Three hundred jury summonses and questionnaires will soon be mailed to Upson County residents, the potential jury pool of whom a dozen will determine the fate of Christopher Keith Calmer, the man charged in the 2014 shooting death of Monroe County deputy Michael Norris.
The trial for Calmer, who could face the death penalty if he’s convicted, is set to begin June 5.
Calmer is accused of shooting Norris and deputy Jeff Wilson Sept. 13, 2014, as the deputies responded to a report of a suicidal person at a home near Bolingbroke where Calmer lived with his parents.
He appeared in Monroe County Superior Court Monday for another pretrial hearing.
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Walking without an apparent limp and sporting a shorter hairstyle, his appearance differed from last summer, when he moaned and writhed in pain, attending a hearing on a stretcher and later sitting in a recliner.
In the months leading up to the trial, Calmer’s attorneys have requested that the Georgia Supreme Court review three issues.
They challenge the composition of the grand jury that indicted Calmer in 2015 on charges of malice murder, two counts of felony murder, attempted murder and two counts of aggravated assault on a peace officer.
Gabrielle Pittman, one of Calmer’s lawyers, argued Monday that the court clerk excused potential grand jurors for reasons outside those allowed by state statutes.
“She exceeded her duty,” Pittman said. “For that reason, the grand jury was tainted.”
The defense also wants the high court to review Monroe County Superior Court Judge Tommy Wilson’s limiting Calmer’s lawyers as they questioned former GBI agent Charles Woodall at a pretrial hearing last year.
Woodall was arrested in 2015 on allegations he molested boys in Bibb County, and he subsequently resigned from the GBI in lieu of termination.
Pittman said the defense wasn’t allowed to question Woodall about the charges that still are pending against him.
When questioned during Calmer’s court proceedings last summer, Woodall repeatedly invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself.
Also, the defense wants the court to review whether jurors should be able to hear Calmer’s alleged confession.
A decision is set to be made March 17, the next hearing in the case, about whether jurors will be sequestered during the trial.
Monday, Wilson said although four weeks have been set aside for the trial, he hopes jury selection won’t last more than a week and the trial will last another week.