Jury selection underway in Bailey murder trial

DERIDDER, LA (KPLC) - Today is Joel Bailey's 36th birthday-- and the day his trial started for the murder of his father and attempted murder of his mother. Jury selection got underway this morning.

It's coming up on four years since 36 year old Joel Bailey allegedly murdered his father Eugene Bailey and tried to kill his mother Dorothy Bailey at their Dry Creek Home. That was in September 2007. After nearly a week on the run Bailey was found in Mississippi and brought back to Beauregard Parish.  At the time, investigators said they searched an area described by Bailey near a bridge on Longville Road in Beauregard parish and recovered a gun and bag of shells.

Former Chief Deputy Robert McCullough said back in 2007, "If you didn't have the gun, the argument could be made that he was just making it up or taking the blame for something maybe somebody else did, but in this case, not having recovered the gun at the scene, and not knowing where it was at and then him being able to tell where it was at and lead detectives to its exact location, I think is pretty important."

At the time the brutal crime shocked citizens of this typically peaceful, rural community. Resident Kathy Chapman said then, "I just can't imagine somebody doing that. Not in this town."

After a number of hearings on various legal issues Bailey now gets his day in court where they are picking a jury. Questions from defense attorneys suggest they'll put on various experts on mental illness, some of whom have no doubt examined Joel Bailey.

Bailey has pleaded not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity--which means he's saying he didn't do it and if the jury finds that he did commit the crime, he should not be held responsible because of a mental illness or mental defect that prevented him from knowing the difference between right and wrong.

Though Bailey was indicted for First Degree Murder the state decided not to seek the death penalty which means if convicted he will get life in prison.

Watch later editions of 7News and check out kplctv.com for more details once the evidence part of the trial gets underway.

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