Now twenty-three, Steven Anthony Cozzie sat with his defense attorney's from Pensacola Monday as lawyers from the state attorney's office began questioning potential jurors Cozzie was arrested in June of 2011 and charged with the kidnap, rape and murder of fifteen year old Courtney Wilkes. The Georgia teenager was here on vacation with her family. A pool of seventy people took part in Monday’s selection process.
"The way we're going to try and select a fair and impartial jury is to ask you questions and for you to communicate with us. This will be the only time during the trial that you have an opportunity to speak to us" said Assistant State Attorney Bobby Elmore.
When asked by assistant state attorney Elmore who has heard of the case, an astounding fifty-three of them, nearly seventy-five percent, raised their hands.
"Is there anyone who believes they knew about this case in any way before they came here today? Alright everyone put your hands down" said Elmore.
The prosecution and defense teams spent the rest of the day closely examining potential jurors to come up with jurors and two alternates. Since this is a first degree murder case, Cozzie's life is literally in the hands of the jury.
"Let me advise you that the possible penalty for first degree murder there's two possibilities. One is life in prison the other is the possibility of the death penalty being imposed” said Circuit Judge Kelvin Wells.
The trial is expected to start Tuesday morning and last at least eight days.