BRADENTON -- Judge Peter Dubensky made it clear he is going to run a tight ship during the Delmer Smith III murder trial.
Dubensky blasted a prospective juror for carrying a newspaper into Courtroom 5A at the Manatee County Judicial Center Monday and showing at least one other possible panelist a story about Smith.
Earlier on the first day of the trial, Dubensky had warned all 150 possible jurors to avoid reading, listening to or sharing anything about the case.
When the judge found out about the contraband newspaper, he didn't just disqualify the man, he had the offender brought before him.
"Didn't you hear anything I said about taking precautions?" a furious Dubensky said to the man.
The man, who also said he was once in law enforcement, said he didn't think it was causing any trouble to have the paper there to read while he was waiting.
"If you were in law enforcement then that's all the more reason for you to realize that having something like this in a courtroom could taint the jury," the judge told him.
Moments later, the judge had bailiffs escort the man out of the courtroom.
The judge also was investigating a complaint that someone had an iPad and was on the Internet.
One of Smith's defense attorneys, Daniel Hernandez, reacted to both the iPad and newspaper incidents by asking the judge to disqualify the whole first panel of 75 prospective jurors and to restart the selection process.
Dubensky denied the motion.
Dubensky's admonitions about pre-trial publicity may have silenced the four attorneys in the case because each said, "No comment" after they left court for the first day.
Jury selection resumes at 8 a.m. Tuesday and Dubensky said he hopes that by Thursday a jury will be seated.
Fourteen people -- 12 jurors plus two alternates -- will be selected to determine the fate of Smith, who wore a blue, button-down shirt and had his head shaved.
Smith seemed cordial with his defense team, often sharing a smile or laugh.
It will take a unanimous vote of the 12 to convict Smith of first-degree murder. If the vote is unanimous, the 12 must then vote on the death penalty.
It then will take seven or more of the 12 jurors to vote for the death penalty for Smith to be sent to Death Row.
If the vote is six or less for death, Smith instead gets life in prison with no chance of parole. The judge can overrule the jury but said he puts "great weight" on what the jury decides.
"Mr. Smith has been charged with a very serious crime," Dubensky said at the beginning of the day. "This is the hardest thing we ever ask a jury to do."
Smith, who turned 41 earlier this month, is charged with first-degree murder and burglary in the Aug. 3, 2009, bludgeoning death of Kathleen Briles in her Terra Ceia home.
Authorities say Smith broke into the home Briles shared with her husband Dr. James Briles and killed her with an antique sewing machine.
During a break, Dr. Briles said he thought the trial was going as he expected.
"I think it will take a little longer than usual to pick a jury," Briles said.
Other family members present Monday included Briles' daughter Kristen, son-in-law Thomas and the victim's sister, Diane Brinker.