Jury selection began Tuesday in the capital murder trial of a man accused of fatally shooting a Lee’s Discount Liquor clerk inside a southwest valley store.
Matthew Christensen, 24, was killed when he could not open a safe in April 2016 during a robbery captured on surveillance video. Ray Charles “Ray Ray” Brown, 26, is accused of being the gunman.
Brown faces charges of murder, robbery with a deadly weapon, first-degree kidnapping, burglary while in possession of a firearm, coercion with a deadly weapon, conspiracy to commit robbery and assault with a deadly weapon.
If the jury convicts him of first-degree murder, the same panel would be tasked with deciding whether he should receive the death penalty.
Two brothers were sentenced in November for their roles in the robbery and killing.
Lee Dominic Sykes, 24, who pleaded guilty to first-degree murder with a deadly weapon, was sentenced to between 25 and 65 years in prison. He, too, had faced capital punishment before striking a deal with prosecutors.
His older brother, Lee Murray Sykes, 26, who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and robbery charges, was sentenced to 15 to 40 years behind bars.
Authorities have said that Christensen, about two weeks shy of his 25th birthday, was killed when the Sykes brothers and their childhood friend, Brown, demanded that he open a safe inside the store. The clerk did not have access to it, but his pregnant manager in another part of the store did.
At the sentencing hearing for the Sykes brothers, Christensen’s family said he was working three jobs at the time of his death to purchase a new car. He was studying to become an architect and had planned to quit his job at the liquor store on his 25th birthday.
Jury selection in Brown’s trial is expected to last several days.