Criminal Court Judge Barry Steelman said selection of a jury for the death-penalty case involving Jesse Mathews would proceed, though the defense is asking for a delay due to an unresolved issue about testimony from a federal prosecutor.
Judge Steelman said he will proceed with plans to go to Davidson County on Nov. 7 to begin picking jurors, who will come to Chattanooga to hear the case that is set to start on Jan. 23.
Mathews is charged in the April 2, 2011, shooting death of Chattanooga Police Sgt. Tim Chapin.
The defense wants federal prosecutor Steve Neff to testify should Mathews be convicted and there is a penalty phase of the trial. Attorney Lee Davis said he is the defense's best chance for making the point that Mathews was heavily under the influence of his mother, Kathleen Mathews, who was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Neff.
Attorney Davis noted that the defense filed suit in Federal Court after U.S. Attorney Bill Killian would not allow the Neff testimony in the state trial.
He said the Killian office has stated that if there is a ruling against it in Federal Court that it will appeal as far as the U.S. Supreme Court. He said federal officials have pledged to try to speed up the case, but he said it could take "up to a year" for a final decision.
District Attorney Bill Cox said the Neff testimony should not be allowed, saying he just has "opinion" and not personal factual information regarding the officer slaying.