Murder trial finally begins

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 3, 2004

It's taken longer than expected, but the jurors for the biggest murder case in Crenshaw County history have been seated.

Of the 162 jurors summoned for jury selection on Oct. 18, a pool of 38 reported on Wednesday morning and were narrowed down to six men and six women.

"I expect that we will get to some of the opening arguments tomorrow (Wednesday)," Circuit Judge Edward McFerrin, who is presiding over the trial, said Tuesday.

Email newsletter signup

According to Code 12-16-60 of the Alabama State Law, jurors are put through a qualification process, which includes standard questions such as their age. They were also asked questions regarding the case.

Westley Devone Harris, 24, is accused of murdering six of his common-law wife, then 16-year-old Janice Denise Ball's, family members, including Mila Ruth Ball, 62; her daughter, JoAnn Ball, 35; JoAnn's common-law husband, Willie Hasley, 40, who also went by the name Willie Haslip; and their sons, Jerry Ball, 19, Tony Ball, 17, and John Ball, 14, in the Town of Rutledge on Aug. 26, 2002.

If convicted, Harris faces the death penalty or life in prison without parole.

McFerrin did not wish to go into any more details regarding the trial.

As for how long the trial might last, McFerrin's answer was simple.

"I do not know," he said. "I'm not privileged to all of the information the lawyers have."