MELROSE, Fla. – A high-profile murder trial in Putnam County was delayed Monday because of an issue with the jury, but shortly after 6 p.m., a jury was selected.
Mark Wilson Jr., who is accused of murdering two young boys in 2020, was scheduled to appear in court Monday for the beginning of his trial, during which prosecutors said they are determined to seek the death penalty if he is convicted.
Wilson, who was 30 at the time, was arrested and later indicted on two counts of first-degree murder in connection to the deaths of Tayten Baker, 14, and his 12-year-old brother Robert Baker, who were killed with a knife and a hammer.
It is unclear what the issue with the jury was, but jury selection for the trial began last week and led to another day.
Potential jurors were dismissed because they said they heard about the case on the news or around town, and at least one potential juror was dismissed because they didn’t think they’d be able to sentence someone to death.
Wilson was the boyfriend of the boys’ aunt. The couple was staying in a shed on the property where the Baker family lived, according to the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office.
According to the arrest report, he admitted to killing the two boys during a phone call that had been secretly recorded by investigators. Wilson said he felt the boy’s family was trying to put “stress” on his family by reporting them to the Department of Children and Family Services. It is unclear as to why the Baker family called DCF.
The Sheriff’s Office also said Wilson told a witness he had conspired with his girlfriend to kill the boys’ family. However, she was never charged, and a family member said she had nothing to do with the planning of the murders.
Court will be back in session at 9 a.m. Tuesday.
The judge said Monday the trial is expected to last all week and they will be off next week with the possibility of the trial picking back up Oct. 24.