Judge delays start of trial in prison inmate death


By Alabama News Network
By Jamie Langley


MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - A federal judge has delayed the start of a trial for an ex-prison supervisor accused of fatally beating an inmate.


The trial of Michael Smith was scheduled to start Friday morning in Montgomery, but U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson said he wanted the weekend to consider whether defense attorneys had racially discriminatory reasons for rejecting four black potential jurors.


Defense attorney Christine Freeman said age was the main factor in rejecting the four. The jury has four black women, with white men and women making up the rest of the panel.


The judge said he would make a decision Monday on whether to proceed with the trial or postpone it.


Smith is accused of fatally beating inmate Rocrast Mack in August 2010 and then trying to cover up the death.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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