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Cops and Courts

Jury selection begins in capital murder trial

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    Elliott Kirkland.



ELYRIA — Jury selection in the murder trial of a Lorain man who could face the death penalty began Monday, a process that could take more than a week to complete.

Elliott Kirkland, 29, was indicted on capital murder charges in connection with the 2016 slaying of Jimmie Holland Jr. in Holland’s Lexington Avenue apartment in Lorain.

Dozens of potential jurors are now going through the process of jury selection for the trial. Due to the possibility that Kirkland could face the death penalty if found guilty, each potential juror is being interviewed individually.

The process is expected to take the rest of the week, and continue into next Monday and maybe further, meaning opening statements in the trial may not begin until Monday or Tuesday.

Lorain police have said Holland’s death was the result of a home invasion.

Police were called to Holland’s apartment Aug. 29, 2016, by Jasmine Schafer, 29, who told officers she had gone to the apartment to braid Holland’s hair. She said when she arrived, she grabbed two cans of root beer out of the fridge before she found Holland’s body.

She told police she tried to give Holland CPR before she ran outside and called 911.

Police have said Schafer was initially cooperative, but said their investigation revealed she was lying about key parts of her story and that she was involved in stealing from Holland’s ransacked apartment.

Police recovered several missing items, including electronics and two cans of A&W Root Beer, from the borrowed Jeep Liberty that Schafer and a second woman, Latrice Thomas, were driving that night.

When officers confronted Schafer, she blamed Kirkland and Mark Sanchez for the robbery. A witness reported seeing Kirkland, who told police he had been with his girlfriend the entire night, enter the apartment armed with a handgun.

Lorain County Prosecutor Dennis Will has said because the robbery was planned, it elevated the killing to the level where prosecutors could seek the death penalty.

Contact Scott Mahoney at (440) 329-7146 or Follow him on Twitter @SMahoneyCT.

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