First Day of Trial for Monster John Couey
This trial case is going to be heart breaking and difficult to cover. I want to see it over with, so hopefully time will fly until he is put to death.
TAVARES -- Potential jurors were questioned for the first time Monday for the murder trial of a convicted sex offender accused of kidnapping, raping and killing 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford.
John Evander Couey, 47, appeared in court wearing a gray suit as officials began preliminary questioning of a pool of 284 potential jurors. Jessica's father, Mark Lunsford, sat in court behind the prosecutors' table, across the courtroom from Couey, a former neighbor.
Because of the pervasive publicity in the county, state Circuit Judge Ric Howard moved jury selection to Tavares in Lake County, northwest of Orlando.
Before beginning jury selection, Howard ruled that defense attorney Dan Lewan could not question Mark Lunsford about his finances or introduce evidence of pornography found in the delete bin of a computer in his home after his daughter disappeared.
Howard also said he would decide later on a motion by Lewan to keep the jury from seeing photographs of Jessica's body. Lewan said the photos are ``difficult to look at'' and would be prejudicial.
The state's job to convict Couey was made more difficult when Howard ruled June 30 that his taped confession could not be used as evidence in the trial because investigators had ignored his requests for an attorney.Howard ruled, however, that prosecutors can still use the discovery of Jessica's body buried outside the mobile home where Couey had been living, as well as a bloody mattress from the mobile home that has Jessica's DNA on it.
Other incriminating statements he made later to investigators and a jail guard also can be used during the trial. Prosecutors say they are confident they have enough evidence to convict him. [read more]
Tags: John Couey, Couey's Confession, Florida Judge Ruling Couey, Jessica Lunsford, Sex Predator Confessed, Couey Confessed killing Jessica, Florida Couey Case,
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