Crime, Fire + Courts

Jury selection in Davis murder case gets under way

By From page A1 | February 26, 2013

James Mings. Enterprise file photo

James Mings. Enterprise file photo

Jury selection begins this week in a Davis homicide case in which the defendant has claimed he put his ailing friend out of his misery.

James Elron Mings, 37, was indicted on a single count of murder in connection with the Oct. 1, 2011, death of Kevin Gerard Seery at the College Square Apartments on J Street. He has pleaded not guilty.

Prospective jurors who filed into Yolo Superior Court Judge Paul Richardson’s courtroom Monday were given questionnaires to fill out and instructed to return Wednesday morning for jury selection. Attorneys could deliver their opening statements as soon as that afternoon.

According to a transcript of the Nov. 19, 2011, grand jury proceedings in the case, the 42-year-old Seery was suffering from diabetes, chronic pancreatitis, chronic hepatitis and pneumonia at the time of his death, standing 6-foot-1 but weighing only 133 pounds when police discovered his body at his 945 J St. apartment.

Mings and another man, who had stayed at the apartment the night before, called 911 to report the death, claiming that Seery had fallen out of a chair and injured himself, according to a search-warrant affidavit in the case. But the death was deemed suspicious when officers spotted a white, cloth-like material lodged in Seery’s throat.

That night, Mings walked into the Davis police station and allegedly confessed to the killing, describing it as “an act of love” he carried out at Seery’s request, a Davis police detective told the grand jury.

Mings admitted to putting Seery in a choke hold until he lost consciousness, then put gauze, disposable towelettes and a tube sock down Seery’s throat to make sure he couldn’t breathe, the officer testified. Seery had suffered a neck fracture as well, according to the forensic pathologist who conducted his autopsy.

Police have said the second man was not involved in the incident, which marked Davis’ first murder case in nearly seven years.

Mings’ trial is scheduled to go through Friday, then take a week off before resuming the week of March 11, court officials said. Mings remains in custody at the Yolo County Jail.

— Reach Lauren Keene at [email protected] or 530-747-8048. Follow her on Twitter at @laurenkeene

Lauren Keene

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