Jury Selection Underway for Man Accused of Murdering Mother and Daughter - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

05/24/07

Jury Selection Underway for Man Accused of Murdering Mother and Daughter

Darryl Stinski Darryl Stinski
Dorian O'Kelley on death row Dorian O'Kelley on death row

Darryl Stinski is finally standing trial for brutally murdering a Chatham County mother and her daughter. But Chatham County jurors won't be the one's deciding his fate.

Stinski is accused of killing Susan Pittman and her 14-year-old daughter Kimberly in April 2002. If convicted Stinski could face the death penalty.

In 2005 a jury convicted Stinski's friend and accused partner in crime, Dorian O'Kelley. A judge sent O'Kelley to death row

The murders and O'Kelley's trial got a lot of media coverage, that's why the judge hearing the case granted Stinski's attorney a change of venue request. Today jury selection is underway at the Bibb County Courthouse in Macon.

Attorneys will select a jury from Macon, but they will try the case in a Chatham County courtroom.

Chatham County's Chief Superior Court Judge Perry Brannen said, "The jury will be brought here and sequestered, sequestered here, put up in a hotel."

Judge Brannen said it made more sense--logistically and economically--to bring a dozen or so jurors to Chatham County instead of asking 50 or more witnesses and court personnel to travel to Bibb County.

"The goal is to try the case one time and get it right," Brannen said.

The trial itself is expected to last a week or two. Prosecutors plan to call dozens of witnesses to the stand to tell jurors how the Susan and Kimberly Pittman were tortured, murdered then set on fire. their bodies charred beyond recognition, their home burned to the ground.

And prosecutors plan to show the jury a WTOC interview with Stinski's friend, Dorian O'Kelley.

O'Kelley was watching the Pittman's home burn and said, "Ashes were coming down like fireballs. I was afraid since I live across the street, I was afraid the fire was going to move on over. I was terrified," O'Kelley said.

Then he smiled. Prosecutors want to make sure jurors see that.

The Pittman family got justice in 2005 when O'Kelley was sentenced to death. They want the same fate for Stinski.

No word on what kind of defense Stinski's attorney will present.

Court officials say it will likely take several days to pick a jury in Macon. Opening arguments in the case should begin June 5.

Reported by Michelle Paynter, mpaynter@wtoc.com

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