Posted: Nov 13, 2012 6:38 PM by Katy Harris KXLF News
The jury trial for Helena man Shaun Duncan Morrison, 30, began with jury member selection.
Several potential jury members were dismissed because of their connections with the Montana State Prison.
It took over 2 hours to find a jury for the Montana State Prison inmate.
About half a dozen potential jury members either worked at the Montana State Prison at some time or knew someone that did.
Morrison is charged with felony deliberate homicide and possession of a deadly weapon by a prisoner.
On September 4th, 2011 he reportedly murdered fellow inmate Julio Santiago Jr with razor blades attached to a pen.
Santiago was killed after reportedly stealing Morrison's ear buds.
In opening statements the Defense explained that possessions and space are sacred inside a prison.
The Prosecution said the testimonies that will be told by witnesses are consistent with the murder.
A Montana State Prison guard witnesses testified in court about the incident.
"Inmate Morrison buzzed the cage. It's a button basically letting me know that they want to talk to me. I flipped on the toggle switch so I could hear him and he said, "You needed to send some C.O.'s, I just killed somebody." And then I looked at him and he was covered in blood," testified Montana State Prison Guard Douglas Ross.
Defense Attorney Tom Bartleson told the jury, "The question will be whether or not that reaction and that stress was a reasonable one for a person in a similar situation as Mr. Morrison."
"You will hear this version of events, the Defendants version. And it is consistent, you will hear what the injuries, what Julio Santiago Jr. suffered which resulted in his death," said Deputy County Attorney Jeanine Badanes.
The Defense made a motion to drop Count 2, Possession of a Deadly Weapon by a Prisoner but Prosecution opposed the motion.
The matter will be addressed again Wednesday.
Morrison's jury trial should wrap up by Thursday.
Morrison was previously convicted of Theft, Burglary and Assaulting a Peace Officer.