Jury selection began Monday for a Macon man whose 2005 murder conviction was reversed by the Georgia Supreme Court in 2008.
Tavaris Smith, 33, is accused of killing his wife, 27-year-old Tiffany Smith, on June 5, 2003. Tiffany Smith was a fifth-grade math teacher at Brookdale Elementary School. The couple had two sons. Opening statements are expected today.
In Smith’s 2005 appeal, he argued that the court forced him to rely on a defense of not guilty by reason of insanity as opposed to his claim of having a sleep disorder that enabled him to sleepwalk and shoot his wife without any intention or awareness.
Mark Beberman, Smith’s lawyer, said he plans on presenting Smith’s case at trial.
“We’ve got some interesting things to share with the jury,” he said Monday.
Prosecutors expect the trial to last most of this week, said Dorothy Hull, an assistant Bibb County District attorney.
Hull said she’s kept in touch with Tiffany Smith’s family during the legal proceedings that have been ongoing for more than six years. “They’re frustrated,” she said.
During the first trial, prosecutors argued that Smith shot his wife as she slept and used a pillow to muffle the sound of the bullet inside their Kevin Drive home.
The late Althea Buafo, a well-known Macon attorney, represented Smith at his first trial.
She told jurors then that Smith didn’t deny shooting his wife. He went to sleep that night with a gun under his pillow, as he often did to protect his family from potential burglars, Buafo said. Experts testified Smith was in a “dream-like state” when he fired the gun.
But witnesses testified at the first trial that Smith was excessively jealous and accused his wife of affairs. Her friends said Smith threatened her and kept a gun in the dresser.
Prosecutors said Tiffany Smith was fed up with her husband’s aggressive behavior and wanted to leave him.
Information from The Telegraph’s archives was included in this report.
To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.