SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. – Jury selection began Wednesday in the murder trial of a roadside amusement park manager charged after a woman plunged 60 feet to her death from a carnival ride in a Great Smoky Mountains (search) tourist town.
If convicted, Charles Stan Martin (search) could face 25 years in prison for second-degree murder and another two to four years for reckless homicide.
June Carol Alexander (search), 51, was killed in March 2004 at Rockin' Raceway after she fell out of a ride shaped like a ship that rocked back and forth, going higher each time until it turned completely upside-down.
Investigators determined Alexander's safety harness didn't engage, and they found "jumper wires" in the main electrical panel that may have short-circuited the system.
"Our mother is not going to rest until this is over," Regina Phillips said outside the courtroom Wednesday.
Defense attorney Bryan Delius has said he is worried his client is being made a scapegoat for a resort community heavily dependent on tourism.
According to the U.S. Consumer Protection Safety Commission, only about four fatalities occur each year on amusement park rides. Alexander's death has prompted legislation calling for new vigilance of amusement parks in Tennessee, one of 13 states with no regulation of the industry.