Trial begins for Brooks' suspected accomplice

BRADENTON — Just more than a month after a judge sentenced former Lakewood Ranch High quarterback Tim Brooks to life in prison for killing a man during a robbery, attorneys Monday began picking a jury for a second man charged with murder in the case.

Attorneys questioned dozens of potential jurors in the trial of Cody Rogers, who is accused of aiding Brooks in a robbery during which Brooks shot and killed 19-year-old William White Jr. on July 13, 2008.

Rogers, 19, is accused of first-degree murder and robbery. He faces life in prison, if convicted.

Last month a jury convicted Brooks — a former football standout at Lakewood Ranch — on the same charges, and he was sentenced to life in prison.

Prosecutors say Rogers also had a gun and pointed it at the driver of the car White was riding in but did not fire his weapon. Florida law allows the state to seek a murder charge against someone committing a felony act — such as a robbery — during which a person dies.

Several witnesses testified during Brooks’ trial to seeing him open fire on White, as Rogers confronted the driver, Jakob Cunnien.

Many of the same witnesses, including Cunnien, are expected to testify in Rogers’ trial.

After the shooting, Rogers was released from jail on bond, while Brooks remained in jail.

Deputies arrested him in Clewiston after the shooting after obtaining an arrest warrant. Witnesses testified during Brooks’ trial that Rogers dumped the weapon he used during the robbery in Clewiston before being arrested.

Many of the potential jurors told Rogers’ attorney Adam Tebrugge they had read media reports on White’s killing, and Circuit Judge Debra Riva excused several from service because of their knowledge of the case.