Jury chosen Monday in Miller County murder trial

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A jury of eight men and four women was selected Monday in the trial of a Texarkana man accused of murder stemming from a 2016 nightclub shooting.

LaJason Jaquize Coakley, 24, is accused of shooting 25-year-old Montel Waller once in the chest Aug. 20, 2016, at the Paradise Club in Texarkana, Ark. Waller died Sept. 12, 2016, in a local hospital.

Coakley was on parole at the time of the shooting. Coakley was sentenced to 10 years in prison in June 2014 for shooting at a crowd of people in Texarkana, Ark., during 2013 with an assault rifle, according to court records. One of the people Coakley went to prison for firing at was Waller. Coakley was paroled in August 2015.

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According to reports in the 2013 shooting, Coakley was motivated by a Texas versus Arkansas rivalry. Coakley is from Texarkana, Ark., while Waller’s family is from Texarkana, Texas.

Coakley is charged with first-degree murder in Waller’s death. The offense is punishable by 10 to 40 years or life in prison. Prosecuting Attorney Stephanie Black has filed notice that her office is seeking to treat Coakley as a habitual offender and enhance the punishment range he faces to as much as life without parole.

Opening statements from the state and defense are expected to begin Tuesday morning. Black and Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Kristian Robertson are representing the state. Texarkana attorney Jeff Harrelson represents Coakley and Cicuit Judge Brent Haltom is presiding over the trial.

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