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Tuesday
Jul052011

Casey Anthony Jury Willing to Impose Death Penalty If Necessary

Red Huber-Pool/Getty Images(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- The seven women and five men sitting in judgment in the Casey Anthony murder trial have all declared that if needed, they could vote to sentence the Florida woman to death. Possibly because of that promise, they have been a serious group with some taking notes, others focused with laser-like intensity throughout testimony which has ranged from the dramatic to the tedious.

Due to the intense media coverage of the crime in the Orlando area over the last three years, the jurors were selected from a pool in nearby Pinellas County in early May, and bused to Orlando for the duration of the trial. They have been sequestered and living out of an Orlando hotel since the trial began more than a month ago on May 20.

They range from a History Channel buff, to a tech savvy IT employee, to a woman who doesn't own a computer or even cable TV.

A few admitted before the trial began that they were leaning towards guilty, but said they would keep an open mind. At least three are mothers, and one has two children who are Casey Anthony's age.

In addition to the dozen jurors who will decide Casey Anthony's fate, there are three men and two women alternatives, but none of the jurors have dropped out despite the lengthy trial and the sequestered conditions.

The profile of the jury was compiled from voir dire interviews during jury selection.

Juror #1: The 65-year-old woman is a retired nurse and volunteer counselor. She is married with two grown children, and her medical background may give her a better understanding of the scientific evidence. In particular, she's familiar with the smell of decomposing bodies. "I value life" she said while discussing the death penalty. "I also value the criminal justice system." Throughout the trial, she has stayed focused on the testimony, rarely scanning around the courtroom.

Juror #2: A black male in his mid-30s, this juror works in IT, which might make him a good resource when the jury has to discuss computer searches. He is married with two children under 10. He said he was raised by a single mom "like Casey." He knows about the case, but told the court, "If I had to return a verdict right now, I would say not guilty." He admits to some misgivings about the death penalty. "God is the one who makes the final judgment," he said, adding that he could vote for it "if I really believe it needs to be done."

Juror #3: This 32-year-old nursing student at St. Petersburg College has the least prior knowledge of the case. "I know my ignorance works in my favor at this point," she chirped, admitting she would like to serve on the jury. Now that she's on the jury, she often wears a perturbed look while listening to testimony. A weaver in her spare time, she has no children of her own, but has a pet rat terrier.

Juror #4: Court watchers were surprised when this potential defense-leaning juror made the panel. She is deeply religious and told the court, "I don't like to judge people" and "I just don't like to point my finger at anyone." She said she "thinks" she can impose the death penalty. A black woman in her 40's, she has no children and lives alone. She wrote occasional notes early on, but her note-taking pace seems to have increased as the trial nears its conclusion. Her face betrays nothing of her reaction to the case so far.

Juror #5: With her long grey hair, glasses and a generally stern look about her, this 57-year old white woman constantly looks across the room in the direction of Casey Anthony and her lawyers. A retired nurse's aide, she has three children and is the only juror with a criminal record (a 1998 DUI arrest). Her stance on the death penalty is measured: "I guess I believe in the death penalty...I'd have to know a lot of facts before I really considered it."

Juror #6: The 33-year-old restaurant equipment salesman is married with two children (ages 6 and 21 months). He earned a business degree from the University of Florida and is an avid chef who has twice cooked on television. In voir dire, he said the understood Casey Anthony's defense has no need to prove anything, and wouldn't hold it against her if she didn't testify. He also said he'd have no trouble imposing a death sentence. "If the law dictated it, I would be able to follow it," he said. In court, he looks relaxed and attentive, although he rarely takes a note these days.

Juror #7: Professing "just some, not a lot" of knowledge of the case, the 41-year-old white female divorcee said she would be able to send Casey Anthony to death if the facts warranted. "It would be, gosh, a solemn decision," she said. She is a victim of crime herself, having suffered a home invasion by a knife-wielding intruder, but was not injured. The intruder was later arrested and pleaded guilty. Her father was an attorney. She sits up straight in her jury seat, facing the witness box – and never seems to look out at the gallery.

Juror #8: The daughter of a New Jersey police officer, this 55-year-old Verizon service representative has two sons in their 20s, the same age as Casey Anthony. Neither of her sons has had any legal trouble, but said "sometimes they're not angels. Being a mother, I would want someone to take all the facts" if they ever had to stand trial. Given the right set of facts, "I have no problem voting for the death penalty." Like juror #7, she sits turned toward the witness, but has slouchier posture.

Juror #9: Perhaps the most attentive juror of them all, this 53-year-old former logger from Indiana watches the proceedings with a fervor befitting a man who watches PBS and the History Channel in his spare time. His nephew is a deputy in Manatee County, but he's not necessarily a pro-prosecution juror. "Our system is that you are innocent until you are proven guilty," he told the court. "I believe in that." He is perky and friendly. He often smiles at the deputies.

Juror #10: The panel's second Verizon employee, a 57-year-old male retention specialist, has never married and has no children. In court, he's inscrutable, focused on the proceedings, rarely glancing elsewhere. In voir dire, he claimed to enjoy reading, but hadn't kept up with the case. "I don't really know any of the details, and I do believe everyone is innocent until proven guilty," he said. He once trained to be a corrections officer, but never applied for a job in the field. He's had familial legal troubles himself: his sister and her boyfriend committed a violent crime against his father.

Juror #11: This single 33-year-old high school gym teacher reminds many in the gallery of Johnny Depp and Matt LeBlanc. During compelling testimony, he leans forward to the edge of his seat, knees apart, elbows on knees, with his hands clasped. He was selected for the jury even though he had "formed an opinion of guilt" because he said he could set it aside and "keep my mind open." He characterized the death penalty as "a necessary option." This juror seems to have a voracious curiosity for everything in court – especially the gallery and balcony, which he often scans during the numerous sidebars.

Juror #12:
"Not a modernized person" is how this 60-something mother of two adult children (and one grandchild) described herself in voir dire. She doesn't own a computer, doesn't have cable TV and is "not that into" newspapers. Unsurprisingly, she had little knowledge of the case before these proceedings, although she did hear about it when news first broke. She works part-time as a cook at Publix supermarket and enjoys legal dramas. Asked for a number to represent her support of the death penalty, she stated, "the highest number, 10." In court, she has a laser focus on the testimony before her.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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