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Jury selection underway in trial of former Palm Beach Gardens officer Nouman Raja

Posted at 5:10 AM, Feb 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-07 10:14:16-05

WPTV's Michelle Quesada is tweeting live from the courthouse. Scroll down to the end of the story to follow her tweets.

Jury selection is underway for the trial of former Palm Beach Gardens Police officer Nouman Raja. He is charged with the shooting death of 31-year-old Corey Jones in 2015. Dozens of potential jurors admitted Thursday to knowing something about the case.

Judge Joseph Marx gave jurors a brief synopsis of the case they may have to decide, without giving away too much.

"This case involves the shooting death of Corey Jones on October 18, 2015. The defendant Nouman Raja was a police officer with the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department when he shot Corey Jones," said Judge Marx.

Those jurors who do not know anything about the case were sent home to return Friday. The rest were questioned one by one. Some vaguely remembered news reports that aired right after the shooting.

"I just remember it being protests up at, kind of, city hall of Palm Beach Gardens that it did cause some racial tensions, really that's what I recall from it," said a juror.

Others said they know or recognized the Jones family in the courtroom. Attorneys wanted to know how that made them feel and if it would impact their ability to be fair.

"Even just walking out here seeing the victim in this case's family invokes some feelings, I don't believe I would be able to offer a truly unbiased judgement," said a juror.

The judge told jurors the trial is expected to last at least two weeks. He listened to jurors who expressed dedicating the time would be a hardship either physically or financially.

One juror's honesty got a laugh out of Raja and the rest of the room. "I would love to do my civic duty, but you need to know I smoke pot every day," said the juror who revealed he uses medical marijuana for a medical condition.

Judge Marx plans to continue questioning jurors Friday and hopes to have a jury seated by Monday.