Potential jurors from Davidson County in the Jesse Mathews capital murder case will get questionaires in early November.
The case involving the April 2, 2011, slaying of Chattanooga Police Sgt. Tim Chapin is set to be tried in Chattanooga next Jan. 22.
Criminal Court Judge Barry Steelman, along with prosecutors and defense attorneys, will go to Nashville on Nov. 7 to start the jury selection process. The case will be tried in Chattanooga using Nashville jurors. Attorneys in the case are working toward an agreement on the wording of the questionaires, which will help in the jury selection process.
Prosecutor Neal Pinkston said at the trial the state will not go into Mathews' past criminal record, but he said the state will question witnesses about the fact that Mathews was using an alias while living in Chattanooga at the time of the slaying.
Also, Judge Steelman said he will put down a ruling later on a request by the Chattanooga Times Free Press to lift a gag order in the case.
The gag order was put down after prosecutor Pinkston learned that newspaper columnist David Cook was planning to conduct a jailhouse interview with Mathews.
Attorney Bud Jackson on Thursday afternoon urged that the gag order be vacated. He said it was unlikely that the contents of the column would affect a Nashville juror. He said the newspaper's circulation in Nashville is "virtually none."
Judge Steelman said a case as prominent as one in which the state is seeking the death penalty for the slaying of a police officer still may make the Nashville newspaper (Tennessean).
He said Mathews earlier had sought the out-of-county jury, but now is wanting to give a newspaper interview.
Prosecutor Pinkston said it might be an instance where "the court has to protect the defendant from himself." He said the interview might lead to potential jurors learning facts that are not allowed to go before the jury.