A thorough jury member selection process took place this week in a Madison County court for the capital murder trial of Warren T. Hardy. Hardy is a former Huntsville contract school bus driver accused of murdering a woman almost six years ago. That murder happened in an otherwise tranquil suburban Huntsville neighborhood.

A pool of more than 80 potential jurors was pared down to 12 plus several alternate jurors. Chief Deputy Assistant District Attorney Tim Gann explained that the long and rigorous jury selection process was a necessity given the nature of a capital murder trial combined with the need for alternates in the event of COVID-19 infection playing a role during the court proceedings.

The murder victim, Kathleen Lundy, was an adventurous 72-year-old NASA retiree and avid space enthusiast. According to her friends, Lundy was enjoying her retirement years by traveling and relishing new experiences while living with her husband in their Morland Pointe home in southeast Huntsville. Lundy’s Facebook page featured pictures from her travel adventures, optimistic shared memes, a picture of her posing with a NASA astronaut, and update reports on Marshall Space Flight Center’s new moon rocket, Artemis.

According to Huntsville Police statements issued following the violent crime spree of kidnapping and murder, Lundy was stepping out of her house with car keys in hand on August 26, 2016, when she was approached and gunned down by Hardy after he demanded and was given those keys. A two-day manhunt for Lundy’s killer culminated with the arrest of Hardy in Marion, Tenn.

Hardy, who maintains his innocence, stands accused of killing Lundy because investigators believe he wanted to steal her car and use it to chase down his girlfriend and two kidnapped family members who had foiled his abduction plot and escaped in the vehicle that he had used before stealing Lundy’s car. Police said Hardy chased the fleeing kidnap victims, firing a pistol at them during his unsuccessful pursuit.

Presiding Judge Chris Comer was presented with several last-minute pretrial motions filed by defense attorney Larry Marsili, after the very long-time gap between the arrest and the trial. Those motions contended that it would be unfair to the defendant if the jurors were to hear the more than 12 minutes of recorded 911 calls received by emergency services following the shooting of Lundy and that jurors should not be made aware of Hardy’s documented history of domestic violence.  

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