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2nd Dragging Trial Begins

Jury selection began Tuesday in the murder trial of a second white man accused of dragging a black man to his death in Jasper, Texas last year.

Twenty prospective jurors for the case against Lawrence Russell Brewer were dismissed for legal or health reasons. Those who remained were given a three-page questionnaire to fill out. Individual questioning is scheduled to begin Wednesday.

It is the same crime, with many of the same characters, reports CBS News Correspondent Bob McNamara. But now it is ex-con Brewer's turn to face a possible death sentence for his role in the brutal killing of 49-year-old James Byrd Jr.

"Every now and then you run across an individual that's so bad, so dangerous, that [the death penalty] is about the only sensible alternative. It's about all you can do in this case, and we'll seek it," said prosecuting attorney James Gray.

Already, John William King has been sentenced to death for Byrd's murder, and evidence weighs heavily against Brewer, his one time prison cellmate.

"Anyone in the state of Texas that's charged with a crime is presumed to be innocent and Mr. Brewer has entered a plea of not guilty," said defense attorney Doug Barlow.

While the Brewer trial was moved 150 miles from Jasper to Bryan because of all the media coverage of the killing and the first trial, much of the same evidence will be seen again. The evidence includes the chain the killers used to lash James Byrd to the back of a truck and the pickup used to drag him. Also included will be the FBI video tracing the back road down which Byrd was dragged more than three miles before he was decapitated.

Byrd's family has decided they will attend the second trial. They sat through the first one. "Its just like living through the same nightmare over and over again, but we'll make it," said Byrd's sister Clara Taylor.

Security is for the Bryan trial unprecedented, born of fears the same Klan and Black Panther groups that grabbed attention in Jasper could come here.

"This is going to be one of the best secured courthouse squares in the state of Texas and we are prepared for whatever might come," said Chris Kirk of the Bryan police.

As Jasper, Texas still struggles to put a hate crime behind it, a verdict in Lawrence Russell Brewer's trial will not end a nightmare. Shawn Berry, the third and last man accused of the Byrd murder, is now demanding his trial be held in Jasper -- publicity or not.

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