COURTNEY COCO CASE: Jury selection in David Burns trial tries to weed out those with opinions about the case

Jury selection could last the entire week in the Rapides Parish courthouse
Published: Oct. 25, 2022 at 3:13 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 25, 2022 at 4:20 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - Jury selection is underway for David Anthony Burns, 46 of Boyce. He’s charged with second-degree murder for the October 2004 death of Courtney Coco, 19 of Alexandria.

The trial for Burns is expected to last two weeks, and jury selection could take the entire first week. By all indications of the first day of questioning on Tuesday, Oct. 25, that’s likely to be the case.

Coco’s body was found in an abandoned building in Winnie, Texas on Oct. 4, 2004. Detectives said she was strangled and believe that her body was wrapped in her comforter and dumped in Texas. It is believed that Coco may have died the day before. Prosecutors have said that Burns was in a relationship with Coco’s sister and allege that he was also seeing Coco.

The case largely remained cold for nearly 17 years, at which time Burns was indicted by a Rapides Parish grand jury on April 13, 2021. In 2019, a true crime podcast was released, entitled “Real Life Real Crime: Who Murdered Courtney Coco?” The podcast attempted to answer the question of who killed Coco and included interviews with her family.

Since the release of the podcast and the news of his arrest in 2021, the case has garnered a significant following in the community - through both social media and news outlets.

The first panel of potential jurors gathered on Monday consisted of 20 people and took most of the afternoon to sort through.

Of that first panel, about 15 people knew something about the case. While some were only vaguely aware of the case through news articles and broadcasts, a few were more informed. Five of those potential jurors claimed that they would be unable to be impartial in the case, meaning that they would be unable to find Burns “not guilty” if the State failed to prove its case.

Three potential jurors had listened to at least some of the podcast. One potential juror knew Coco’s mother and one of her aunts personally. One other person knew Burns and said it wasn’t a good relationship. One potential juror simply said, “I don’t think you can unhear what you have heard.”

A second panel of potential jurors was asked to report back to the courthouse at 2 p.m. on Monday.

The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant District Attorney Hugo Holland and Assistant District Attorney Johnny Giordano. Burns is represented by public defenders Christopher LaCour and Willie Stephens. Judge Mary Doggett is presiding.

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