As of February 12, 2015 the court has questioned a total of 183 prospective jurors. Questioning began at 11:15 am (2 hours and 15 minutes later than it is supposed to start). You could see Tsarnaev in what appeared to be a black suit jacket and a white shirt. Clean shaven with minimal hair on his chin, at 10:54 am the 21-year-old ran a hand through his hair, leaning back before slouching. The camera was angled so I could see the front of his face, which was hard to read – neither a soft nor hard look as he slouched, fiddling with a pencil as he read through a packet of paper.
Juror #418 was first. Questioned for 23 minutes-from 11:30 am to 11:53-I learned he works at a small company, and while he would likely be compensated during the length of a trial, it would be “beyond an inconvenience.” He had formed an opinion regarding Tsarnaev guilt: yes, he is guilty. The juror had been thinking about the topic a lot as of late but admitted: “I’m not sure I’m able to change my mind,” adding that his wife was a runner in the past and that in 2013, for whatever reason, other than luck, they were not there but in Watertown. He had seen the media, images of Tsarnaev in the “boat…[pictures] showed backpack…ran over his brother…why was he fleeing?” I look up at Tsarnaev-no reaction.
Juror 418 added: “if evidence was compelling perhaps I would be able to change my mind.” In terms of the juror’s thoughts on the death penalty? “It’s more appropriate to stay in jail and think about the crimes they did.” Juror 418 seemed to wrestle with his thoughts regarding putting aside presumption of guilt and the death penalty, ultimately concluding: “I can listen to all different sides…I just don’t know if I could go along with imposing it.”
Juror 418’s questioning lasted far longer than other’s. Juror #403, who followed and was questioned for only 3 minutes before the Judge said, “I don’t think we’re going to ask you to do that,” referring to her missing work-she would only be paid for 28 days.
Juror #413 was adamant in his beliefs regarding the death penalty: “I’m opposed to the death penalty and will never vote to impose it in any case no matter what the facts.” One of Tsarnaev lawyers, David Bruck, asked if he was sure he could not consider both alternatives were the defendant was adjudged guilty. The juror, an Orthopedic assistant, responded: “I’m a citizen of the US…I help people. I could never do that [sentence someone to death].”
The next juror was skipped – we never saw him/her and the reason is unclear. Juror #423 was next. Questioned for 10 minutes it is clear that he, like Juror 413, is firm in his belief that the death penalty should never be imposed: “I watched my son volunteer to go to Iraq and while he is whole, many of his friends were killed or maimed and I think there’s been too much killing in my lifetime and I’m not prepared to participate in any more [killing]. Particularly when there’s another option [Life in Prison]. So I’m not going to participate in any process that kills anyone.” (this might not be verbatim).
Juror #425 followed. He is a high school history teacher with no opinion on the defendant’s guilt-he believes someone is “innocent until proven guilty.”
After a brief sidebar, Juror #427 was up next. A Special Ed teacher who, while she admitted she favored the death penalty could consider life in prison. Asked about what her coworkers said when they found out she had been called to jury duty, she replied: “‘They basically said, ‘fry him.’”
Juror #429, a banker, followed. He is unsure of the defendant’s guilt-he could follow the process of hearing evidence presented before forming an opinion. His thoughts on the death penalty? He thinks it should be in certain instances, but it “shouldn’t be thrown around lightly.”
Juror #431, with a disabled mother, child support issues and in the process of looking for work, is excused. Juror #434 was next. A manager of a hair salon located on Boylston street, she said missing work would be problematic. The salon, which was closed down during the bombing and several days after was dismissed. The next and last juror of the day-#437-was a construction manager, a friend of a Watertown police officer and a Watertown resident. The Judge say he seemed too close to the events, and he was excused.