Jury selection under way in Anthony murder trial - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Jury selection under way in Anthony murder trial

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CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) — Jury selection started Monday in the trial of an Orlando woman charged with killing her 2-year-old daughter.

Casey Anthony's trial will take place in Orlando, but jurors are being selected at a courthouse about 100 miles away because of intense media coverage. The first panel of potential jurors met with the judge and attorneys Monday morning in Clearwater.

Chief Judge Belvin Perry hopes to have 20 jurors — including eight alternates — in place by the end of the week so the trial can begin May 17. Potential jurors will undergo two rounds of questioning and be asked if they could recommend the death penalty for Anthony.

She is charged with first-degree murder, and any juror who couldn't recommend death would be disqualified.

Anthony, 25, has pleaded not guilty to killing her daughter Caylee and says a baby-sitter kidnapped her. After a massive search, the girl's body was found seven months after her June 2008 disappearance. It was discovered by a meter reader in some woods about a quarter of a mile from the home mother and daughter had shared with Anthony's parents and brother. Detectives said residue of a heart-shaped sticker was found on duct tape over the mouth of her skull.

Monday was spent identifying jurors who have personal issues that would preclude them from serving the six to eight weeks the trial is expected to last. Those not dismissed for those reasons must come back later for more questioning.

Defense attorney Jose Baez objected to the first panel of about 100 people in its entirety, saying that it wasn't representative of Orlando's demographics because it had only two Hispanic and four African-American jurors.

Perry denied the objection and questioning of the panelists began.

Perry also issued an order Monday morning denying a defense request to exclude air tests from carpet sample taken from Anthony's car. Tests for odors associated with a body's decomposition were run on the carpet sample and the tests identified chloroform in the sample.

Chloroform is a chemical associated with decomposition but also can be used to render a person unconscious.

The tests have never been admitted in a trial in the United States.

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