JURY SEATED FOR GROVES-HICKS MURDER TRIAL - Opening Statements, Testimony Starts

By Bob Weaver

The Groves-Hicks double murder case got underway yesterday in Calhoun Circuit Court in Grantsville with the selection of jurors.

Sand Ridge resident Ronnie Allen Rush is standing trial for the deaths of Ward Groves and his ex-wife Mary Hicks.

The couple were brutally killed by shotgun blasts on May 14, 2003 as they slept in a house Groves had purchased along US 33-119, not far from the Gilmer County line.

Rush appeared in a dress suit, minus shackles and the familiar orange inmate issue. He is also charged with robbery, burglary and grand larceny.

Authorities contend Rush committed the murders over money, a large amount of cash inherited by Groves from his brother.

A jury was chosen yesterday during a process that took most of the day. Prosecutor Matt Minney (pictured left) said 75 prospective jurors had been called, with 12 jurors and two alternatives seated by the close of the day.

Judge Thomas Evans III interviewed the jurors in his chambers, using a selection process that eliminates jurors that have pre-conceived opinions about the case.

"We will begin taking testimony Tuesday," following opening statements, said Minney. He has supenoed 12-14 individuals to testify for the state.

Defense attorney Shannon Baldwin (pictured left) is representing Rush, who was a 16-year-old juvenile when the murders were committed.

Judge Evans ruled earlier this year that Rush should be tried as an adult. He is now 18.

The trial is expected to take most of the week.

TV news and reporters covered what has been
described as one of Calhoun's most gruesome murders