Jury gets extra protection in trial of accused hit men - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Jury pool gets extra protection in trial of accused hit men

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Clinton Lewis, left, and Martin Lewis, photo courtesy Shelby County Sheriff's Office. Clinton Lewis, left, and Martin Lewis, photo courtesy Shelby County Sheriff's Office.
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) – Potential Memphis jurors are under extremely tight security because the two men on trial have a past so violent that it's caused officials to worry about the jury's safety.

One hundred fifty people were summoned to the jury pool and the eighteen eventually seated are in a for a bizarre month.

On the 11th floor of the federal building jury selection is underway in the criminal case against cousins Marvin and Clinton Lewis.

"The United States Marshal Service is hereby ordered to pick up jurors each morning at a secure location and transport them as a group to court," said a written order granting the jury to extra protection once it's seated. "After court the Marshal Service is directed to transport the jurors as a group back to the secure location."

In court, the judge told the entire 150 person jury pool that each has been assigned a number and no one will know their names.

"We're not trying to de-personalize you, but we will be referring to you by number to preserve your personal privacy," the judge said.

However, the 18 people seated on this jury will not be sequestered. Instead, they will be free to go home and sleep in their own beds every night, which is good because the judge says he expects this trial to last between three and four weeks.

The government said the Lewis' are part of Craig Petties' international drug organization.

They're accused of committing violent acts and conspiracy to commit murder in support of the organization.

Investigators say the cousins participated in murdering associates who either stole drugs from the Petties' organization or presented a legal or personal threat to it.

Among the 100 government witnesses, Petties is expected to testify as he awaits sentencing after secretly pleading guilty in late 2009.

The judge acknowledged the hare-like pace, saying he'd rather have a slow process that's good than a fast process that's bad.

Jury selection resumes at 9:30 Tuesday morning.

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