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Man goes on trial for murdering Virginia State Trooper Junius Walker

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Posted at 12:44 PM, Jul 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-12 02:55:19-04

DINWIDDIE COUNTY, Va. -- Jury selection began Monday in the capital murder trial of Russell Brown.

Brown, 31, is accused of killing Virginia State Master Trooper Junius Walker on Interstate 85 in March 2013.

About 300 potential jurors will be called to court for screening.

Many of those questioned in the first session Monday knew Trooper Walker, or at least his story.

In addition to asking those jurors about Walker, lawyers are asking them about their opinions on the death penalty.

Brown's attorney tried to convince the judge to delay Brown's trial in the wake of the fatal shootings of five officers in Dallas, Texas. The judge denied that request.

Brown shot and killed Walker, 63, after the trooper pulled beside a disabled vehicle on the shoulder of southbound Interstate 85 in Dinwiddie, investigators said.

Brown was initially deemed  mentally unfit to stand trial.

After his capture, Russell Brown told state police that God told him to shoot and kill Walker, according to a court document. Brown also turned to the interviewing trooper and said that the trooper was the next to die.

According to the warrant, Brown told troopers he smoked marijuana on March 7, the day of the shooting. Police said found residue of a "green leafy substance" in the vehicle Brown was driving. Police also found a magazine containing two live rounds inside the car, according to the warrant.

Police said they spoke with Brown's grandmother who said she'd spoken to Russell recently and that over the last month or so he'd been talking about the bible and not making much sense. She said that was unlike her grandson, the warrant indicated.

In March 2015 he was ruled competent to stand trial Friday and his mental health review was terminated.

The trial was expected to last four weeks.