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McVay Death Penalty Hearing Begins Monday

March 14, 2014, 5:44 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

McVay Death Penalty Hearing Begins Monday

Jury selection for the sentencing hearing of James McVay begins Monday.

McVay killed a Sioux Falls woman as part of a cross-country plot to assassinate the president in July of 2011.

Friday attorneys discussed final motions before they start picking the jury that will ultimately decide if he gets the death penalty.

In the summer of 2011 McVay walked away from a transitional unit at the South Dakota State Penitentiary and killed 75-year-old Maybelle Schein. McVay has pleaded guilty but mentally ill to the crime and now faces execution.

Attorneys for McVay made a final motion Friday to prohibit some of the gruesome pictures of Schein's body from being shown to the jury.

Prosecutors say the pictures are needed to show the 'length' and 'depth' of the nine stab wounds inflicted by McVay. Prosecutors say the wounds show the torture, depravity and aggravated nature of McVay's actions.

But McVay's attorneys said they don't believe nearly three-dozen autopsy and crime scene photos of Schein are needed to show the jury the severity of the crime.

Judge Peter Lieberman told attorneys to 'whittle down' the number of pictures that will be shown to the jury.

"You have a right to show she was a living human being but there are too many photographs," Lieberman said.

Lieberman said he will make a final ruling on specific pictures that can be shown when the time arrives during the sentencing hearing.

The sentencing hearing is scheduled to last until April 11.

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