Blind justice
Judicial proceedings for a murder trial were interrupted by outburst. Image: mira66/Flickr/CC BY-SA

The 10-day process of jury selection in Casey Anthony’s first-degree murder trial was interrupted Friday by an outburst from a woman in the Clearwater, Fla., courtroom.  Judge Belvin Perry had hoped to finalize the jury by midday.

Outburst in the courtroom

Casey Anthony is accused of murdering her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, nearly three years ago. Judge Perry was questioning a prospective juror for the Anthony murder trial when Elizabeth Ann Rogers, a 29-year-old white woman seated in the Pinellas County courtroom gallery, yelled out “She killed somebody anyway!”

Bailiffs escort woman out

Judge Perry called for a recess as bailiffs escorted Rogers out of the courtroom.  On her way out, Rogers was heard saying “I didn’t know I’d get that emotional,” according to courtroom reporter Melanie Michael.

Repentant woman blames mental disorder

Later, when speaking to the judge, a sobbing Rogers, flanked by nine bailiffs, claimed “I’ve never been in a courtroom like this. I have a 3-year-old son. I’m very sorry. I never meant anything like this. I apologize. I will never do this again. I am bipolar, manic depressive, post-traumatic distress.” She also claimed to be on prescribed doses of Thorazine and methadone.

Judge Perry sentenced her to two days in jail for contempt of court, citing that his leniency was in deference to her medical condition. “Normally, I’d sentence you to 179 days in Pinellas County jail,” he added.

Case receives national attention

Jury selection is being held outside of Orlando because of intense pretrial publicity. The Casey Anthony trial comes nearly three years after her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, was reported missing on June 16, 2008, This led to a search that captured national headlines.  Some 1,500 to 1,800 people participated in that search, making it among the largest searches ever for a missing child.

Anthony maintains her innocence

Caylee Anthony’s remains were found in December 2008 near her family home. Casey Anthony, 25, maintains her innocence, claiming her daughter was abducted by a babysitter.

Sources

WTSP.com: http://www.wtsp.com/news/topstories/article/193156/250/Casey-Anthony-Outburst-in-courtroom

Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/19/casey-anthony-jury-selection_n_864421.html#s276329&title=Casey_Anthony_Jury

Time Union: http://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Outburst-from-gallery-halts-Anthony-murder-trial-1388275.php

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