Duval County

New trial starts for men on death row for burying Jacksonville couple alive in 2005

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Jury selection began Monday for two men sent to death row for kidnapping, robbing and murdering an elderly Jacksonville couple 17 years ago.

According to the medical examiner, Reggie and Carol Sumner were buried alive in Charlton County, Georgia, back in 2005.


Four people were convicted in the couple’s murder and three are on death row, including Alan Wade and Michael Jackson.

Wade and Jackson’s convictions remain, but a jury could change their punishment.

A total of 70 jurors were brought into the Duval County Courthouse for jury selection.

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Attorneys for both the defendants and the state asked potential jurors’ beliefs about the death penalty.

Wade and Jackson were also in the courtroom and a jury will decide whether they are sentenced to death or if they will get life in prison.

Both men and a third suspect, Tiffany Cole, are on death row. A fourth suspect, Bruce Nixon, took a plea deal and is currently serving a 45-year prison sentence.

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The Sumners were reported missing in 2005 by their daughter. The elderly couple were kidnapped from their St. Nicholas home, driven to ATMs to withdraw money, then buried alive in Charlton County, where they were later found dead.

The Florida Supreme Court tossed out the death sentences because they were not unanimous. This time, the jury will have to decide unanimously.

Opening statements are expected to begin Thursday.

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