Jury seated in trial involving alleged racially motivated attack
BATON ROUGE- A jury was seated late Monday afternoon in the trial for a man accused of beating a white man because he was "in the wrong neighborhood."
Donald Dickerson allegedly beat David Ray so badly two years ago, Ray suffered a broken nose, fractured face and broken eye socket.
Prosecutors claim Dickerson told Ray and his family, they were "in the wrong neighborhood" when they stopped at a gas station near the Governor's Mansion.
"What we are focusing on now is guilt or innocence," Prosecutor Barry Fontenot said. "We will deal with the rest of it in the future. Right now, we are trying to hold him accountable for his actions at the station."
Dickerson is facing a life in prison sentence if convicted. The District Attorney's Office has said it will seek to have Dickerson sentenced as a habitual offender due to his prior run ins with the law.
He has convictions for purse snatching and armed robbery.
Dickerson's lawyer believes the District Attorney's Office is going overboard. In March he told WBRZ this, "He's fighting for his life because Hillar Moore wants to put him away the rest of his life based on what he's done int he past and that's not fair," Bernard Blair said. "This was just a fight."
However, prosecutors see this much differently and want to see jurors execute swift justice.
"We need to get this handled," Fontenot said. "It's time for the Ray family to put this behind them, and we will help them do that."
Opening statements begin Tuesday morning.