Dozens dismissed on day 1 of jury selection for man accused of killing Kissimmee officers

Everett Miller charged with murder in deaths of Matthew Baxter, Sam Howard

The first day of jury selection began Monday for a man accused of killing two Kissimmee officers.

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Jury selection began Monday morning in the murder trial for Everett Miller, a Marine veteran accused of killing two Kissimmee police officers.

Early on, 9th Circuit Judge Greg Tynan told the courtroom of about 70 potential jurors his expectations.

"We're looking for a few good men or women who can follow the law, listen to the testimony with an open mind, not have any hidden agendas, and who can fairly decide the facts of this case," Tynan said. "Simply put, we need your help. We recognize serving on a jury for three to five weeks can present a hardship for some of you."

Tynan dismissed dozens of juror candidates throughout the day because of hardships, because they were not Osceola County residents, because they were convicted felons, or because they didn't speak English well enough and indicated they didn't understand the proceedings or had concerns about understanding the proceedings.

Tynan is looking to whittle down the jury pool to 12 jurors and four alternates by next Monday.

He said the guilt phase will likely take a week and, if jurors convict Miller, they will return Nov. 12 for the penalty phase, which may include recommending a death sentence for Miller.

Authorities said Miller, 47, shot and killed Officer Matthew Baxter and Sgt. Sam Howard on Aug. 18, 2017.

Investigators said Baxter was responding to a call at Palmway and Cypress streets, an area known for drug dealing.

Jury selection is scheduled to begin in the murder trial for a man accused of killing two Kissimmee police officers.

A cellphone video clip shows Baxter calling dispatch for a sergeant after Miller refused to show his driver's license. Investigators said Miller became defensive, pulled out a gun and shot both men.

Court records later revealed that Miller had been taken into custody under Florida's Baker Act two weeks before the shooting. Miller's family said he suffers from PTSD after serving in the military.

Miller faces first-degree murder charges in the deaths of Baxter and Howard and could face the death penalty if convicted.

The widow of a slain Kissimmee officer says she will attend the trial for the man accused of killing her husband.

Sadia Baxter, Officer Baxter's widow, was in court Monday for the first day of jury selection. She told News 6 she will be in court for each day of the trial. 

[RELATED: Widow of slain Kissimmee police officer says she will attend murder trial every day]

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About the Authors:

Ezzy Castro is a multimedia journalist on News 6's morning team who has a passion for telling the stories of the people in the Central Florida community. Ezzy worked at WFOR CBS4 in South Florida and KBMT in Beaumont, Texas, where she covered Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Being from Miami, Ezzy loves Cuban coffee and croquetas!

Erik von Ancken anchors and reports for WKMG-TV News 6 (CBS) in Orlando and is a two-time Emmy award-winning journalist in the prestigious and coveted "On-Camera Talent" categories for both anchoring and reporting. Erik joined the News 6 News Team in 2003 days after the tragic loss of space shuttle Columbia.