CLEARWATER -- Thursday proved just how slow and painstaking the jury selection process can take in a death-penalty trial as potential jurors were questioned in detail about the Casey Anthony case.
Late Thursday afternoon, attorneys questioned a third potential juror who knows a lot about Anthony’s case, but said he could be fair.
When asked about his thoughts on the death penalty, the man said, “I’m not for it. Let’s say that.”
But at the same time, the prospective juror said he could recommend a death sentence if the circumstances and facts warranted.
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Earlier Thursday, Orange-Osceola Chief Judge Belvin Perry let a large group of jurors go home for the day, but held back several to question. The questioning of each of those potential jurors took hours.
One of those, juror 1129, told the court he remembers the coverage of the case.
“I’ve seen reports of the strong odor from the back of the car,” he said. “I remember I believe the grandmother said it was a strong odor ... the mother said it was a pizza box, the word duct tape comes to mind, pink heart.”
He recalled the Nancy Grace show running pictures of the defendant. “They described it as her partying days,” he said. He heard about the alleged nanny and the meter reader that found the remains.
“A lot of people that we would talk to thought the case was over,” he said. “We weren’t sure what happened.”
The previous prospective juror, No. 1232, is a delivery manager at the St. Petersburg Times. He told the court he is originally from Maryland and has never been to Orlando.
During questioning, he told the court a friend of his was the first victim of the Washington, D.C., sniper.
He told defense attorney Jose Baez he heard about the case at the time it surfaced, on television and other media. He said he has not formed opinions about her guilt or innocence.
The prospective juror said he can base his decision on the facts presented in court and instructions from the judge.
Prosecutor Linda Drane Burdick asked him about pretrial publicity.
“A child was murdered ... somebody has been accused,” he said.
Defense attorney Ann Finnell asked the prospective juror about his thoughts on the death penalty.
Finnell asked the juror that if Anthony chose to testify, while maintaining her innocence after being found guilty, would he hold that against her and sentence her to death.
“Remorse always helps, but it wouldn’t influence how I would rule in the penalty phase,” he said.
He has no concerns about viewing remains of a small child during the case, would not give law-enforcement testimony greater weight and believes in DNA testing.
Defense attorney Cheney Mason asked him that if Dr. Jan Garavaglia testified in this case, would he give her testimony greater weight because he watches the show.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s Joe Schmo,” juror 1232 said. “I’m going to make my decision based on the facts, not who ‘Garavaglia’ is.”
He also is asked to return.
First juror questioned
Juror 1340 was extensively quizzed by Anthony’s defense team and state prosecutors as both sides attempt to glean details about the people who may be asked to judge the 25-year-old Orlando woman accused of killing daughter Caylee Marie in 2008.
Juror 1340 is a father of a 7-year-old and a shift supervisor who supports the death penalty in the “most heinous” cases.
“I don’t think the media has reported all the information. I can’t say with 100 percent certainty that I feel one way or the other,” No. 1340 said of the case. “I don’t know enough about it to form an opinion.”
The case has drawn worldwide attention, and Perry decided to select jurors in Pinellas County with the hopes that people there had not been so saturated with the coverage.
But after three days of sifting through about 200 potential jurors, it’s clear some potential jurors are knowledgeable of this case.