Jury selection for the murder trial of a local man accused of shooting his friend in the head in April 2014 is tentatively set for March.
James Jeffrey Stubbs, 53, B. Stubbs Road, is accused of shooting Keith Wesley Brannen in the head April 22, 2014, at Stubbs’ home in Clito.
After almost two years, the case is expected to go to trial after jury selection March 23.
Members of both Stubbs’ and Brannen’s families were present Tuesday as a sheriff’s deputy led a handcuffed Stubbs into the courtroom.
Part of the delay in moving to trial is the fact that Stubbs, first represented by Statesboro attorney Sims Lanier and currently by Atlanta-based attorney Brian Steele, last March appealed a Toombs County judge’s decision to deny his request to have a previous felony conviction set aside. The appeal was denied Jan. 11.
Stubbs was convicted of felony marijuana possession more than 20 years ago in Toombs County, and that conviction factors into his current Bulloch County charges of felony murder and possession of a gun by a convicted felon, according to Ogeechee Judicial Circuit Assistant District Attorney Michael Muldrew, who is prosecuting the case.
Stubbs’ attorney filed motions with the Middle Judicial Circuit earlier this year in efforts to have the felony marijuana conviction, which took place in the late 1980s, set aside, he said.
Brannen was at Stubbs’ home around 9:45 p.m.
April 22, 2014, when an argument occurred, and Stubbs reportedly shot him, according to Bulloch County sheriff’s reports.
Sheriff’s patrol deputies found Brannen on the ground with a shotgun blast to the back and top of his head. Stubbs was found inside the home and taken into custody. Investigators questioned witnesses who were at the scene when the shooting occurred, including a juvenile.
Brannen died days later in a Savannah hospital.
Stubbs has a lengthy history of arrests in Bulloch and other counties, according to Bulloch County Jail records. While many records are sealed by the state because of recent privacy law changes, public record shows Stubbs was arrested several times on battery charges, including incidents in November 1999 and January 2002.
Unless something occurs to affect the tentative plans, jury selection for Stubbs’ trial will begin at 9 a.m. March 23, and a trial will possibly take place the week after Easter, according to discussion in court Tuesday between Lanier, Steele, Muldrew and Bulloch County Superior Court Judge F. Gates Peed.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.