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McVay Will Be Sentenced For Murder This Spring

January 28, 2014, 9:27 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

McVay Will Be Sentenced For Murder This Spring
James McVay


This spring, a Minnehaha County jury will decide if admitted killer James McVay will be executed.

McVay pleaded guilty but mentally ill for the murder of 75-year-old Maybelle Schein in July 2011.

McVay admits to sneaking into Schein's Sioux Falls home in the summer of 2011, stabbing her to death and stealing her car as part of a plot to assassinate President Barack Obama.

Now a jury will decide if McVay should be put to death for the crime. McVay's sentencing trial will start on March 17.

During a motions hearing Tuesday, Judge Peter Lieberman said he will split the trial into two parts. A Minnehaha County jury will first hear evidence and decide if McVay is eligible for the death penalty under South Dakota law. If they find that he is, the jury will then decide if McVay should be executed or sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Jury selection is expected to last more than a week and 15 jurors will be picked so there are three alternates.

Judge Lieberman said he will wait until jury selection to make a decision on a motion from McVay's attorneys to move the case to Union County.  Lieberman says if they have trouble finding a fair jury pool in Minnehaha County, he will consider moving the case but as of right now, he is 'optimistic' they will find a jury.

The entire sentencing trial is expected to take four weeks.

McVay Timeline

July 1, 2011 McVay walks away from a South Dakota Department of Corrections transition program.

July 2, 2011 McVay murders 75-year-old Maybelle Schein and is arrested later in the day in Madison, WI.

July 26, 2011 McVay makes first court appearance in Minnehaha County.

December 21, 2011 McVay pleads guilty but mentally ill.

January 31, 2012 Judge accepts guilty plea.

October 23, 2013 Judge says McVay's confession can be used at sentencing hearing.

March 17, 2014 McVay's sentencing scheduled to begin.


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