Parkland school shooting

Emotional Potential Jurors Dismissed From Parkland Trial

NBC Universal, Inc.

The fourth day of jury selection in the sentencing of convicted mass murderer Nikolas Cruz was highlighted – or lowlighted – by the dismissal of an entire jury panel when eight of the 60 jurors walked out visibly upset on Monday.

As Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer was instructing the jurors, seven women and one man left the courtroom, some with tears in their eyes.

The judge stopped her explanation of the case to tell the remaining jurors to raise their hand if they wanted to leave.

After a brief sidebar discussion with the defense and prosecuting attorneys, the judge struck the entire jury panel because of the emotion they witnessed.

The next group of jurors was brought in about a half hour later.

Of the 60 people, 13 were chosen.

One man was excused for reasons that included allegedly knowing one of the victims of the Parkland school shooting and another man boasted owning a bakery that is responsible for making what his customers called the "best empanadas in town." That generated some rare laughter in the courtroom.

The last jury panel Monday afternoon consisted of only 14 people and three were chosen for the next phase of jury selection.

That brings the total to 147 chosen from a pool of 629.

Jury selection continues Tuesday and Wednesday in courtroom 17150 with the sentencing trial scheduled to begin May 31 and continue through September.

Cruz pled guilty to 17 charges of murder and 17 charges of attempted murder following the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Feb. 14, 2018. He is facing life in prison or the death penalty.

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