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Sievers murder trial Day 3 -- Jury selection expected to continue into next week

Posted at 6:42 AM, Oct 03, 2019

UPDATE (12:15PM) -- The court has 61 potential jurors in total; 5 have been questioned already, and 10 more are expected to be questioned Thursday afternoon.

19 are being told to come back Friday, 10 will return on Monday, and 15 Tuesday.

One potential juror was very emotional crying this morning. She says the nature of the case is giving her anxiety and stress. The judge freed her from duty immediately. "I will note for the record you're visabily upset, and my apologies," said Judge Kyle. "It's like I told you, we all come to the table with our own life experiences and some of us -- there's certain cases we're just not cut out to be on."

Jimmy Rodgers has just been sitting very quietly through the process, just looking at each juror as they answer the questions.

UPDATE (11AM) -- Court began before 9 a.m. Thursday, and several potential jurors have been dismissed already. Judge Bruce Kyle referred to case as "unique" and that is why the jury selection is taking longer.

Questions being asked to the potential jurors have included:
"Do you have any moral or religious beliefs that would prevent you from considering the death penalty?"
"Are you opposed to the death penalty?"
"In Florida, a death sentence is not required. Do you think if found guilty of first-degree premeditated murder a death sentence should be required by law?"

Judge Kyle has been explaining how this is a "two-tier" trial. 1) Guilty Phase: Jury has to come to a unanimous decision and find the defendant guilty as charged. 2) Penalty Phase (death sentence phase): independent moral assessment, meaning that even if 11 jurors say yes to the death sentence and 1 says life, the verdict is life. Both jurors have said they agree with this.

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Thursday we move into Day 3 of jury selection in trials of Jimmy Rodgers, one of the two men facing murder charges in the death of Dr. Teresa Sievers.

60 potential jurors will return to court Thursday morning to be vetted by both the defense and the prosecution.

With a large pool of jurors, both sides of lawyers can move onto the next phase of questioning.

Up to now, the questions have been focused on finding out who can sit through a potential 5-week trial, and who knows about the case.

The questions Thursday will likely focus on finding impartial jurors.

Our crew, who has been inside the courtroom every day, says the potential jurors are a mix, with both men, women, and multiple ethnicities. There are also a couple of students in the jury pool.

We may also learn more about an inmate who claimed he heard Mark Sievers talk about taking a "hit" on a "witness" involved in the case. That happened in July.

But the potential problem here is the defense says they only got the information days ago, and the prosecutors got the information last week.

However, the state says they don't believe the information is credible.

We’ll continue to post updates here as the day’s events unfold.

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