TULSA, Okla. — Attorneys expect the nine men and three women selected as jurors in the David Ware trial to decide his fate by the end of April.
Ware is accused of killing Tulsa Police Sgt. Craig Johnson and critically wounding Ofc. Aurash Zarkeshan.
The jurors were seated Thursday, and will be sworn in Monday before opening arguments.
It took nine days and dozens of hours of questioning by attorneys and the judge to find jurors who could be fair and impartial.
During the selection process, some potential jurors expressed concern or anxiety about the possibility of being selected.
Experts say serving in a case like Ware's can be stressful, but their service is crucial to democracy.
The state is asking jurors to sentence Ware to the death penalty.
"The consequences of the decision that they're going to have to make is absolutely weighing heavy on their mind," said Dr. Dennis P. Stolle, senior director of the Office of Applied Psychology at the American Psychological Association. He's also a former jury consultant. "It would weigh heavy on anyone's mind. "
Dozens of witnesses could be called to take the stand, including Ware's parents, Sgt. Johnson's wife and son, and Zarkeshan.
The courtroom is expected to be packed.
Both the state and Ware's attorneys are relying on the same piece of evidence to make their case: Video of the fatal traffic stop in June 2020.
"Sadly, they're probably going to have to watch some of the most difficult footage they've ever watched in their lives," said Tulsa County ADA Kevin Gray.
"We'll learn the truth about what happened on June the 29, 2020," said Kevin Adams, Ware's attorney.
The judge ordered jurors not to discuss the case with anyone, including fellow jurors.
"Not being able to vent or process what's going on in a way that a typical person would when experiencing something that's shocking to their system actually compounds the psychological distress," said Dr. David McLeod, an associate director of research for the School of Social Work at the University of Oklahoma. "There's actually a substantial body of literature that talks about how jurors can develop PTSD or other types of phenomenon mental health problems, particularly when they're not able to adequately and appropriately process that type of information."
Once the trial wraps up, the judge on the case will talk to the jurors to check in and see how they're going.
The court also gives them information on counseling services.