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 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. A 5,000-year-old stone carving may be the world's first drawing of an eclipse


    An unassuming grass-covered stone mound outside of Dublin, Ireland, may be home to the world's oldest visual representation of a solar eclipse.

    This 5,000-year-old stone carving in Meath, Ireland, predating Stonehenge by at least 1,000 years, may be the world's oldest surviving depiction of an eclipse. [Courtesy of Michael]
  2. Kriseman picks Floribbean restaurant for Manhattan Casino


    Mayor Rick Kriseman picked a Floribbean-themed restaurant to highlight turning a new page in the historic Manhattan Casino, which has been shuttered for more than a year after the city …

    Kriseman makes his choice on a new tenant for the iconic Manhattan Casino: Floribbean cuisine
  3. Man arrested after authorities say he left kids in hot car at Publix

    Public Safety

    ZEPHYRHILLS — A Wesley Chapel man faces charges of child neglect after authorities say he left three children in a vehicle in the afternoon heat while he went into Publix to buy diapers.

    Oladele Iyunade
  4. Gradebook podcast: On hate speech at UF, and education reform in the Florida Legislature


    National events hit Florida hard this week, as the white nationalist group at the center of violent protests in Virginia worked to cement plans for a rally in Tally. Uni …

  5. Mother of woman killed in Charlottesville say she will not speak to Trump


    The mother of the woman who was run down by a car during violent clashes in Charlottesville, Va., said Friday that after seeing President Donald Trump's comments equivocating between white supremacist protesters and those demonstrating against them, she does not wish to speak with him.

    Susan Bro, mother to Heather Heyer, speaks during a memorial for her daughter on Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017, at the Paramount Theater in Charlottesville, Va.  Heyer was killed Saturday, when a car rammed into a crowd of people protesting a white nationalist rally.  [Andrew Shurtleff | Daily Progress via AP]