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Trial update: Jury selection to continue after lunch

By Staff | May 5, 2009

The last of the potential jurors have been questioned in the trial of Roderick Washington and the court is breaking for lunch.
Of 70 jurors, 43 remain and 27 have been excused.
Jury selection will resume at 1 p.m.
Jury selection has begun in the trial of Roderick Washington, accused in the torture and killing of Alexis and Jeffery Sosa in Cape Coral.
Washington, one of 10 defendants accused in the killings, faces a life prison sentence. He is charged with two counts each of first-degree murder, kidnapping and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.
The case is often referenced by the name of a rap group several of the defendants were a part of the “Cash Feenz.”
Due to publicity, lawyers are individually questioning jurors about their knowledge of the case, to avoid contaminating the jury pool. The questioning is taking place in a smaller room connected to courtroom H in the Lee County Justice Center. The questioning cannot be heard from the courtroom.
When presiding judge Thomas Reese asked if any of the jurors had heard about the case, a majority raised their hands to indicate they had.
“Knowledge of the case is OK,” Reese told potential jurors. “I’m concerned about if you’ve formed an opinion. Can you be objective, fair and impartial, and reach a conclusion.”
Reese told potential jurors that the allegations against Washington are not proof of guilt, and that the presumption of innocence stays with him until proven guilty by evidence.
Several of the jurors have left the courtroom after questioning, while others have taken a seat in the gallery.
Jury selection is expected to take through today. Reese estimated the trial will run through the week.