The jury selection process has begun for former Marjory Stoneman Doug High School Resource Officer who is accused of failing confront the gunman who killed 14 students and 3 staff in the Parkland, Florida 2018 shooting.
Circuit Judge Martin Fein, in Fort Lauderdale, has tentatively scheduled three initial jury selection days beginning on Wednesday. He is looking for 50 candidates with schedules and jobs that allow them to serve up to two months during the trial of ex-Broward County deputy Scot Peterson.
Peterson faces seven counts of felony neglect for children and is the first officer of law enforcement to be charged with criminal offenses in the United States due to his alleged inaction in an active school shooting. The charges also include three misdemeanor counts of culpable neglect in relation to adults who were shot inside the building.
Peterson has also been charged with perjury after allegedly lying to police detectives. Peterson could face prison time as well as the loss of his $104,000 pension if found guilty of child neglect charges.
At the end of Wednesday’s session 55 people out of 300 were selected.
On Monday, prosecutors and lawyers for Peterson will question the 55 finalists about their knowledge and understanding of the shooting. They will also determine whether they can fairly assess Peterson’s refusal to confront Nikolas at school.
Six jurors and four alternates are selected from the 55 finalists.
If there are no delays, the opening statements will begin in the middle next week.
One juror admitted that he could not be fair during Wednesday’s hearing because Peterson, in his opinion, is a coward. One prospective juror stated that the daughter of his boss was among the 17 individuals who were wounded.
Both were dismissed from the jury pool.
This report was contributed by The Associated Press.