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UPDATE (7:40 p.m.): Jury Selection Underway in Dunn Retrial

Sep 22, 2014
Originally published on September 22, 2014 8:12 pm

After a lengthy first day, 42 people remain in the jury pool that could decide the fate of Michael Dunn for a second time.

Jury selection began around 10 a.m. Monday in the case.

Dunn is accused of killing 17-year-old Jordan Davis during a confrontation over loud music at a Southside Gate gas station in November 2012.

In February , as eyes across the country watched, a jury deadlocked on whether to convict him of murder.

Early Monday morning, focus was back on the trial as several dozen demonstrators from Jacksonville and as far as California gathered in front of the courthouse. Among them were the mother of Trayvon Martin Sabryna Fulton as well as the families of Emmett Till and Oscar Grant, a 22-year-old Oakland man fatally shot by police at a transit station.

A few supporters said they also came from Ferguson, where another unarmed teen Michael Brown was shot dead last month.

Dunn’s Attorney Waffa Hanania has been pushing for a change of venue, arguing that the widespread attention the case has received has jeopardized Dunn’s ability to get a fair trial. She noted the early morning rally for Davis as further evidence.

However, Healey said the court would have to wait and see during the selection process if it had any effect on jurors.

“I can control what goes on in the courtroom, but I can't consider what goes on outside the court,” he said.

Earlier this month, Healey granted a motion to sequester members of the jury. Those selected to continue on as potential jurors Monday were taken to a hotel directly after being dismissed, with stern instruction from Healey not to watch, read or discuss anything related to the case.

"Tonight's the night to read a book," he said.

The screening process for the pool of 100 jurors began with a written questionnaire, followed by a series of group questions asked by Healey. Based on that, 29 jurors were dismissed from the case. Another 42 who had either cited in their questionnaire issues with being sequestered for two weeks or possible bias in the trial were flagged by the judge for further individual questioning.

By the end of the day, the judge dismissed a total of 40 jurors. Forty-two were selected to advance on to the next round of questioning Tuesday afternoon, and an additional 18 jurors, who didn't have a chance to be individually questioned Monday, will return for questioning first thing Tuesday morning, Healey said.

A new pool of 40 jurors will also enter the courtroom later in the morning.

Healey said he expects the trial to span about the next two weeks.

You can follow Rhema Thompson on Twitter @RhemaThompson.

 

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