Jury selection postponed in Parkland mass shooting case

Image 1 of 103

Jury selection in the Parkland mass shooting case was postponed Monday until next week, after the lead defense attorney and two other lawyers could not make it to court.

Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer did not publicly discuss the reasons for the lawyers’ absence from the Fort Lauderdale courtroom. Although she did not mention COVID-19, she asked whether one of the attorneys was being “tested.” Prosecutors wore masks in court Monday. Lawyers at the defense table, and defendant Nikolas Cruz, did not.

Advertisement

Scherer said the jury selection process will be postponed for a week and would resume May 9.

The judge was able to settle some unfinished business Monday — the questioning of 11 jurors who were dismissed last month, over the objections of prosecutors and defense lawyers, after they said they could not follow the law on the case.

Advertisement

Ten of the 11 answered a summons and appeared in court Monday. Nine of them were dismissed after they told the judge serving on the case would be a financial or personal hardship. One was asked to fill out a questionnaire and moved to the second phase of jury selection.

Cruz pleaded guilty last October to 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in the Feb. 14, 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The parents of two slain victims, Nicholas Dworet and Luke Hoyer, were in court Monday to watch the abbreviated proceedings.

Rafael Olmeda may be reached at rolmeda@sunsentinel.com or 954-356-4457. Follow him on Twitter @rolmeda.