JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The jury in the Michael Dunn trial, comprised of 12 individuals and four alternates, was seated early Wednesday evening. The 16 people are comprised of six men and 10 women.
Confined to the courthouse by a massive lunchtime downpour, the potential jurors in the Michael Dunn case returned after an hour-plus break to additional questioning -- this time by defense attorney Cory Strolla.
Strolla focused much of his questioning on political influences and feelings about gun control. Jurors expressed a range of opinions from those who believed there should be no limits on gun control, to one who said she didn't believe guns should even exist. A male juror told Strolla that he chose not to own a gun because he has a son with schizophrenia. "I'd hate to have a Sandy Hook or an Aurora Colorado," he said.
RELATED: Complete coverage of the Michael Dunn trial
Another said she supported guns insofar as "they are easier to clean up after than a machete" -- an answer that drew a huge laugh from the jury pool, and even bailiffs, but caused the parents of Jordan Davis to visibly wince. His mother, Lucia McBath, shook her head slightly and looked away.
Strolla set up a portion of his legal argument, telling prospective jurors that a "two step" rule permits gun owners to keep carry weapons even without a concealed weapons permit, as long as they physically have to transact two steps in order to obtain and unholster their weapon. He reminded jurors that he had no obligation to prove his client's innocence, but that it was the state's obligation to prove guilt.
Jurors were mostly attentive and responsive, but on several occasions appeared confused by his line of questioning, asking him to repeat the question. "I'm used to it," he joked. "My wife tells me all the time."
Both Strolla and State Attorney Angela Corey, who questioned jurors before the lunch break, offered jurors a little glimpse of their personalities. Strolla told a pit bull-owning juror that he had a chihuahua and a Golden Retriever. Angela Corey told jurors she'd arrived to the courthouse this morning blaring Def Leppard, and has been known to occasionally blast Pavoratti.
Judge Russell Healey offered a strict pretrial admonition to local media, warning that anyone in the courtroom must have read and agreed to abide by his order regarding juror anonymity and the chief judge's order regarding trials of extraordinary interest. Those orders lay out rules such as as not recording in the courtroom, not conducting interviews in courthouse hallways and using only noiseless devices for typing or taking notes.
Just around noon, Healey lambasted this reporter for misidentifying one of Dunn's female family members as his girlfriend. And late in the day, he stopped Strolla's resumption of juror questioning in order to identify a new face among the representatives of the four media outlets and secure a promise from him that the rules would be followed.
The judge agreed on Tuesday to allow local media 4 seats during jury selection, after initially denying access. The media can also hear the proceedings and see portions of them -- excluding jurors -- from an adjacent courtroom.
The judge took a break and told jurors they would be called back in when the 16 jurors -- 12 with 4 alternates -- had been chosen.
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