Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Potential jurors in police officer's slaying quizzed about death penalty thoughts

TAMPA — It's a question most potential jurors in Hillsborough county never have to answer:

Would you be able to vote on punishing someone with death?

On Wednesday, that question was posed to a pool of about 80 in the first-degree murder case against Humberto Delgado Jr., accused of killing Tampa Police Cpl. Michael Roberts in 2009.

"This discussion is not a hypothetical discussion," prosecutor Jay Pruner told them. "It doesn't get any more real than this."

They had their own questions for the prosecutor:

What is first-degree murder?

(They'll find out later.)

Why are you seeking the death penalty in this case?

(They'll find out during trial.)

Why is it that a vote of guilty, in the first phase of the trial, needs to be unanimous, but a vote for the death penalty needs only to be a majority?

(Because the Florida constitution says so.)

Many questioned said they believe in the penalty. Others voiced opposition. One potential juror said she thinks it is a waste of time and that resources that can be better spent.

Those who said they were already certain about what their vote would be, because of their feelings about the death penalty, were dismissed.

The pool is down to 65, with 50 others on reserve. Jury selection will continue Thursday.

Opening statements could be given as early as Friday.

Alexandra Zayas can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 310-2081.

Potential jurors in police officer's slaying quizzed about death penalty thoughts 11/02/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 2, 2011 5:19pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. One of the best places for investing in a rental house is in Tampa Bay

    Real Estate

    Two Tampa Bay ZIP Codes are drawing national attention.

    . If you're looking to invest in a house to rent out, few places are better than  ZIP Code 34607 in Hernando County's Spring Hill area, according to ATTOM Data Solutions.
 file photo]

  2. Bucs' Vernon Hargreaves: 'I'm not making any plays'


    TAMPA — Eli Manning gathered his receivers together on the sideline during the Giants' Week 4 game against the Bucs and told them he planned to target the weakest link of the secondary all afternoon.

    Patriots receiver Chris Hogan gets position in front of Bucs cornerback Vernon Hargreaves for a 5-yard touchdown pass in New England’s win on Oct. 5.
  3. Suspect in Maryland office park shooting is apprehended


    EDGEWOOD, Md. — A man with a lengthy criminal past who was fired from a job earlier this year for punching a colleague showed up for work at a countertop company on Wednesday and shot five of his co-workers has been arrested, authorities said. Three of them were killed and two critically wounded.

    Harford County, Md., Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler shows a picture of Radee Labeeb Prince, the suspect in the workplace shootings.
  4. Lightning's J.T. Brown to stop anthem protest, focus on community involvement

    Lightning Strikes

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Lightning wing J.T. Brown will no longer raise his first as a protest during the national anthem before games.

    J.T. Brown says he will work more with the Tampa police and groups that serve at-risk young people.
  5. The two Ricks tangle at what may be final debate


    ST. PETERSBURG — In what was likely the last mayoral forum before the Nov. 7 election, Mayor Rick Kriseman and former Mayor Rick Baker started out small, discussing neighborhood issues like recycling and neighborhood funding. They ended tangling over familiar subjects: the future of the Tampa Bay Rays, sewage …

    Ex-Mayor Rick Baker, left, and Mayor Rick Kriseman, right, debated familiar topics. The Times’ Adam Smith moderated.