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Jury selection underway in capital murder case; death penalty sought

James Joseph Luckenbach, 33, of Lampasas

James Joseph Luckenbach, 33, of Lampasas faces capital murder charges in the deaths of Amanda and Frank Whittemore of Horseshoe Bay. The Whittemores were killed in August 2021. Jury selection is underway in Burnet for the July 17 trial. Burnet County Jail photo

A lengthy jury selection process began on Monday, May 8, in the capital murder trial of 33-year-old James Joseph Luckenbach of Lampasas. District Attorney Wiley “Sonny” McAfee is seeking the death penalty in the case. Capital murder is a first-degree felony and the only crime in Texas that is punishable by death.

Luckenbach was arrested on Sept. 2, 2021, and charged with murder in the deaths of husband and wife Frank and Amanda Whittemore, ages 42 and 39 respectively. Jury selection will continue for 28 more dates. The trial is set to begin on July 17.

Several hundred potential jurors gathered Monday in the AgriLife Auditorium, 607 Vandeveer St. in Burnet. Of those, 12 will eventually be chosen to hear evidence in Luckenbach’s case. The gravity of the case warranted the large jury pool for voir dire, in which the presiding judge and representing attorneys choose the jury.

District Judge J. Allan Garrett of the 33rd Judicial District is presiding over Luckenbach’s case. The defendant is being represented by Austin C. Shell of Shell & Shell Attorneys at Law.

2 thoughts on “Jury selection underway in capital murder case; death penalty sought

  1. I cannot understand why it takes almost 3 years to try a murder suspect. Do defense attorneys, postpone in hopes of witness testimonies with fading memories?

    1. Exactly! There is no judicial justice in America anymore…

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