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Jury selection begins in Scott murder trial

by: Columbia County Sheriff's Office, Scott N. Scott — Defense will argue that Scott suffered from “extreme emotional disturbance” at time of 2006 shooting

Jury selection began this week in the murder trial of Scott Nolan Scott, the St. Helens man accused in the shooting death of Ronald Overstreet in 2006.

The 12-person jury trial is expected run eight days starting on April 8.

Scappoose police arrested Scott in the basement of Cari Newell's Scappoose home in March 2006. Both Scott and Overstreet are from St. Helens, and Scott was transferred into the custody of the St. Helens Police Department shortly after his arrest.

Columbia County District Attorney Stephen Atchison said he does not foresee any problems selecting a jury for the trial.

'We had no problem in the last three murder trials,' he said. 'I don't see why this one should be any different.'

Atchison said that he does expect the trial to take up the full two weeks. Jenny Cooke, Scott's defense attorney, said it could even go longer.

'I fully expect it to take eight days or more,' Cooke said.

Court records point to Scott's extensive illegal drug use, including ingestion of LSD, methamphetamine and nitroglycerin, in the days leading up to the crime.

Cooke said her defense will address questions about whether Scott suffered from 'extreme emotional disturbance' at the time of the crime.

'I have given notice to raise that defense,' she said from her Oregon City office.

One victory already scored for the Scott defense occurred in September, when the Oregon Supreme Court ruled that statements made by Scott to St. Helens police officers shortly after his arrest were inadmissible as court evidence.

The inadmissibility of his statements was based on the high court's ruling that the officers violated Scott's Miranda rights when they continued to question him following his request for an attorney.

Many of the questions posed to Scott by the officers were of a clarifying character. At one point, however, St. Helens Police Sgt. Charles Keller questioned Scott about his viewing of a TV news report after Scott had asked for an attorney.

Later in the interrogation, Scott waived his request. But the Supreme Court ruled that all questions should have ceased.

Initially, Columbia County Circuit Judge Berkeley Smith said he would allow the statements. But a follow-up argument by Cooke convinced Smith otherwise, and he overturned his earlier decision.

The Columbia County District Attorney's Office appealed that decision to the high court, which came down in favor of the defense.

Atchison said he doubts those statements will effect the trial's final outcome.

'It shouldn't too much,' he said. 'You know, you deal with the evidence you have.'