Jury selection begins in trial of Alyssa Shepherd, accused in Fulton Co. bus stop tragedy
Alyssa Shepherd, 24, is accused of killing three siblings and injuring another child as they crossed the street to get on the school bus in Fulton County in October of 2018.
Shepherd has been charged with three counts of reckless homicide for the deaths of Xzavier Ingle, 6, Mason Ingle, 6, and Alivia Stahl, 9 and one count of criminal recklessness resulting in bodily injury for the injuries Maverik Lowe, 11, sustained.
She is also facing a misdemeanor count of driving around a school bus with a stop arm extended.
Family members of Alivia, Mason and Xzavier, told ABC 57 that it is hard to relive last year’s events.
“You know it’s a tough time anyway,” said Michael Schwab, Grandfather of the siblings. “Because we’re coming to the one-year anniversary and then we have to relive all this stuff,” said Schwab.
There were six rounds of jury selection to select a full jury, according to notes provided to ABC 57 from InkFreeNews. An additional round was held to select two alternate jurors.
Out of the potential jurors present, less than half were able to fit into the courtroom space at one time.
Prosecutors asked the jury if they would be comfortable looking at autopsy and crime scene photos, according to InkFreeNews. The defense focused more on the jury’s ability to listen to testimony about children who died, according to InkFreeNews.
Schwab told ABC 57 that both families and the community are hurting during this time.
“That’s why it’s important to have a good, fair system,” said Schwab. “Let’s live with the outcome and know we did our best…right? Let’s find some justice for these children and let’s continue to improve school bus safety…whatever we learn from this, there should be a nugget or two that we can take and say ‘hey, if we do this we can prevent this type of thing from ever happening again,’” said Schwab.
A decorum order, which is generally issued during high-profile cases, stated that 31 seats were designated throughout the trial.
“The defense and the prosecution will be allocated seating as needed; the families will be allocated 25 (10 for defense families. 15 for State families) seats; the media will be allocated 6 seats; and the general public will as available. If seats are in high demand, media may be limited to one member from each news organization,” according to the order.
A number of media organizations, including ABC 57, were not allowed into the courtroom.
Beginning on Wednesday before the trial, a random selection will be held for the remaining media organizations that are not located in Fulton County.
Schwab told ABC 57 that he wants to be clear he just wants a fair and open trial for all parties involved.