Jury seated in Javonte Higgins double murder trial

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- Javonte Higgins was in court Monday morning, for the beginning of his trial. He is accused in the murders of an elderly Kentwood couple.

A nine man, five woman jury was empaneled Monday afternoon. Assistant prosecutor Chris Becker asked the jurors if they understood the concept of circumstantial evidence, and how a case can proceed without eyewitnesses.

Defense attorney Val Foster inquired if the jurors were comfortable with the concept of reasonable doubt. They were.

Opening arguments will begin Tuesday morning.

Javonte Higgins, 23, is charged with two counts of felony murder, one count of home invasion and a weapons charge.

Prosecutors say he killed David and Vivian Bouwman, a couple in their early 80s, after breaking into their home on January 5, 2013. Police later found the Bouwmans' bodies while checking out footsteps in the snow around the home.

An FBI task force, acting on a tip from Grand Rapids Police, captured Higgins in a Chicago suburb on January 18, 2013. Higgins fought extradition, but he was brought back to Michigan in April to stand for charges in a separate Wyoming home invasion.

During his initial court appearance on the Wyoming charges, the judge said Higgins had smeared feces on his face in an effort to keep from going before the bench. He made the court appearance via closed circuit television from the Kent County Jail.

Prosecutors filed murder charges against Higgins in July of last year, after months of work on the case. In October, a judge determined there was enough evidence to send the case to trial in Circuit Court.

The trial before Judge Mark Trusock is expected to last at least one week.

If convicted, Higgins is facing a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole.

WZZM 13 News will have crews following the trial. We'll have updates online and on later editions of WZZM 13 News.


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