Local News

Jury selection begins in Smithfield woman's murder trial

Posted August 25, 2008

— Jury selection began Monday and opening statements are expected Tuesday in the murder trial of a Smithfield woman accused of shooting her boyfriend to death.

Tiffany Ann Bassett is charged with first-degree murder in the July 18, 2006, death of her boyfriend, Donald "Keith" West, who was found dead in the bedroom of the home the couple shared.

Bassett and West's home was under foreclosure and was scheduled to be sold on the day deputies got the call about West's death.

The trial comes after a number of delays.

It was supposed to begin in March but Superior Court Judge E. Lynn Johnson postponed it until April because prosecutors turned over a 437-page discovery file to defense attorneys five days before the case was to go to court. The case was then turned over to a new prosecutor.

In April, the trial was delayed indefinitely when Johnson, citing matters of "unintended consequences" said activities "impaired the ability" of the state to proceed.

West worked as a Smithfield police officer for several years before leaving the force in 2001 to start a private police security operation, West-Tek Inc.

Publicity surrounding case forced the court to change the trial venue from Johnston County to Cumberland County.

If convicted, Bassett could face a life sentence.


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  • catalyst74 Sep 1, 2008

    I feel so fortunate that I live in a country where the presumption of innocence is largely upheld to follow the 5th, 6th, and 14th amendments. Looking forward to the conclusion of this trial which has already been dragged out longer than it should have been.

  • jtedder Aug 27, 2008

    We appreciate your concerns but it would be best if all comments waited until after the trial is over so as not to jeopardize the case. Thank you

  • illegals--GO HOME Aug 26, 2008

    I meant RELIVE on my earlier post....got in a hurry or the fury was getting the best of me.

    Still miss you cuz.........

  • illegals--GO HOME Aug 26, 2008

    Also, if she gets off on some technicality since they have played politics to death on this one, there is a special place reserved in h e double hockey sticks for her. I hope she suffers an eternity for what she did.....shot him while he slept with an 8-month old child in another room. I wish it were legal for me to just have 10 minutes with her with no repercussions!! No....would not kill her, just make her wish that she was headed that way....she is evil in its purest form.

  • illegals--GO HOME Aug 26, 2008

    Asking my fellow Golo'ers to keep Keith's family in your prayers as they have to relieve the worst day of their lives because this PERSON(WRAL won't let me use the correct term) chose to kill him rather than get out. Keith was going to put her out anyway and she did not give him a chance. She only cared about drugs and taking his money to pay for them. Had it not been for their little girl, Keith would have been done with her long before. To think, she and her Mom thought they could get away with setting up a false alibi....but the time of death does not lie and Keith had been dead hours before she claimed she left him in bed to go get her car checked. Used her Mom to set up the alibi...her being his "bookkeeper" for the business. Bet they were both in it up to their eyeballs because Keith worked 10 - 16 hour days sometimes.

    I know of what I speak....relative close to the case. Dayum Sessy I should know u?? JB here.

  • Dayum Sessy Aug 26, 2008

    RIP Keith......... you will NOT be forgotten!

    She WILL get hers.

  • Caring Aug 26, 2008

    She should get the death penalty!

  • AMHall82 Aug 25, 2008

    Good luck with that, GG! :) The murder took place in JoCo, but they moved it out because of "pre-trial" publicity.

  • Greyhound_Girl Aug 25, 2008

    Ahhh..now I read properly...my eyes were twisted this morning. Nope..not me...I should be in the Johnston County Courthouse tomorrow, unless I call tonight and they tell me not to show up.

  • Greyhound_Girl Aug 25, 2008

    AnnaMarie, the article made it sound like they moved the trial to Johnston County. Hmmm...lemme go reread it.