RIPLEY -- The process of choosing a jury to try Troy Anthony Eaton on murder and aggravated assault charges was expected to begin Tuesday, Sept. 21 in Tippah County Circuit Court.

Jury selection was being held at the Tippah County Fairgrounds. The trial is expected to occupy the bulk of the one-week court term. The presiding judge will be Hon. Kelly Luther.

Eaton, of Rienzi, was indicted on 2nd degree murder and aggravated assault charges by a Tippah County Grand Jury during its Oct. 17, 2019 session. Eaton, 43, is charged with fatally shooting off-duty state trooper Josh Smith, 32, of Alcorn County and shooting and wounding Ricky Vick, 38, of Michigan City in September, 2018.

The situation happened in the rural area of Big Hatchie Bottom near the Alcorn/Tippah County line.

Tippah County Coroner Chris McCallister said it appeared that Eaton was sitting inside a vehicle on the passenger side when he allegedly shot and killed Smith. It appeared Smith was standing outside the vehicle when he was shot once in the head/face area, McCallister said.

Authorities were called to the shooting about 12:45 a.m. Sept. 30.

Smith had been a trooper since 2007.

According to state law, a second-degree murder conviction is punishable by 20 years to life. An aggravated assault conviction is punishable by up to 20 years.

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