Nassau County

‘There is a complexity:’ Jury selection begins to decide fate of man who killed Nassau County deputy

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Forty-four jurors filled into a Nassau County courtroom at 8:40 a.m. Friday as clipboards were handed out with questionnaires in hand.

Jurors were asked about their prior knowledge of the case against Patrick McDowell, the man who pleaded guilty to killing Nassau County deputy Joshua Moyers during a traffic stop in 2021.


Another question the potential jurors were asked: their feelings on the death penalty, a possible sentence for McDowell that Action News Jax law and safety expert Dale Carson outlined will likely complicate the jury’s decision.

“You have to as a juror determine whether or not someone should be put to death. In an odd way, it’s almost like being on a firing squad,” Carson said.

McDowell also will be sentenced under the newly enacted 2023 law, which now only requires 8 of 12 jurors to recommend the death penalty. It’s no longer a unanimous recommendation, like before. Carson added that the nature of the case, the killing of a law enforcement officer, could play a factor in McDowell’s fate.

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“There is a complexity, an additional layer of complexity in a case like this, from a defense perspective, because an individual who has a positive standing in the community has been slaughtered, according to the evidence,” Carson said.

Jury selection is expected to run through next Friday. The penalty phase itself, with the selected jurors, will run through at least the end of April.

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