MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Murder, drugs and money laundering. They'll all part of one of the largest federal drug trials in Shelby County history, but not until jury selection is completed.
Martin Lewis and Clinton Lewis are the accused hit men in Craig Petties' massive and violent drug operation. Petties himself is expected to testify against the pair.
150 potential jurors reported at 9:30am on February 6, 2012, and they're still not much closer to getting 18 people to fill the jury box.
There are several reasons why it's taking so long. This is a huge jury pool, about double normal federal cases. Since the lives of two men are in the hands of the jury selected, the court is taking its time.
In the first two hours of day two only one juror was excused, which still left nearly 100 for the lawyers and judge to weed through.
The government is accusing Martin Lewis and Clinton Lewis of being dangerous and violent contract killers.
They were quiet, taking notes and addressing lawyers as potential jurors were questioned in court.
Judge Samuel Mays, Jr. told the crowd the most time consuming part of the trial is the beginning, searching for an impartial jury. He read a list of names of more than 150 potential witnesses, including several who admitted to being part of Petties' cross-country drug ring.
Three potential jurors admitted to reading news about the trial the morning before, but they said it wouldn't affect their ability to be impartial.
One by one the judge and lawyers took jurors aside and asked them about their answers on the nearly 100 question jury questionnaire.
They asked the potential jurors for their opinions on law enforcement, the Casey Anthony trial and terrorism.
Given the one month timetable for the trial, it's hard to find people without conflicts relating to work, school or health.
There will be 12 jurors and 6 alternates. Judge Mays expects to have a jury seated by day three.