CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Jury selection in the Casey Anthony first-degree murder trial was brought to a sudden halt today when a woman watching the proceedings blurted out, "She killed somebody anyway."
The incident happened this morning at the Pinellas County Criminal Justice Center, during the voir dire of a potential juror. The woman, who identified herself as 29-year-old Elisabeth Rogers, was ushered out of the court room.
Judge Belvin Perry then ordered court into recess after Anthony’s defense team asked that the potential juror who was being questioned during the woman’s outburst be removed from the case. Perry granted the request and excused the juror.
Following a brief recess, a tearful Rogers was brought back into the courtroom. A visibly angry Perry then asked her to explain why she should not be held in contempt. Rogers said she had been at the courthouse for an unrelated hearing and happened to wander in.
Rogers claimed she is bipolar and mentally challenged. She also said she had not planned to say what she did.
Perry found Rogers in contempt, however, due to her alleged mental issues, sentenced her to two days in the Pinellas County Jail. If she were not disabled, Perry said he would have sentenced her to 179 days in jail.
Anthony's trial comes nearly three years after the search for her 2-year-old daughter Caylee captured the nation's attention. Some 1,500-1,800 people scoured the area near Anthony's home, making it one of the largest searches ever for a missing child.
Caylee was last seen on June 16, 2008, and officials found her remains in December 2008 near her family home. Casey Anthony, 25, has long maintained her innocence, claiming her daughter was abducted by a babysitter.
Anthony is accused of multiple charges, including capital murder, aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter of a child and misleading law enforcement. The prosecution seeks the death penalty.
After 11 days, 18 potential jurors have been selected but not sworn in. On Thursday, Perry was adamant that a 12-member jury would be seated by midday Friday; however, the proceedings are ongoing and attorneys still have four peremptory challenges left -– the state has three and the defense has one. If any of the challenges are used, jury selection could be extended into the weekend.