Richard Conte (Photo from Nevada Dept. of Correction)
CONWAY, Ark. (KTHV) - Jury selection started Wednesday for a double murder trial, for a case that started nearly eleven years ago. Twelve jurors have now been chosen along with 2 alternates.
Carter Elliott and his friend Timothy Robertson were found murdered inside Elliott's home in May 2002. No one was charged with their deaths until 2011.
"This has probably been the most extensive investigation that we've ever done," said Sgt. Tim Barrett with the Conway Police Dept. "They appeared to have been murdered by gunshot wounds."
Early in the investigation, officers found few clues to lead them to a suspect or explanation of the murders. But about one month after the deaths, a break came in the investigation.
Richard Conte, an emergency room doctor in Nevada, kidnapped his ex-wife and held her against her will at his home. This case might seem unrelated, but investigators linked it to the Conway murders. That's because the woman kidnapped, Conte's ex-wife, was also Elliott's ex, and the mother of his children.
After police arrested Conte for the kidnapping, Conway police flew to Nevada to search his home.
After his arrest, Conway police boarded a plane to Nevada to search Conte's home.
"Part of what we recovered out of his residence on his computer [is he] he had downloaded a map of the city of Conway, a locator map kind of thing, on how to go to Conway," explained Maj. Mark Elsinger, a retired officer with Conway Police Dept.
Investigators found more circumstantial evidence against Conte and turned the case over to the prosecuting attorney in 2007. But no charges were filed against the doctor ... until four years later.
In August 2011, Faulkner County Prosecutor Cody Hiland took the case over.
"We make sure we have evidence sufficient for probable cause and you combine that with an abiding conviction that someone is guilty and that's enough to go forward with criminal conviction," Hiland explained.
Conte spent nine years in a Nevada prison for kidnapping his ex-wife and days before his release, Hiland charged him with two counts of capital murder.
Ashley Waldron, Elliott's daughter, said the murder charges, and upcoming trial, help bring justice for her father.
'It brings relief to me," Waldron said. "It lifts a burden, a heavy weight has been lifted."
Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty in Conte's case; if convicted, he faces life in prison.
Previous Stories on This Case:
Former doctor to stand trial in 2 Ark. slayings
Jury selection to begin in Conte double murder trial
Judge grants man release before Conway murder trial
Judge denies motion to dismiss order in Conway murder trial
Ark judge considers murder charge dismissal motion
Trial postponed in Conway double murder case
Hearing delayed in murder case of former doctor