Jury selected in first Club Blu trial, opening statements to begin on Wednesday

Reporter: Emma Heaton
Kierra Russ

The fight for justice for the families of two teens killed in a shooting continues.

Kierra Russ is the first of five defendants who will face a jury in the deaths of Stef’An Strawder and Sean Archilles, who were killed in the 2016 Club Blu shooting that injured 14 others.

It took about six hours to seat a jury for Russ’ trial. All six of the jurors and two alternates are white. Opening statements are set to begin on Wednesday morning.

Judge Nick Thompson told jurors they had one mission: “Fair and impartial on both sides.”

Russ is charged with second-degree murder and conspiracy in the July 2016 Club Blu shooting.

Jurors were questioned about whether they had law enforcement officers in their family and if someone close to them has ever been a victim of crime.

“Does everyone understand as she sits here, Ms. Russ sits here she is thought to be innocent,” the defense attorney said.

Russ never fired a weapon that killed Strawder, 18, or 14-year-old Archilles, but prosecutors accuse her of tipping off members of the 1Way gang that members of their rival gang The Bottom Boys were about to leave Club Blu.

Gunfire erupted moments later.

Neither Strawder nor Archilles were affiliated with any gang.

If convicted, Russ faces life in prison.

Four others are awaiting trial. That includes Tajze Battle, Derrick Church, Don Loggins and Demetrius O’Neal. Each faces two counts of second-degree murder and one count of conspiracy to commit murder. Police say all four of them were members of the 1Way gang.

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