Opening arguments in square dancer’s capital murder trial start Tuesday

Miller County Courthouse

Prosecutors and defense lawyers are scheduled to present opening arguments Tuesday in the capital murder trial of a 67-year-old woman accused of killing a woman in her square dance club.

Virginia Ann Hyatt allegedly thought Patricia Wheelington, 59, was responsible for the trouble in her decades-long marriage. Both women were members of the Guys and Dolls Square Dancing Club.

Wheelington was found shot to death Dec. 3, 2013 on the front porch of her Valley Road home in Texarkana, Ark. Hyatt claims she is innocent but prosecutors allege Hyatt had made threats to Wheelington in the days before the shooting and carried them out with planning.

Virginia Ann Hyatt
Virginia Ann Hyatt

A jury of nine men and three women were chosen Monday afternoon to decide if Hyatt is guilty of capital murder. Two male alternates were selected as well after a full day of jury selection at the Miller County courthouse.

Hyatt is represented by Texarkana lawyers Damon Young, John Pickett and Bruce Condit. Prosecuting Attorney Stephanie Black and Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Chuck Black are prosecuting the case.

Because the state is not seeking the death penalty, Hyatt faces life without the possibility of parole if convicted of capital murder. The trial is expected to last all week.

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