JOPLIN, Mo. — Jury selection is underway in the trial of a man charged in a drunk driving crash that killed a former MSSU professor.

It has taken nearly two years, but jury selection began Tuesday morning in the Kenton Cowgill murder trial. Around 50 people have been called in for the jury pool. The trial is expected to last three days with witnesses to include law enforcement from Joplin and Duquesne police, Jasper County Sheriff’s Office, and the Highway Patrol.

There’s also expected to be testimonies from the a medical examiner, a nurse, two eyewitnesses, and local media. Prosecutors tell us they offered Cowgill a plea deal on Friday, but he rejected it.

Cowgill is charged with second-degree murder, driving while intoxicated resulting in death, resisting arrest, and second-degree trafficking in drugs.

The case stems from a July 3, 2021 incident when police responded to reports of a man passed out in a vehicle blocking a driveway in the 800 block of South Rex Avenue. Officers said when they went to wake Cowgill, he took off in his vehicle, and they chased after him.

The pursuit ended at Seventh and Duquesne when police say Cowgill hit two other vehicles. Robert McDermid, 66, a retired MSSU professor, died in that crash.

Opening statements from both attorneys in the case will begin Tuesday at 2:00 PM.