Jury seated in trial of man charged with reckless murder in Cullman student’s death

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From left to right are Circuit Judge Gregory Nicholas, Assistant Cullman County District Attorney Matthew Kimbrough, Assistant Cullman County District Attorney and chief prosecutor John S. Bryant, defendant Brad Meeks, defense attorney Brandon Little and defense attorney Johnny Berry. (W.C. Mann for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – After a marathon “voir dire,” or jury selection process, that began Monday morning, a jury was officially seated at 7:01 p.m. Monday evening in the trial of Bradford Neal Meeks, 29, of Bremen.

Meeks is charged in the May 7, 2017 death of Curtis James Wilson, 15, of Cullman. Meeks was indicted in October 2017 on charges of reckless murder, DUI, DUI with blood alcohol concentration .08 or greater, unsafe lane change, driving on the wrong side of the road, possession of open container of alcoholic beverages in a motor vehicle and third-degree assault. 

Owing to concerns about attention this case has previously drawn, especially in the media, the jury pool was substantially increased, and selection began with 84 prospective jurors in the circuit courtroom of Judge Gregory Nicholas.

Assistant District Attorney John Bryant, chief prosecutor in the case, questioned prospective jurors about their professions and families, and asked about any connections to the defendant, defense team or DA’s office or alleged victims. He asked them if they drink or if they are non-drinkers, their opinions on DUI laws, if they have ever been crime victims and if they have ever had confrontations with law enforcement.

In the afternoon, defense attorney Johnny Berry questioned prospective jurors about social media activity, if they read local newspaper coverage about the incident that led to the charges and whether or not they are familiar with Curt’s Closet, the nonprofit Wilson’s mom Ashley Wilson founded in 2018. They were asked if they are members of any churches, organizations or businesses that have raised funds for Curt’s Closet or if they have children who attend schools that have done fundraisers for Curt’s Closet. Also asked were if any are related to or know local law enforcement officers or have been in an automobile accident.

The jury was officially seated at 7:01 p.m. There are 12 jurors and two alternates.

Opening statements are set to begin sometime after 10 a.m. Tuesday.

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W.C. Mann

craig@cullmantribune.com