Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

Local News

July 1, 2014

Jury process begins for Hammer trial — The sometimes long and grueling process of picking a jury began Monday morning as the trial officially got underway for an Elmore City man accused in a grisly murder.

Justin Hammer, 32, appeared relaxed while talking with a defense attorney as the jury selection began in a Garvin County District courtroom in Pauls Valley.

It was a couple of years ago when Hammer was formally accused of firing the gunshots that killed Brandon Duran in the summer of 2012.

From there the first-degree murder case gets even darker as the defendant is accused of dismembering Duran’s body in a bloody scene inside of Hammer’s residence.

Containers holding different parts of the body were later found in a pond on Hammer’s property.

Hammer’s day in court finally arrived as the largest courtroom here was packed full of prospective jurors.

The first of the random selection of names began in the late morning hours after the dozens of individuals were given a kind of orientation into the process of jury trials.

Leading that process early on was District Judge Greg Dixon, who was quick to thank the Garvin County residents for being a part of the local judicial system.

“You are vital to the administration of justice in our system,” Dixon said.

“Without you we couldn’t do this. I’m appreciative of your service.”

Hammer, wearing a long sleeve shirt and blue jeans, was joined by his attorneys Kelsie Lewis and Michael Haggerty.

Prosecutors in this case are assistant district attorneys Tara Portillo of the Garvin County office and Jennifer Austin of Norman.

The judge reminded prospective jurors they needed to come into the process with an “open mind.”

“You shouldn’t discuss this case with anyone, including your family friends,” Dixon said. “It’s important this case be decided solely on the evidence.

“It’s question and answer time,” he said about the start of jury selection.

“Basically we’re trying to get to know you better. The purpose of these questions is to get a fair jury.”

Adding to the scene was the tighter security measures in place as county deputies were using hand-held metal detectors to check most visitors to the courthouse.

Deputies were also conducting checks of bags and various other things being brought into portion of the building.

Text Only
Local News
  • Senior Housing Addition Senior housing gets first tenants

    The time is now for the official day one of a senior housing project as work continues to move forward on the west side of Pauls Valley.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bob's Pig Shop Fire Bob's Pig Shop Fire


    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • A school election that is no more

    First there was an election date, now there’s not as Wynnewood school officials are starting over searching for a new plan to address building needs.

    July 28, 2014

  • Dancing VBS Good times for VBS volunteers

    Summer can provide a plethora of enriching opportunities for kids with plenty of time to spend. One of the most popular avenues has always been the good old-fashioned vacation Bible school.

    July 25, 2014 3 Photos

  • Pup up for adoption 7-25-14 Pauls Valley Pup up for Adoption


    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • One hurt in head-on wreck

    Authorities are not sure what caused a vehicle to veer to the left resulting in a head-on collision near Hennepin early Wednesday.

    July 25, 2014

  • Winners plentiful at peach festival

    With no shortage of visitors making the Stratford Peach Festival a summer destination, it was a win-win situation for all parties this past weekend.

    July 24, 2014

  • Indian Meridian and Grant Wreck Indian Meridian and Grant Wreck


    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Search on for new 911 boss

    The search for a replacement is now on after it was announced the coordinator of Garvin County’s 911 center is stepping down.

    July 24, 2014

  • Stratford Peach Festival 2014 PeachFest draws big crowd

    Unseasonably comfortable weather, a day full of family fun and one of the best fruit crops in recent years. Mix that together and you have one of the best-attended Stratford Peach Festival’s on record.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

Business Marquee

  • How You Want It When You Want It Today's Pauls Valley Democrat

    Now you can view and download the Democrat right to your desktop on the day the paper is published. Click here to get more information on the Democrat's e-Edition.





    e-mail request to

    April 20, 2011 1 Photo 1 Link

AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow