Jury selection begins in murder trial of Dalhousie student

Jury selection began Tuesday in the first-degree murder trial of William Sandeson.

He's charged in the August 2015 death of Taylor Samson, a Dalhousie University student.

Because of pretrial publicity, prospective jurors are being questioned on what they've heard about the case, and whether they can set that aside and concentrate only on the evidence.

A larger-than-usual jury pool was summoned Tuesday to the Nova Scotia Supreme Court. Hundreds of people crowded the second floor of the Law Courts building, filling two courtrooms and spilling into the adjacent lobby.

By the end of the first day, six jurors — three men and three women — had been selected. A total of 14 jurors plus two alternates are required before the trial can begin.

The Crown read a list of some 30 potential witnesses to identify potential conflicts for would-be jury members. The list was comprised mostly of police officers but also includes members of Sandeson's family and Samson's mother.

Justice Josh Arnold told the jury pool the trial was expected to take 32 court days, which means it would stretch into June. That news prompted muffled groans from some people in the room.

Samson's body has not been found. Police have not released details about how they believe the Amherst, N.S., man was killed.

At the time of his death, Samson was a physics student at Dalhousie University. Sandeson had just been accepted as a medical student at the university when he was charged.

The CBC's Blair Rhodes liveblogged from court.