Jury selection begins next week in Mendenhall murder trial

Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 4:22pm

Jury selection in the murder trial of Bruce Mendenhall is set to begin next Thursday, just ahead of the May 10 start date.

On Tuesday, Criminal Court Judge Steve Dozier denied a motion from the defense to exclude statements made by Mendenhall in a recorded phone conversation. Jury selection is expected to stretch over Thursday and Friday — May 6 and 7 — with opening statements in the trial beginning the following Monday.

Long-haul truck driver Mendenhall, 59, of Albion, Ill., is charged with the June 2007 murder of Sara Nicole Hulbert at a north Nashville truck stop. Wilson County law enforcement officials have also charged Mendenhall in the murder of Symantha Winters in June 2007, after her body showed up in a trashcan at a Lebanon truck stop.

According to Metro police spokeswoman Kristin Mumford, Mendenhall is a suspect in several other murders in Alabama, Kentucky and Georgia.

The defense filed a motion March 29 alleging court errors in Mendenhall’s case and claiming some of Mendenhall’s statements to police were obtained in violation of his constitutional rights.