Jury Selection in Murder Trial Continues After Jurors Talk to Reporter

By Kevin Eck 

A Brunswick County Judge denied a motion to throw out the jury in a murder trial and start over, after an incident involving a local TV reporter and some bored jurors.

Alexa Block, a reporter for Wilmington, N.C. ABC affiliate WWAY, was waiting for the courtroom to reopen and standing by some jurors, when the jurors started pitching Block on a story about how they pass the time. They also asked about donating the money to the victim’s family.

The station reports Block didn’t talk long and left after getting a call from the station.

When Block returned to the courthouse in the afternoon, Judge Lewis asked her to approach the bench and explain what happened after it had been reported to a bailiff that someone had seen Block and the jurors talking. When there was some confusion about what exactly had happened, the judge asked Block to be sworn in and recount her story for the record. Payne, concerned about jurors who may have already made up their mind about the case and possibly discussed their opinion with others, then told Judge Lewis he wanted a new jury pool.

Payne made a formal motion to start over this morning, but Lewis denied the motion.

Court officials have said Block did nothing wrong.

So far seven jurors have been seated. The case still needs seven more jurors. That selection will continue from the current pool. If that runs out, another pool of jurors is available Monday.