BRUNSWICK, GA -- We are getting our first indications of who could make it to the final jury pool in the Ross Harris murder trial.
The Cobb County father is accused of intentionally leaving his 22-month-old son Cooper Harris in a hot SUV to die in a Vinings office park on June 18, 2014.
The trial was moved to Brunswick due to the publicity surrounding the case in metro Atlanta.
The judge says she wants the same number in the jury pool as last time – 42 people.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys spent the day Wednesday questioning the first batch of potential jurors individually – to more on to the final round, so to speak.
“What was the opinion you formed?” the prosecutor asked.
“That the defendant is not – he’s not innocent,” said the first potential juror from the stand.
“That he’s not innocent, okay,” the prosecutor said. “And you understand that to be the same thing as guilty.”
Potential juror number one says he was basing that on the number of charges against Ross Harris, but when questioned further, it appears he has heard very little about the actual case.
“You indicated the information that you recall was that you heard a child died in someone’s back seat,” the prosecutor said.
“Yes,” the potential juror replied.
“All right, what other facts than that do you recall?” the attorney asked.
“He worked at Home Depot,” the potential juror said.
But that man later acquiesced that he could set aside what he’s heard of what he thinks, and hear only the evidence presented.
Not so for potential juror number three.
“Being a mom, I don’t think there is any excuse for having left a child unattended long enough, where if it’s a murder case,” she said. “Obviously this child died. And there is no excuse for that.”
And when asked if she could set aside that feeling and only hear the evidence presented –
“Basically, what the facts are, and what the law is what the facts apply to it,” the prosecutor said. “Would you be able to do that?”
“No,” the woman replied. “Not now.”
We expect what’s called ‘Challenges for Cause,’ when attorneys say there’s no way a juror can be considered, they’re too stuck in their beliefs – then we’ll get to what’s called preemptory strikes. Each side gets nine.
They have been told to return on October 3.
By that point, the judge says she hopes the attorneys will be able to strike the jury and move directly to opening statements.
(© 2016 WXIA)