The process of selecting a jury in the retrial of a man charged in the killing of a Myrtle Beach police officer began Monday and will continue Tuesday.
Jurors spent Monday answering basic questions about themselves and will continue to do so until attorneys have agreed upon a panel for the trial of 36-year-old Luzenski Allen Cottrell of Myrtle Beach.
It is unclear when a jury may be selected to hear testimony and evidence in the case.
Cottrell is set to face the new jury in the shooting death of Joe McGarry, a Myrtle Beach police officer killed in the line of duty on Dec. 29, 2002.
Attorneys in the latest trial of Cottrell are under a gag order issued by Circuit Court Judge Larry Hyman, which prohibits prosecutors, defense attorneys and others from publicly speaking about the case.
McGarry was 28 when he was shot once in the face while he stood outside a Dunkin Donuts shop. He had been with the Myrtle Beach Police Department just over four years when he was killed.
Cottrell was arrested and charged with murder the night of the shooting.
In April 2005, Cottrell was convicted of murder by a jury and sentenced to death. Cottrell also was convicted for shooting at Myrtle Beach Police Officer Mike Guthinger, who was McGarry’s partner that night.
Cottrell appealed the decision and in January 2008 the S.C. Supreme Court overturned his conviction and death sentence. Justice Costa Pleicones stated that the court erred in not giving jurors the option to convict Cottrell of the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter.
In an unrelated case, five months after his conviction in McGarry’s death, Cottrell and co-defendant, Frederick Halcomb Jr., were each sentenced to life in prison for the November 2002 shooting death of Myrtle Beach resident Michael Jonathan Love in Marion County.
At the time of his shooting, McGarry was the third police officer from Horry County killed in as many years.