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What would it be like to serve as a juror in the Aurora movie theater shooting trial?

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Posted at 8:04 PM, Apr 15, 2015
and last updated 2015-04-27 08:23:44-04

For the 19 women and five men selected to serve on the jury for the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting trial, the opportunity to make summer plans is drastically limited.

All 24 of them will be required to be in court almost every weekday, staring on April 27. Their typical work day will begin at 8:30 a.m. and last until 5 p.m., according to court spokesman Rob McCallum.

The trial could last four months.

MORE | Where can I watch the theater shooting trial?

In exchange, they'll be paid weekly at a rate of $50 per day (although some jurors indicated their union or employers will continue to pay their normal wages). Reimbursements for transportation will not be offered, but the court will provide lunch and may also provide dinner if the jurors decide to work late.

In the courtroom, jurors will be faced with graphic evidence and emotional testimony recounting the July 20, 2012 shooting. We know that throughout the selection process, the jurors were asked questions about their ability to pay attention and stomach "graphic crime scene evidence."

RELATED | Columbine survivor on theater shooting jury

All 24 will need to sit through the entire trial before they find out who is really a member of the jury and who is an alternate. As in every criminal case, they'll be instructed to presume the defendant is innocent, disregard any information gathered outside the courtroom and to give fair consideration to the evidence.

In about three months, the twelve actual jurors will need to decide if the defendant, James Holmes, is guilty of the 166 charges he faces or not guilty by reason of insanity.

If they find him guilty, the jury will have to sit through another month-or-so of testimony before they are asked to decide his punishment. The prosecution will ask them to put Holmes to death.

And the jurors' lives may not be much easier outside the courtroom.

Jurors are forbidden from discussing the case with anyone, including their families. They are also prohibited from researching the case on their own or consuming news coverage about the trial. 

Even though the identities of the jurors are being kept secret, at least one of the jurors also expressed a concern for her privacy during and after the trial.

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