Three days and 130 potential jurors later and still no jury seated in the high profile Dalia Dippolito murder for hire trial. The jury pool of 200 is down less than 70 and lawyers are not done yet.
Keeping potential jurors sheltered from any news or information about the Dippolito trial is a top priority.
“Has anyone listened to or read any news accounts of this trial or seen anything about this case,” said Judge Glenn Kelley.
The defense team still has serious concerns going into day 4 of jury selection.
“This could be the most important part of the trial picking a fair and impartial jury,” said Brian Claypool, Dippolito’s Defense attorney.
The defense attorneys’ worries growing after a juror who admitted to accidentally seeing a news update on the case over the weekend, also admitted to a conversation between jurors that allegedly happened on the first day of jury duty.
“I guess there was a conversation in the hallway and some of the jurors may have known what the case was about and they mentioned well this case was Ms. Dippolito and I’m like ‘okay who is that’ “ said a potential juror.
The local media exposure and the seven year history of the case in Palm Beach County are the basis of a motion for a change of venue filed by Dippolito’s attorneys. Prosecutors argued the defense has contributed to the spotlight by doing interviews and posting on social media.
“I did tweet and it’s about primarily procedurally what’s happening in the case cause the community has a right to know, but it pales in comparison to the blitz of media that has been one-sided,” said Claypool.
Judge Kelley is determined to let the process play out before making a decision to strike down a jury panel and/or change the venue. The judge continued jury selection process and allowed prosecutors to begin questioning jurors. On Tuesday it will be the defense lawyers' turn.
"We’re allowed to dig very deep into the backgrounds of the jurors’ political beliefs, their life’s experiences and that’s going to be a very important part of the process," said Claypool.
Jurors were asked if they had any issues with deciding Dippolito's case based on the evidence, if they could follow the law whether or not they agree with it and if they had an issue with understand Dippolito, who is accused of hiring hit man to killer husband, is innocent until proven guilty.