Jury selection begins in murder trial

Published 12:00 pm Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Jury selection started Monday in the trial of one of three men charged with shooting and killing a University of

Mississippi graduate student.

Derrick Boone, 25, of Laurel, was arrested in 2013 along with Steven Wilbanks, 24, of North Carolina, and Joseph Lyons, 22, of Houston, Texas, for the alleged murder of Zacharias Hercules McClendon of Gulfport. The three were charged capital murder.

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The jury is expected to be selected Tuesday with the trial to begin Wednesday morning at the Lafayette County Courthouse, according to Circuit Court Clerk Baretta Mosley.

According to court documents, the three defendants lived next door to McClendon, who was shot and killed with a 16-gauge shotgun. The state claims after the killing the three men then took McClendon’s 2004 Nissan and three college textbooks worth about $500. They then reportedly parked the car at the Chevron gas station on Highway 6 near Thacker Heights Drive.

McClendon’s body was found in his apartment at 20B County Road 140 on Dec. 18, 2013, and the three men were arrested a few days later.

Boone’s attorneys claim their client was not in the room when McClendon was shot and should not be charged with capital murder.

There have been no new motions filed by attorneys for Wilbanks or Lyons. If convicted, Boone could face the death penalty.

McClendon, a first-year graduate student, was pursuing a Masters of Business Administration at Ole Miss. Prior to attending Ole Miss, McClendon graduated from Williams College in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. McClendon, 25, also received two degrees from Mississippi College in a related field and was an apprentice for an orthopedics surgeon at Tulane University while in college.