Jurors chosen in Rodney West murder trial

DOVER — Lawyers spent three hours Monday afternoon evaluating nearly 70 candidates before choosing the jury that will decide Rodney West’s fate.

Opening statements are scheduled for 9:30 a.m. today in the murder trial of Mr. West, 54, who is accused of fatally shooting Derrick Combs, 39, when confronted on Aug. 28, 2018.

Dover resident Mr. West — who pleaded not guilty while claiming self defense — had just finished his work shift as a custodian at Towne Point Elementary School when he was confronted by Mr. Combs on Aug. 28, 2018.

Seven women and five men were selected to the jury, while three women and a man were chosen as alternates when the process concluded around 4:40 p.m.

Rodney West

Following a 911 call, Mr. Combs was found dead from multiple gunshot wounds by arriving Dover Police at the school located at 629 Buckson Drive, authorities said. On Sept. 4, 2018, Mr. West was apprehended by U.S. Marshals in Montgomery County, Maryland, and extradited to Delaware.

Mr. West rejected a plea offer to manslaughter earlier this month.
He’s also charged with possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, which would have been dropped as part of the deal.

Lawyers did not disclose what prison time would have been sought for manslaughter and Mr. West faces the possibility of lifetime maximum incarceration.
Dover Police said Mr. West and Mr. Combs knew each other at the time of the alleged incident.

Deputy Attorneys General Gregory R. Babowal and Sean A. Motoyoshi are prosecuting the case, with attorney Joseph A. Hurley representing Mr. West. Superior Court Judge Noel Eason Primos will oversee the proceedings.

Mr. West is being held in custody by the Delaware Department of Correction. He was indicted on Dec. 19, 2018.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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