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Jury finally sworn in for Casey Anthony trial

Casey Anthony stares after a spectator interrupts during jury selection in her trial on Friday in Clearwater.

Associated Press

Casey Anthony stares after a spectator interrupts during jury selection in her trial on Friday in Clearwater.

LARGO — After a jury selection process that took two weeks, a panel of Pinellas County residents was finally sworn in Friday to hear the high-profile murder case against Casey Anthony.

Orange-Osceola Circuit Judge Belvin Perry swore in the 12 jurors and five alternates just after 5 p.m. Friday. The panel has nine women and eight men.

At 9 a.m. Tuesday, they are to report to an Orlando courthouse to hear the opening statements. Under Perry's instructions, the jurors will be sequestered in a hotel during the trial, with limited visits from family and no Internet access.

Anthony, 25, is accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee Marie, in Orlando in 2008. The child's remains were found in woods near Anthony's home. Anthony has pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree murder.

The judge came to Pinellas to select jurors because of the massive media attention surrounding the case in the Orlando area. More than 600 media outlets have received credentials for the trial, and about a dozen covered the selection process, several using Twitter to provide live coverage.

The selection process began May 9, and more than 200 jurors were interviewed. There were repeated delays. On Friday, a woman who was sitting in the courtroom audience blurted out "she killed somebody, anyway" while the judge was questioning a potential juror. That jury candidate was then dismissed.

The woman, Elizabeth Rogers, 29, of Belleair Bluffs, was in the courthouse for a friend's case in another courtroom. She made the statement after wandering into the Anthony courtroom and sitting down.

Perry found Rogers in contempt of court and sentenced her to two days in jail. The judge said he could have sentenced her to up to 179 days in jail but was lenient because Rogers said she is bipolar.

Perry had hoped to get 12 jurors and eight alternates, and at one point Friday, the pool consisted of 20 jurors. But prosecutors utilized peremptory challenges to eliminate three and set the final list of five alternates.

Perry and lawyers for the prosecution and for the defense had quizzed potential jurors about their exposure to pretrial publicity and their feelings about the death penalty, which Anthony could get if found guilty.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Jury finally sworn in for Casey Anthony trial 05/20/11 [Last modified: Saturday, May 21, 2011 12:06am]
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