- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 4, 2014

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) - Jury selection is under way in the Spartanburg County murder trial of a man accused of shooting an 8-year-old girl after a judge ruled the defendant has the mental capacity to face the death penalty.

The Herald-Journal of Spartanburg reports (https://bit.ly/1n8chgj ) the judge made the ruling Monday in a motion that was sealed.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys then began picking jurors for the trial of 55-year-old Ricky Blackwell Sr. Authorities say Blackwell put the 8-year-old daughter of his ex-wife’s boyfriend in a headlock in July 2009, then shot her in the head.

Blackwell’s attorneys argued in a three-day hearing last month that his IQ was not high enough to face the death penalty.

Jury selection is expected to take much of the rest of the week.

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Information from: Herald-Journal, https://www.goupstate.com/

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