POTEAU (KFSM) -- Jury selection in Elvis Thacker's first-degree murder trial was supposed to begin Monday (Jan 11). About one hour into the process and before the jury panel was in the courtroom, the judge issued a continuance.
A new trial date has been set for April 4, 2016.
Thacker will face the possibility of the death penalty if convicted. He is accused of murdering Briana Ault in September of 2010. Her body was found in a Pocola pond.
Thacker's defense lawyers plan to use a report from a neuropsychologist in the trial. They also plan to call the doctor who prepared the report to the stand. That report, according to the defense, is the reason for the continuance.
Prosecution lawyers claim to have only received the report as of late last week. They have asked for more time to review the report. According to Thacker's lawyer Gretchen Mosley, the report will be used as part of the defense.
"It's important that people understand that we are not claiming insanity or diminished capacity. Our defense is innocence. We believe that Elvis was not there. He did not kill Briana. He did not have anything to do with her murder,"Mosley said. "So, while the doctor's findings are important to understand decisions that Elvis may have made, we are not going to be telling the jury that he did it in some kind of impaired mental state. We don't believe that Elvis was there."
Mosley said her strategy in this case will be to tell a jury that Johnathen Thacker, Elvis's brother, is responsible. Johnathen Thacker was also accused of first-degree murder. He took a plea deal of guilty and life in prison in exchange for his testimony against his brother Elvis.
While the prosecution and defense ready their strategy for the new trial date Ault's mother, Bethany Ault-Pyle said she is frustrated with the judicial system.
"I'm angry; I'm frustrated. I feel like it's injustice for Briana. I feel like I have set and watched the court system for the last five years and how unjust it is. It's for the bad guys. Briana has been forgotten and to put it off again totally rips my heart out. To think my daughter is not getting justice like promised," Ault-Pyle said. "The whole process has been ridiculous. I mean, they have set dates and then moved them. I have went through this. I am so tired of excuses."
The judge in this case will meet with the prosecution and the defense in March to make sure everything is set to proceed with the trial.