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While many Americans believe that jury duty is a civic obligation, others will go to great lengths in order to get out of it. One method is to take the late George Carlin’s advice and tell the counselors “I can spot a guilty person like that!” and snap your fingers.
Another option is to pull the sugar daddy card.
That was precisely what one Florida woman did recently as the penalty phase is set to commence in the Parkland school shooting case where Nikolas Cruz was found guilty of the premeditated murder of 14 students and three staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018.
What lay before the murderer now is a sentencing trial in which either the death penalty or life in prison without parole will be handed down for his crimes.
But a woman known only as Mrs. Bristol cannot be bothered with any deliberations as a member of the killer’s peers.
She told Circuit Court Judge Elizabeth Scherer she would be unavailable for several dates during the trial which is expected to last the entire month of July.
“I’m married, and I have my sugar daddy,” a prospective juror told a Florida judge this week in her bid to get out of serving on Parkland killer Nikolas Cruz’s death penalty jury. https://t.co/7sB6IVcFsW pic.twitter.com/JzH582T6oJ
— Michael Ruiz (@mikerreports) April 6, 2022
“July seventh, July fourth, and July eighteenth. And again, I need to figure out something. I have my sugar daddy that I see every day,” the native New Yorker explained.
“I’m sorry?” Judge Scherer asked.
“My sugar daddy,” Mrs. Bristol replied. “I’m married, and I have my sugar daddy,” she said of her predicament. “I see him every day.”
Perhaps wishing to avoid any further explanation of what they just heard, both counsel and the judge never circled back to Mrs. Bristol and she was summarily dismissed along with 120 other prospective jury members.
A Fort Lauderdale news outlet caught up with Mrs. Bristol a few days after her dismissal, apparently eager for her to elaborate on the unorthodox love triad and its effect on her civic duties.
She told WPLG that a month away from her obligations as the beneficiary of the mystery man could mean the forfeiture of $8,000 a month and the possible loss of her house.
“If I do this case for six months, I have a hardship that means my sugar daddy can’t support me,” she said.
“It’s all day for six-months and what’s my hardship? I need my sugar daddy money. I said to the judge, ‘I have a sugar daddy and I’m married and I have a husband, just like that,’” Bristol said.
The jury selection process for the penalty phase has not been without setbacks for arguably more legitimate reasons.
On Monday, Judge Scherer released a 60-person panel of potential jurors that she declared was tainted by emotional outbursts from several of the members after Cruz, 23, was brought into the courtroom. Additionally, seven women and one man had to be escorted from the premises during another 60-person panel review that same day.
“If you absolutely cannot sit here without breaking down or getting emotional, you can raise your hand,” she admonished those in the room.
“The ladies and gentlemen that have been taken out so far are people that are just so upset that they can’t sit here without getting emotional, and we don’t want to cause trauma for anyone,” Judge Scherer said Monday after the potential jurors were removed.
So far, 147 potential jurors have advanced to a further round of questioning, according to the Daily Mail.
Twelve jurors and eight alternates will ultimately be selected for the penalty phase in which it is expected the defense attorneys will attempt to use Cruz’s brain damage from his mother’s drug and alcohol abuse during pregnancy, allegations of sexual abuse and a long history of mental health problems as mitigating factors in the murderer’s fate.
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