He was shot to death just outside his Slaughter Street home.

Investigators identified Jennings and Ellis as suspects throughout the course of their investigation and secured warrants for their arrest. The two men were picked up July 2 and charged with Bell's murder. They were then placed in the Wayne County Jail where they have since been held without bond.

The pair are being tried together before Judge John E. Nobles Jr. in Wayne County Superior Court, and have retained their own counsel.

Ellis is being represented by local defense attorney Charles Gurley. Jennings has retained Mary Jude Darrow, an attorney based out of Raleigh.

Opening statements will begin later today should a jury be impaneled. All that is left is to select two alternate jurors, a court official said today.