ATLANTA -- After a grueling week, final jury selection is expected to begin Friday in Atlanta attorney Tex McIver's murder trial.
Both sides continued to question potential jurors on Thursday hoping to find enough impartial jurors to move on to round two.
McIver is accused of intentionally killing his wife in 2016. He was allegedly holding his gun in the back seat of his car while riding through Atlanta when the gun discharged and his wife was killed. He said it was an accident.
All week, the judge and lawyers have been questioning potential jurors focusing on media coverage and any opinions they may already have about the case - one that's been in the headlines for months.
Here is just one of the back-and-forth discussions between a prospective juror and the judge in this case:
- Juror 131: "I don't know whether it was an accident or..."
- Judge: "OK, why are you led to believe it could have been an accident or not an accident?"
- Juror 131: "Well, because, usually, if you got a weapon, you know whether it's loaded or not or whether the hammer is back or whether you have one in the chamber. And it's just, uh, no doubt in there."
- Judge: "OK, so you said a little doubt in there you said?"
- Juror 131: "Yes, a lot of doubt."
- Judge: "A lot of doubt. OK."
That juror made it to the second round of jury selection.
However, the intense media coverage and local interest is bringing an added challenge to the process. Another juror came into the selection process with more information based on news reports than even the judge said he had.
- Juror 135: "When I first heard about it, I thought it was strange and so I watched the news and, I don't reminder when exactly it was, I saw more [than one] news program that had information about it, they showed a photo of the bullet hole in the seat - from the back of the seat into the front of the seat. And it just seemed that if it was an accident, the bullet would have been in a more random place. To me, it seemed like the bullet being slightly to the left in the mid-range of the seat - it's going to hit the person sitting there in their most important organs and that seemed aimed to me."
Though willing to keep an open mind to the findings of the trial, she was ultimately struck from the list of potential jurors.
Other jurors had similar concerns with the scenario they had heard in the news - that McIver went to sleep in the car while driving through a neighborhood he considered bad enough to carry a gun.
- Juror 144: "If I was in the car, I wouldn't go to sleep in the car with it freely just being there and, OK, this is a bad neighborhood and I'm going to sleep with my gun and, all of a sudden, wake up, pop, bam, boom. It doesn't happen that way. People that's on the streets now, lot of guys, they drive cars - that's considered a drug dealer - they carry their guns every day and not a single false shot has went off."
He remained in the jury pool.
On Friday, lawyers and the judge will begin picking the final jury for the murder trial. They'll choose from a pool of more than 70 people.