Jury selected in Raynella Dossett Leath case

(WVLT)
Published: May. 2, 2017 at 10:49 AM EDT
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A jury has been selected in the Raynella Leath murder trial with 12 men and four women. Four of the jurors are alternates.

The defense in the Leath trial dismissed jurors with a nursing or medical background. Leath was a nurse at local hospitals.

Attorneys also eliminated jurors with family members and friends who are police officers.

Raynella Dossett Leath is accused of killing her second husband, David Leath. She claims he committed suicide.

After the jury was seated, the defense and the prosecution gave opening statements. The defense said David Leath committed suicide because he was depressed due to the fact he was diagnosed with dementia.

The prosecution said there is no way Leath killed himself because there were three shots fired, and the third one was fired after Leath was already dead.

The first witness was Cindy Wilkerson, David Leath's daughter. She said her dad was sharp minded and didn't have dementia. She also said she found an empty gun holster in her grandmother's bedroom drawer, and that Raynella had been there earlier that day.

The state also called two witnesses who worked with David Leath. They both said Leath didn't have dementia. The defense said Leath was just a private person and never told them he had memory loss.

The state also called two deputies to testify. They said the car engine in Raynella's car wasn't hot that day, indicating she lied about just getting home when she found David's body.

This will be the third time Leath will be tried for her second husband's death.

In 2016, Judge Summers tossed out the first-degree murder conviction in her second husband's death and awarded her a new trial because of the drug use of former Knox County Criminal Court Judge Richard Baumgartner during the January 2010 trial.

Leath was in the court room for the jury selection process Monday, sometimes looking over her attorney's shoulder at the jury questionnaire.

According to Local 8 News Anchor Lauren Davis, who was in the courtroom, some jury candidates said they had heard of the trial on the show

Snapped,

and some said the widow had been the subject of family discussion. One candidate knew she was called "the black widow," which the defense said was a loaded term. The defense wanted those jurors eliminated from selection, but the judge allowed them.

"I don't think they should be allowed on the jury if they have seen or heard anything about the case," Rebecca LeGrand, Leath's attorney, said.

"Anything you hear is not evidence, all that is just a rumor," Judge Paul Summers said. "You alone decide what is that and what is true."

The judge ruled David Leath will not be referred to as "victim" since the defense says he died from suicide.

The trial resumes again Wednesday morning at 8:30.