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

By Ezzy Castro - Reporter, Erik von Ancken - Anchor/Reporter

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.

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.

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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