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Jury selection continues in Washington double-murder retrial; some admit bias

By Staff | Jul 8, 2009

Potential jurors in the double-murder retrial of Roderick Washington are being questioned by attorneys privately as other perspective jurors chat quietly or
read in the courtroom gallery.
Attorneys will select 12 jurors with two alternates, the same number of jurors to hear Washington?’s first trial in May.
Washington is being tried for the 2006 double-murder of Jeffrey and Alexis Sosa.
Washington is among 10 individuals charged in the incident. He was convicted of two counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon during the first trial,
and was sentenced to 30 years in prison Tuesday as a result of the conviction.
Washington will be retried on two counts each of first-degree murder and kidnaping, charges for which the jury in trial number one could not determine a
verdict. He faces a life prison sentence if convicted.
In open court, several potential jurors expressed concern they might be unable to withhold bias against Washington while deliberating his case. A woman who
teaches at Challenger Middle School said she was biased against Washington because the Sosas had been students at the school, and she followed the case closely. Another man expressed his grief on the anniversary of his son’?s murder, stating he likely could not be impartial.
Assistant State Attorney Bob Lee told presiding Lee Circuit judge Thomas Reese he anticipates the prosecution’?s case will last two to three days. Paul Sullivan,
Washington?’s defense attorney, stated he was unsure at this stage in the trial about the duration of his defense.
The jurors will likely break for lunch at noon and return to the courtroom at 1 p.m. to resume questioning.