KALAMAZOO (WWJ) – A trial has been scheduled this summer for the Uber driver accused of mass murder in Kalamazoo.
Jason Dalton is expected to plead not guilty by reason of insanity for shooting eight people, killing six, while driving around town offering rides to Uber customers.
Jury selection will begin June 13 for trial, which is expected to last two weeks. A hearing was held Thursday to hear defense motions to suppress evidence.
The 45-year-old is charged with murder and attempted murder in the Feb. 20, 2016 shootings. He’s been found mentally competent to understand the charges and assist his lawyer.
Police have quoted Dalton as saying a “devil figure” on Uber’s app was controlling him on the night of the shootings.
Dalton told authorities after his arrest that when you “plug into” the Uber app, “you can actually feel the presence on you.” He said the difference between the night of the shootings and others was that an icon on the Uber app that is normally red “had changed to black.”
Dalton also described how the Uber app on his cellphone took him over the day of the shootings, saying that at one point he went to his home, put several guns into a bag and put them in his vehicle.
The first victim, Tiana Carruthers, 25, was asked if she had called Uber for a ride before she was shot multiple times outside an apartment complex. Carruthers survived the shooting.
Later, Richard Smith and his 17-year-old son, Tyler, were shot and killed while looking at vehicles at a car dealership. Dalton said he told them, “hello,” before they were shot.
Dalton then drove to a Cracker Barrell, where he told detectives that he shot a woman — Mary Lou Nye, 62 — after she declined his request for a dollar. He had asked her “if she could spare a dollar to make America great again,” according to a police report.
Dalton said he was going to leave after shooting Nye, but he heard other people screaming, so he turned his gun on them. In all, four people were killed inside two cars parked outside the restaurant — Nye, her 60-year-old sister Mary Jo Nue, 74-year-old Dorothy Brown and 68-year-old Barbara Hawthorne. A fifth person, 14-year-old Abigail Kopf, was wounded.
Dalton said “he came back to reality” when police arrested him early the next morning, according to the report.
© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.