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Jury selection continues in Kemar Johnston case

By Staff | Jan 5, 2010

Jury selection resumed at 1:45 p.m. in the trial of Kemar Johnston, one of the alleged Cash Feenz defendants.
Following a lunch break, 20th Judicial Circuit Judge Thomas S. Reese asked the remaining potential jurors if they knew or were related to any of the lawyers involved in the case. The jury pool was also questioned about whether they knew or were related to anyone listed on the prosecution’s witness list, which Assistant State Attorney Robert Lee read aloud. A handful of jurors reported knowing someone on the list.
Defense attorney David A. Brener of Fort Myers next read aloud his list of witnesses, asking the potential jurors whether they knew or were related to anyone named. One man acknowledged knowing a person on the list. Reese then asked whether anyone had any medical conditions or biases that would prevent them from serving on the jury. One woman reported that a relative of hers was “raped, tortured, robbed and murdered.”
When asked if she could be fair and impartial, she replied, “Absolutely not.”
Johnston, 23, faces two counts each of first-degree murder, kidnapping and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon in the 2006 Cape Coral double murder of Alexis and Jeffrey Sosa. He also faces one count of second-degree arson, according to records from the Lee County Clerk of Courts.
One hundred people were summoned to the Lee County Justice Center as possible jurors Monday. Reese excused one man due to a communication barrier — he said he understood “some” English and required a translator — and a woman was dismissed because of an existing medical condition.
Reese then called into courtroom 5C the remaining 98 people to begin the selection process. The potential jurors were taken in small groups to a back room attached to the courtroom for questioning by the defense and prosecution. At 12:15 p.m., Reese ordered the lunch break.
Prior to the beginning of jury selection Monday morning, Brener discussed with Reese his amended motion requesting a change of venue, along with his original motion, due to the publicity surrounding the case. They also discussed questioning the potential jurors on the death penalty and their stance on it, as well as whether certain factors would effect that viewpoint including peer pressure and the abuse of drugs and alcohol during the committing of a crime.