GALLUP >> Attorneys on Wednesday selected a jury for the John Mayes murder trial.
Mayes' trial began Wednesday at the McKinley County District Courthouse in Gallup. The first day was spent selecting and swearing in the jury.
Opening statements will start early Thursday morning.
Mayes, 20, is accused of beating Dr. James Nordstrom to death with a pool cue stick on June 9, 2011, in the doctor's home in the Farmington Foothills neighborhood. Mayes was arrested the next day while driving Nordstrom's card.
Prosecutors are seeking a first-degree murder conviction, which could carry a life sentence.
Mayes' attorneys are expected to argue that Nordstrom's unwanted sexual advances provoked Mayes and the then-17-year-old acted in self defense.
District Judge William Birdsall moved the trial from Aztec to Gallup after Mayes' attorneys filed a motion for a change of venue because of San Juan County residents' familiarity with the case.
The move was made after a survey of potential jurors showed 60 percent had knowledge and opinions about the case, said Stephen Taylor, one of Mayes' attorney.
The Gallup residents in the jury pool had little knowledge of the slaying, Taylor said. Of about 140 potential jurors, only six had knowledge of the case, he said.
"It was not a problem picking a jury here," said Chief Deputy District Attorney Brent Capshaw.
Mayes is charged with murder, aggravated burglary, tampering with evidence, unlawful taking of a motor vehicle, fraudulent use of a credit card and attempted residential burglary.
On Wednesday, Birdsall gave 15 jurors -- 12 jurors and three alternates -- instructions for the trial, which is expected to last until the end of next week.
"We've got quite a few days and quite a bit of information before you are going to be anywhere close to having enough information to decide the case," Birdsall said.
Mayes is the adopted son of Farmington City Manager Rob Mayes.
Several of Nordstrom's friends and family attended court on Wednesday. None of Mayes' relatives were present.Ryan Boetel covers crime for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644 and email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @rboetel on Twitter.