The selection of the jury that must evaluate the evidence that will be presented in the second trial against Pablo Casellas Torofor the murder of his wife Carmen Paredes Cintronresumed this Thursday in room 704 of the Bayamon Courtwith the interrogation of the candidates of the first group of citizens.
The process began last week, when 42 people from the first three panels of potential jurors were summoned, and 28 have already been excused, so there are still 10 women and four men as potential members of the group that must decide the future. from Casellas Toro.
The work began in the morning with a series of general questions and instructions given by the judge Nerivel Duran Guzman. Meanwhile, in the afternoon, the defense lawyer took his turn, Harry Padillawho asked questions with a view to learning the perspectives of some potential jurors on certain issues concerning the case.
For example, Padilla asked the members of the panel about their opinions regarding the use and carrying of weapons by citizens and if they had had experiences with the domestic violence. In that sense, he sought to know if his experiences and opinions would influence his ability to evaluate the evidence and render a fair judgment in the case.
“It’s going to take a while from the point of view of work-hours of the jury that is coming. “Because of what is happening in the room, it is going to take a long, long time.”said the lawyer during a break.
Two of the 14 candidates claimed they would not be able to give a fair judgement, particularly for religious reasons. Others indicated that the fact that sequestration of the jury is a possibility would prevent them from assuming that responsibility, since they are in charge of caring for family members.
Prosecutor Gabriel Redondo’s turn was brief given that, after the questions from the judge and the defense, many of his questions were already clarified.
Regarding the fact that some of the people verbalized being nervous or anxious, Redondo stressed that the court would do everything possible to make the jurors feel comfortable, at peace and able to render a fair judgment.
This group will also be summoned, at a later date, to be subjected to individual questions about the publicity of the trial. In addition, for this Friday, citizens from three other panels will be summoned.
Meanwhile, the judge was emphatic in emphasizing that jury candidates must avoid any exposure to information about the case that is reported in the media and refrain from discussing it with family members or their colleagues in the group.
For this new judicial process, 20 panels of 15 jury candidates each were created. Judge Duran Guzman separated more days on the calendar for jury selection, which, for the moment, will be done two days a week. The next dates are October 19, 20, 26 and 27; November 2, 3, 9 and 16; and December 1, 8, 15, 22.
Prosecutor Edwin Ortiz III reiterated that an extensive desaculation (selection) process is expected, precisely because the so-called long method was chosen. “I understand that it is going to take as long as it has to take.”he expressed.
On October 16, lawyer Padilla issued an informative letter, in which he notified the court of the reactivation of what he identified as a “campaign” that is mostly “negative against the accused, with the occasional neutral comment.” . In addition, he included an “inventory” of what was published in the news and entertainment media.
Paredes Cintron, 46, was murdered on the morning of July 14, 2012. The woman’s body was found in the pool area of a residence in the Tierra Alta III urbanization, in Guaynabo, and she had several gunshot wounds, including a shot to the head and another to the chest.
Casellas Toro faces charges of murder, violations of the Weapons Law, destruction of evidence and issuing false statements about a crime, all in relation to the femicide of Paredes Cintron. The former insurance broker was found guilty on January 22, 2014 with a verdict of 11-1 and sentenced, a month later, to 109 years in prison.
The sentencing appeal process began immediately and remained active until 2020, when the United States Supreme Court established that the verdict against a defendant charged with a serious crime must be unanimous, which applies to both the state and federal levels.
The decision of the federal Supreme Court applied to Casellas Toro because his case was in the appeal process and was not final and firm. The man was released under electronic monitoring on August 21, 2020, after paying $2 million bail.