Day one of jury selection concluded on Tuesday afternoon in the murder trial of Othal Wallace, the man accused of shooting and killing Daytona Beach police officer Jason Raynor. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Wallace, who allegedly committed the crime in June of 2021.
Out of the initial 69-person jury pool, 36 potential jurors remained at the end of the day’s proceedings. These candidates are currently undergoing rigorous questioning, with the composition of the jury being the primary reason for the trial’s relocation to Clay County.
Earlier this year, Wallace’s defense team requested a change in venue, citing concerns about finding an impartial jury in Volusia County due to the extensive media coverage the case has garnered. Consequently, the trial has been moved to Clay County to ensure fairness.
On Tuesday, the potential jurors went through multiple rounds of questioning. Wallace, along with his defense team, state prosecutors from Volusia, and Judge Raul Zambrano, will continue to be present throughout the coming weeks.
Once the jury selection process is complete, Wallace’s defense team will argue that he shot Raynor in self-defense during the 2021 incident. Conversely, the state will contend that Raynor was acting lawfully when he approached Wallace to inquire about a potentially stolen vehicle.
If a complete panel of 12 jurors and four alternates cannot be formed from the current pool, another group of potential jurors will be brought in on Thursday.
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