SAN ANTONIO – Prosecutors, defense attorneys and 226th District Court Judge Velia Meza spent the bulk of the day Tuesday in what Meza said is an extremely important part of the trial process -- jury selection.
"It is probably the most important thing that we do in a trial," Meza said.
Meza's said her job is to focus on the trial's integrity.
For the lawyers, jury selection is an opportunity to make a connection with the prospective jurors.
Veteran criminal defense attorney Tylden Shaeffer, who is not involved in Nicholas Yearwood's trial, said that during the jury selection process, lawyers get an opportunity to hear the views of prospective jurors.
"It's a difficult procedure because you've got to get the jurors on that panel to talk," he said.
Shaeffer said for the lawyers, establishing a dialogue with the panel is an uphill battle as they try to gain their trust.
"Most people have a disdain for lawyers, so it's very important during jury selection that they get to know you as a person and form some sort of level of trust," he said.
Defense lawyers have the additional challenge of dealing with first impressions of their client, Shaeffer said.
"As the jury walks in, they're all thinking, 'What did he do?'" Shaeffer said.
This is Yearwood's second trial for the slaying of Jacob Mauricio, 32, who was shot to death in Yearwood's apartment in June 2018.
His first trial ended in a hung jury.
As he did in his first trial, Yearwood is claiming self-defense.
Testimony is set to begin Wednesday.