BARSTOW Jury selection is underway in the trial of a 20-year-old Barstow man accused of killing a Barstow woman and setting her home on fire after a burglary gone wrong last December.

Thomas Deshawn Reed is charged with murder, robbery, burglary, two counts of sexual penetration with a foreign object, arson and vehicle theft. Potential jurors for Reed's trial will return to the Barstow courthouse for further questioning Friday. Deputy district attorney Sean Daugherty and deputy public defender Scott Seeley first saw the jurors on July 27. Seeley said the jurors filled out questionnaires and some were released due to hardships.

Reed's charges are connected to the Dec. 12, 2008 death of Evelyn Scott, 58. Scott's body was found inside her home by firefighters that responded to a fire on Arbor Way.

Barstow Police Department Det. Leo Griego testified during an April 9 preliminary hearing that Scott's autopsy showed that she had suffered multiple injuries due to blunt force trauma and the cause of death was ruled to be "homicidal violence." She had other injuries that also led detectives to believe she had been sexually assaulted.

Barstow Det. Keith Libby testified during the preliminary hearing that Scott's son, Adam, told him that Reed came by Scott's Arbor Way home on Dec. 11 to ask for a ride. Other witnesses also recalled seeing Reed on the street on Dec. 11 and 12, Libby said during the preliminary hearing.

Libby also testified during the preliminary hearing that Scott's car was missing from her garage after the fire, but was found on Lance Drive. He said a set of footprints led from the car to an apartment complex on Virginia Way where Reed was living at the time.

Barstow authorities charged Reed with Scott's death in January while he was serving time for an unrelated burglary conviction in Riverside. Reed turned himself in for sentencing for that burglary conviction in Riverside County on Dec. 16, 2008.

Reed is currently being held at the West Valley Detention Center on $5 million bail.

Contact the writer:
(760) 256-4126 or dheldreth@desertdispatch.com