Tyree Roberts Trial Update

Roberts in court today.
Roberts in court today.

Jury selection is moving slowly in Beaufort for the trial of a man accused of killing two Beaufort County sheriff's deputies in 2002. In fact, before the lunch break today, the court had only qualified four potential jurors. Forty-one-year-old Tyree Roberts continued exercising his right to question potential jurors. As he represents himself, Roberts, also known as Abdiyyah ben Alkebulanyahh, questioned many of the jurors for at least 45 minutes, asking them anything from their opinion of law enforcement officers to the safeness of their neighborhoods to whether or not they have the same beliefs as Rush Limbaugh.

In fact, Roberts asked a number of inappropriate questions that the judge ended up throwing out. "Would it be fair to say that in your mind, Mr. Alkebulanyahh, starts off with one strike against him?" he asked one juror candidate, and Judge Danny Pieper sustained an objection against that question.

In a couple of instances, Roberts even got bold enough to throw out statements about his innocence. "What is your feeling or opinion on the state seeking the death penalty in a case which the defendant was not present when the people were killed?" he asked.

In one specific case, Roberts asked one of the jurors if they had heard of the alleged victims, implying the fallen officers were not victims. The way things are going, everyone is hoping jury selection will wrap up on Friday, and that's when they expect the trial to start.

Reported by: Jaime Dailey, jdailey@wtoc.com