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08/10/10 — Live from the courtroom: First round of jurors dismissed

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Live from the courtroom: First round of jurors dismissed

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on August 10, 2010 11:33 AM

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News-Argus/BOBBY WILLIAMS

Former Marine Cesar Laurean, center, is escorted from the courtroom today by Wayne and Onslow county sheriff's deputies.

Jury selection began this morning in the high profile first-degree murder trial of Cesar Laurean in Wayne County Courthouse Courtroom No. 1.

A jury pool of 50 people was first reduced to 39 potential jurors when 10 were dismissed because of hardships and an 11th potential juror was dismissed due to lack of proficiency in English.

The pool of potential jurors that the court began initial questioning with included 19 white men, 11 white women, five black men and four black women.

Two members of that pool were let go prior to court recessing for a short break at 11:20 a.m. One potential juror said he didn't believe he could set aside what he had heard regarding the case.

Another was excused because he said he thought Laurean was guilty.

Following the lunch recess two white female potential jurors were dismissed from jury selection. The first female potential juror told members of the court she thought Laurean was guilty and couldn't promise to be impartial during the proceedings. The potential juror gave birth shortly before the story became a national media focus and she recalled being upset that a pregnant woman had been killed. A second white woman was dismissed because she said she could not set aside her preconceived opinions of the case.

When court recessed briefly at 3 p.m., 13 remaining potential jurors remained to be interviewed in preliminary jury selection. The initial round of jury selection seeks to establish whether jurors have been tainted by pretrial publicity and other influences.

Following the brief afternoon recess, a white male potential juror was dismissed because he said he couldn't be objective. A black man and a white man also were excused because they start classes at Wayne Community College next week.

A black man was the final jury candidate to be dismissed Tuesday because he could not set aside his preconceived opinion about the case. An additional potential juror was dismissed Monday for an unreported reason.

As the first day of jury selection concluded, 30 remain in the pool of eligible jurors. The composition of the jury pool at the end of the first day of selection is 12 white men, 10 white women, four black men and four black women. Selection is expected to continue Wednesday morning at 9:30 a.m. when jurors will likely be asked more specific questions by the state and defense.

Western Sizzlin