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Jury selection difficult in Schenecker murder trial

Jury selection difficult in Schenecker murder trial
Posted Tuesday, April 29th 2014 @ 7am

TAMPA, Fla. ( - Based on the people called as potential jurors for her trial, Julie Schenecker is notorious in the Tampa area.

The majority of an initial group of 100 potential jurors told a judge Monday they know something about the case of the Tampa Palms woman who authorities said fatally shot her teen-aged children because they were “mouthy.”

And most of those interviewed said they think Schenecker is guilty.

Schenecker is standing trial on charges she murdered her 13-year-old son, Beau, and her 16-year-old daughter, Calyx, in January 2011.

Schenecker’s lawyers have notified the court they plan an insanity defense on the grounds she suffered from bipolar disorder with psychotic features at the time of the killings. The trial is expected to last three weeks.

Jury selection is likely to stretch out for days. On Monday, Circuit Judge Emmett Lamar Battles, along with the prosecution and defense lawyers, began the process of individually talking to jury candidates about their knowledge of the case and their excuses for being unable to serve for the length of the trial.

If Monday’s experience is any indication, finding 12 jurors plus four alternates who can leave their jobs and responsibilities for three weeks and be impartial and fair will be a challenge.

Out of 100 jury candidates, 76 told the judge they either knew something about the case or had a hardship excuse or both. Of 35 who were interviewed individually, about 20 were excused from service.

With one exception, every jury candidate who gave an opinion said Schenecker is guilty.

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