Slow Start To Bartlett Trial

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BROOKSVILLE – A pool of 50 jurors and almost eight hours were needed, but a 10 person jury was in place by the end of the opening day of Steve Bartlett’s trial.

Now that a jury is seated, their job is to decide whether Bartlett deliberately stole nearly a million dollars from customers expecting homes from his now bankrupt company, Coral Bay Construction.

The trial is expected to take upwards of four weeks as more than 100 witnesses take the stand and close to 1,000 pieces of evidence are submitted.

The prospect of spending a month in court scared off many prospective jurors, while others were dismissed because of prior knowledge about Bartlett’s case.

By 3:15 p.m. – about seven hours from when jurors first showed up – the core group of six jurors was chosen.

In the end, all the parties involved settled for four alternates instead of the originally proposed six. Every juror in the original pool of 50 was either used or dismissed.

“It came down to the last juror,” Assistant State Attorney Mark Simpson said.

Opening arguments will begin today at 9 a.m.

Bartlett is charged with grand theft of more than $100,000; his attorney, Donald Harrison, has made the argument that Bartlett simply took on more jobs than he could handle.

Reporter Kyle Martin can be reached at 352-544-5271 or kmartin@hernandotoday.com

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