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PBSO, deputy on trial after fatal shooting of unarmed man in May 2012

Posted at 7:28 AM, Feb 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-13 13:53:22-05

Jury selection begins Monday in a civil suit against the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and one of its deputies for a fatal 2012 shooting. 

The federal civil rights suit alleges Sgt. Michael Custer shot and unjustifiably killed Seth Adams, who was unarmed.

Adams was killed in the parking lot of his family’s nursery in Loxahatchee Groves.  

Custer told investigators that Adams shouted at him, grabbed him by the throat and went into his truck as if searching for a weapon. He says only then did he fire four shots.

Custer said he shot Adams because Adams would not follow commands. Adams' parents say the evidence shows Custer is lying.

The Adamses argue that evidence shows Custer was not choked. Blood spots also point to the fact that Adams was shot in the back of his truck, not by the front door, contradicting Custer's statements.

The jury will decide which story is more credible. If they determine Custer used unnecessary force, then the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office will be held liable as well.

Last week a judge ruled in favor of the family, allowing them to show an email citing "the evil plan” that may have been referring to plans to cover up evidence from the shooting.

PBSO says they have emails to prove there was no cover up.

The jury will decide if excessive force was used.

Several of the prospective jurors said today they've heard details of the case before.

Jurors were asked if they could be fair, what their relationship with police were like, and financial strain.

Jury selection continues. Lawyers are talking to a second jury pool now. Final juror selections are expected to happen Tuesday morning.

The trial is expected to last 4 weeks.