Opening statements are expected this morning in the trial of a Virginia man accused of shooting two brothers in the parking lot of a Ghent convenience store on April 13, 2005.

Herman Lee Estes, 23, of Bassett, Va., was indicted that same year on charges of first-degree murder, three counts of use of a firearm, attempted first-degree murder and malicious wounding.

Estes was identified by police as the gunman in the double shooting of Jeffery and Jeremy Pratt, both of Beaver, in the Little General parking lot. Jeffery Pratt, 30, was dead at the scene. Jeremy Pratt was shot in the chest and stomach area, according to police reports. He could be a witness during this trial.

Police said the Pratt brothers had gone to the store just after midnight and got into an altercation with Estes and an unidentified man. Witnesses said the argument outside the store escalated to a fist fight and ended with gunshots.

Attorneys spent Monday selecting a jury to hear the case, which is being tried before Raleigh County Circuit Judge H.L. Kirkpatrick. The trial is expected to last through Thursday.

Estes has been lodged in Southern Regional Jail since April 26, 2005, according to the jail’s Web site.

— E-mail: bnaudrey@register-herald.com

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