Cleburne Times-Review, Cleburne, TX

February 21, 2012

Jury selected in Soliz murder case

Soliz faces the death penalty

By Matt Smith/msmith@trcle.com

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Johnson County District Attorney Dale Hanna said a jury has been selected for the upcoming capital murder case of Mark Anthony Soliz of Fort Worth. 

Hanna said the trial begins Monday in the 413th District Court.

Jury selection took about five weeks, Hanna said, slightly less than the six weeks predicted when the process began last month.

Soliz is on trial for the June 2010 murder of Nancy Hatch Weatherly of Godley. Soliz also faces capital murder charges in Tarrant County for the murder of Fort Worth resident Ruben Martinez, who was shot the same day as Weatherly but died several days later. Both Johnson and Tarrant counties seek the death penalty against Soliz.

Jose Clemente Ramos of Fort Worth has also been charged with capital murder in connection with both crimes by both counties. Tarrant County seeks the death penalty against Ramos while Hanna said that decision remains to be determined in Johnson County. 

Attorneys questioned some 300 potential jurors during the five week voir dire on an individual basis. Capital murder cases differ from other cases in which jury voir dire is usually conducted by questioning potential jurors as a group. 

The chosen jurors may be sequestered during trial, but that has not yet been determined.

Soliz and Ramos alledgedly engaged in a crime spree on June 30 that included stolen vehicles, robbery and several shootings. Martinez, a delivery truck driver, was shot in Fort Worth and died several days later. Weatherly, whom Ramos and Soliz appear not to have known beforehand, was shot and killed in her home, the victim of an apparent random robbery. 

Officials said it is unclear why Soliz and Ramos left Fort Worth and passed through Godley. Both returned to Fort Worth after and were arrested on June 29 after Fort Worth police spotted a car that had been reported stolen.