Trial Begins for West Memphis Man Charged in Trooper's Death

NOVEMBER 27, 2006 - Posted at 3:31 p.m. CST

FORREST CITY, AR - After jury selection today, opening statements are expected to get underway tomorrow in Forrest City in the capital murder trial of a West Memphis man blamed for the death of an Arkansas State Police trooper.

Wesley Jefferson, 27, is on trial in St. Francis County for the September 11, 2005 death of 31-year-old trooper, Corporal Mark Carthron of West Memphis.

Carthron was struck by a police car during a chase along Interstate 40.  He died later at a hospital.

Authorities say Jefferson and his passenger were leading police on a high-speed chase, when Carthron threw a spike strip onto the highway to stop the stolen vehicle.  When Jefferson ran over the strip, his tires deflated, stopping the car.  Other officers arrested the two suspects, but Carthron was struck by a trooper's car when he went to pick up the strip.

State law says a person can be charged with capital murder if in the course of a felony or in flight from a felony, the person or an accomplice causes the death of another person under circumstances involving extreme indifference to human life.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)