MANATEE -- Jury selection for a paralyzed teen's first-degree murder trial continued this afternoon at the Manatee County Judicial Center.
Ta Heem Blake, 19, is accused of gunning down a 55-year-old woman during a botched home invasion last year.
The court screened a pool of 76 prospective jurors for the trial, asking if any of them had read or seen any coverage of the case.
A total of 13 people told Circuit Court Judge Debra Riva they had knowledge of the case from reading the Bradenton Herald or learning information from other media outlets.
During a hearing last week, Blake's defense attorney, Daniel Hernandez, told the court Blake was not being adequately cared for at the jail by not getting physical therapy. He also said Blake was left in soiled clothing for periods of time.
A family member outside the judicial center told the Herald nothing was being done for Blake.
Dave Bristow, Manatee County Sheriff's Office public information officer, said a certified nursing assistant has been hired to stay with Blake around the clock during the trial.
"He has 24-hour care," Bristow said.
Blake has been hospitalized since Bradenton Police officers found him at the scene of the robbery with a SKS rifle lying next to him.
Police say Blake shot and killed Maria Lerma, 55, after he and another former Palmetto High football player, Marquis Sanders, broke into her home in the 900 block of 25th Street East, Bradenton on Feb. 1, 2009, through a sliding glass door.
One of the other residents in the home shot Blake, severing his spine.
Blake has since regained slight movement to his hands and can turn his head. He appeared in court in a motorized wheelchair.
He also faces charges of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon after another man was shot inside the residence during the robbery as well as armed burglary of a dwelling.
A second murder trial also began today with jury selection for 30-year-old Thomas Pack who is accused of killing 27-year-old Emerson "Bunky" Martin III. Martin was found slain in a palm tree field in Palmetto on Oct. 27, 2008. His body was found in two garbage bags, and officials say he was died of blunt force trauma.
Pack was charged with second-degree murder after his DNA was found at the scene of Pack's body. A jury was selected today. Circuit Court Judge Gilbert Smith is presiding over the case which resumes at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday with opening statements.