Continuance granted for James Calvert defense; jury selection be - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Continuance granted for James Calvert defense; jury selection begins Thursday

James Calvert in court (Source: KLTV staff) James Calvert in court (Source: KLTV staff)
TYLER, TX (KLTV) - A continuance was granted in the capital murder trial of James Calvert during a pretrial hearing Wednesday afternoon.

The latest hearing got underway with Calvert addressing the Smith County District Attorney's Office's decision to pursue the death penalty. Calvert argued against the possibility by citing a list of chemicals used in the execution process by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice; none of which are currently used. The state uses pentobarbital, which was not included in the list.

Calvert later argued the use of the drug, saying injection chemicals affect people differently, saying "death is not a light switch."

"Lethal injection is a good idea, if you want to kill somebody," Calvert chuckled in court Wednesday.

Calvert complained Smith County Judge Jack Skeen, Jr. was "short-circuiting" him.

"You don't sit in here and dictate the proceedings," said Skeen. 

Calvert has a history of disruptions and arguing during court proceedings. He was held in contempt Tuesday, which threatened his ability to represent himself during his capital murder trial.

Calvert is accused of killing his ex-wife and kidnapping their son in October of 2012. Smith County DA Matt Bingham has said they intend to seek the death penalty in the case. Calvert is pleading not guilty by reason of insanity.

Bingham offered Calvert a continuance to seek a mental health evaluation for his insanity motion, which was filed months ago, but never received expert testimony for his case. Calvert agreed to the terms.

Despite the agreement, jury selection is still scheduled to begin Thursday. Opening statements have been rescheduled to begin August 25.

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