Jury Selection, Opening Statements Made In Fred Kauffeld Trial

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CLARKSVILLE (KFSM) -- The trial for Fred Kauffeld, who is accused of shooting and killing Johnson County Reserve Deputy Sonny Smith, began Tuesday (May 24) with jury selection and opening statements.

Kauffeld is facing two counts of capital murder, two counts of attempted capital murder and one count of residential burglary after investigators said he shot and killed Smith on May 15, 2015.

The 12-member jury is made up of six men and six women. Two alternates were also selected. The jury pool was narrowed down from 104 candidates.

The prosecution and defense went straight to opening statements following jury selection.

Prosecutor David Gibbons described what happened in the early morning hours on May 15 when reserve deputies Curtis Bishop and Sonny Smith got a call about a burglary at a home on County Road 1723, about 15 miles east of Clarksville. He told the jury the home was owned by Billy Nobles.

A K-9 unit and other officers were also called in and found a truck with two flat tires and evidence of a break-in at the home, Gibbons said. While searching the area, the K-9 picked up a scent and deputies found Kauffeld behind a fence armed with a rifle, he added.

Gibbons said Smith saw Kauffeld and told him to put his hands up, at which point Kauffeld started firing striking Smith twice. An autopsy showed Smith was hit in his left thigh and in his left shoulder. The bullet traveled down almost to his spine, making the shoulder shot the one that killed him, Gibbons said. Kauffeld also fired at two other deputies, he said.

Kauffeld's attorney, Bill James, said his client was the house on County Road 1723 because he was involved in a love triangle with a woman who lived with Nobles. He also said Kauffeld only took his own gun from the home and there was no evidence of anything else being taken.

Kauffeld is likely to testify in his own defense.

James argued the prosecution's claims will not match the physical evidence in the case.

If convicted, Kauffeld faces life in prison. The state is not seeking the death penalty.

Testimony is scheduled to resume Wednesday (May 25) at 9 a.m.