A jury is ready to go in the Mark Jensen re-trial and opening statements will begin tomorrow morning. Special Prosecutor Bob Jambois said he needed about an hour and a half and the defense said they needed “less than that.”
The potential jurors were brought to the ceremonial court room where Judge Schroeder usually presides. It is much larger than Judge Milisauskas’ court room. The room was quickly filled with 94 jurors. Of those, 57 said the 4-5 week time commitment wasn’t possible. A Disney World trip with a grandpa and granddaughter, a vacation in Key West, health and employment concerns were among the reasons many of them were dismissed. One potential juror gave the room of over 100 people a laugh when he asked about the “$16 per hour” for jury duty. “That’s $16 per day,” said Special Prosecutor Jambois.
Notwithstanding the serious reason for the large assembly, Judge Milisauskas did his best to be efficient and courteous to the men and women who had to wait around for hours to learn if they would determine the guilt or innocence of Mark Jensen, who is accused of killing his wife with anti-freeze and ambien. The court room got very warm, so the bailiff’s opened three of the windows to the massive room. One by one each potential juror talked about their ability to be in trial for 4-5 weeks. Some of their jobs paid for them to be on jury duty, some did not. The judge was sympathetic to those who were not paid when they didn’t work, like a prominent local realtor. Nothing more noteworthy today. 16 jurors were seated – 9 women and 7 men. Four of them are alternates. Court TV is set up and will begin to live-stream the trial tomorrow.