Jury selection begins for Grass Valley murder trial | TheUnion.com

Jury selection begins for Grass Valley murder trial

Jury selection for the murder trial of Steve Medlyn, 34, began this morning in Nevada County Superior Court.

Medlyn is charged with the murder of 75-year-old Grass Valley resident Mary Spratt, found strangled to death in her Empire Street apartment May 4, 2007.

Medlyn befriended Spratt several years ago, police said, and Spratt’s neighbors told investigators they knew of Medlyn and had seen him and his wife at Spratt’s apartment.

Investigators obtained a warrant to search Medlyn’s Penn Valley home July 5, where they allegedly found Spratt’s purse and arrested Medlyn for murder.

Police also arrested Medlyn’s wife Dawn Medlyn, 37, in connection to the killing. Mrs. Medlyn was absolved of any guilt and freed after facing a charge of accessory to murder after the fact at a preliminary hearing with Judge R. Michael Smith in November 2007.

Smith, a retired Solano County judge visiting Nevada County, is also scheduled to adjudicate the trial.

In November 2007, Assistant District Attorney Anna Ferguson filed a peremptory challenge to disqualify Nevada County Judge Thomas Anderson from hearing the case, and Judge Candace Heidelberger recused herself from the case because she formerly represented Medlyn’s wife in another matter, she said.

Ferguson said she would not pursue the death penalty for Medlyn, while she would seek life in prison without parole.

Potential jurors began filling out questionnaires in court this morning.

Jury selection for the case is expected to last three days, and because Nevada County Superior Court does not conduct trial activities on Mondays or Fridays, opening statements are expected to begin June 3, Ferguson said.

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