Jury selected for accused serial killer’s trial

Jacob Smith • Feb 27, 2018 at 9:39 PM

The jury trial for accused serial killer Bruce Mendenhall began Tuesday morning with jury selection from 56 prospective jurors.

According to criminal court Judge John Wootten, the trial could last as long as five days.

Mendenhall, 66, of Abion, Illinois, was charged with first-degree murder and abuse of a corpse in the 2007 death of Samatha D. Winters, 48, of Lebanon.

Winters’ naked body was found June 6, 2007 in a trashcan at the Pilot Travel Center on Highway 231 in Lebanon.

Mendenhall is already serving a life sentence at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville for the June 26, 2007 killing of Sarah Nicole Hulbert, 25, of Nashville, who was found dead of gunshot wounds at a truck stop north of Nashville.

During questioning in that case, Mendenhall gave a statement that implicated himself in that killing and in Winters’ death. As the investigation unfolded, he then implicated himself in one death in Alabama, one in Georgia and two in Indiana.

A Wilson County grand jury indicted Mendenhall on Aug. 17, 2007 for Winters’ death.

While in jail, Mendenhall received an additional 30-year sentence for trying to hire someone to kill the three associates he had implicated for the killings in his original statement to police.

According to authorities, Mendenhall separately approached two inmates with offers to pay them $15,000 for the killings. One of the killings was a “copycat” crime, designed to lead police to believe the killer was still at large.

In that incident, Mendenhall was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder.

Mendenhall’s trial will resume Wednesday at 9 a.m. in Wilson County criminal court in Wootten’s courtroom at the Criminal Justice Center in Lebanon.

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