A panel of potential jury members was brought into a Galveston County courtroom shortly after 9 a.m. Tuesday as jury selection began in the trial of accused Jefferson County Courthouse shooter, Bartholomew Granger.
Granger was in the courtroom shortly before proceedings began. He was smiling and making small talk with his attorney.
191 jury summons were mailed to potential jurors. As of Tuesday evening, the number was slashed to 113. 80 people went before Judge Bob Wortham and asked to be excused from the case. Numerous people cited job duties and numerous others said they have heard about the courthouse shooting and have already set their minds on how they would rule in the case.
Judge Wortham is the presiding judge in the Capital Murder Trial.
On March 8, Judge Wortham ruled on 46 motions for the trial.
The key motions included trial recordings. The trial will be recorded. However, a court reporter will not be needed for private meetings between attorneys and the judge.
Business suits are being provided for Granger. Suits are available at the courthouse that are used in many cases. Those were brought to Galveston.
During the jury selection phase of the trial, attorneys are allowed to ask their own questions.
Both the defense and prosecution provided Judge Wortham with those questions before Tuesday. On Tuesday, the 113 remaining potential jurors were given questionnaires that attorneys will review on Wednesday. Jury selection will start back up on Thursday.
Once the 12 jurors are seated, the Capital Murder trial will begin. It's expected to last two more weeks after the jury selection phase.
The Jefferson County District Attorney's office tells 12News it will seek the death penalty in the case if Granger is found guilty.
As for security, local bailiffs will be inside the courtroom. Judge Wortham and staff will also be guarded 24-hours a day. Galveston County officials are patrolling the parking lot the entire trial. Judge Wortham tells 12News there are private walkways and private elevators just for judges.
The 2012 Courthouse shooting happened during the break of Granger's sexual abuse case. Prosecutors say Granger opened fire on March 14 outside the courthouse. 79-year-old Minnie Seabolt was killed and three others were injured, including Granger's daughter.
The trial has been moved to Galveston to avoid jurors walking through the crime scene as they go to trial each day.
"We transferred the case to Galveston County at the request of the defense attorney and request of prosecutor. We traveled with the case. So, that means I had to bring my own clerk, my own bailiff and my own court reporter," says Wortham.
The prosecution is seeking the death penalty if Granger is found guilty. The defense asked the jurors on Tuesday to consider life in prison if Granger is found guilty.
Stay with 12News throughout the trial as we will update you on proceedings.
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