Yet another prospective juror for the Ross Harris hot-car murder trial disclosed Wednesday that he’d found a way to get out of service — and figuring it out by disobeying the court’s instructions.
Juror #24, a retired banker with five children and 10 grandchildren, asked Superior Court Judge Mary Staley Clark if he could address the court before lawyers began asking him questions.
The man noted he’d read a story about the case in the morning newspaper — something the judge has instructed members of the jury pool not to do. But in Juror #24’s case, this time it was unlikely to make a difference.
He noted that the story reported that two Glynn County residents the previous day had been dismissed from duty because they were older than 70 and chose not to serve. Under the law, residents who are 70 years or older do not have to serve as a juror if they choose not to do so.
“I’m 76,” Juror #24 told Staley Clark. “I would like to be excused.”
Staley Clark then dismissed him and, after he left the courtroom, said she was going to hold back from saying anything about his revelation he’d read the newspaper about the case.
On Wednesday, prosecutors and defense attorneys are expected to finish their final round of questions to a fifth batch of a dozen prospective jurors.
When questioned individually, Juror #14 disclosed that when she told her older sister she was summoned to court for jury service, her sister immediately told her, “I think he’s guilty.”
But Juror #14, an elementary school teacher, told both Cobb prosecutor Susan Treadaway and Harris’s lawyer, Bryan Lumpkin, that her sister’s comment wouldn’t hold any sway over her.
When asked if she could sit as a juror in the trial and see evidence about the death of Harris’ 22-month-old son Cooper, the woman expressed unease with that possibility.
“I’ve never been exposed to anything like this before,” she said. “I don’t know.”
She was followed by Juror #15, who will surely be disqualified. She said she could not set aside her personal beliefs and follow the evidence and the law.
“It is not even in my realm of thinking that anyone would leave a living thing in his car,” she said. “Even to leave a lizard in the car for a couple of hours in 99 degree weather like we have around her or y’all probably have up there, you know, that’s murder.