Broward County

Long Buck Wild gang trial impedes jury selection

Jury selection continued this afternoon in what is expected to be a weeks-long racketeering and conspiracy trial of five alleged members of the Buck Wild gang.

Palm Beach County Circuit Judge John Kastrenakes quizzed a group of several dozen prospective jurors about whether they could be fair to the men investigators believe were active members of one of the county's most violent gangs - which has been tied to at least 24 shootings and seven murders in Palm Beach County.

But the biggest hindrance for prospective jurors so far has been committing to serving on the panel for the long trial.

Kastrenakes told the prospective jurors to expect to commit to serving on the panel through May and most of June, which some jurors said they were unable to do for financial reasons. Others said they would have to check with their employers.

One prospective juror, a college journalism professor, said the possible two-month commitment would force her to miss part of her spring semester and cancel her summer classes. Kastrenakes asked her to see if the students could be reimbursed.

Another juror, who lives in New Jersey for part of the year, said she was scheduled to return north sometime next month.

Other prospective jurors included retirees, at least two engineers, an investment banker, a sales manager, a teacher and a pilot who told Kastrenakes that he needed to attend training on a new aircraft during the trial.

Authorities have said the Buck Wild gang terrorized parts of Palm Beach County and committed shootings, robberies and drug crimes to support an ongoing criminal enterprise.

Sheriff Ric Bradshaw and State Attorney Michael McAuliffe hailed their arrests of eight alleged Buck Wild members last year as a major victory in the fight against Palm Beach County gangs.

Of those eight men, five of them - Marquis Alfred, James Anderson, Larry Coe, Quamaine Falana and James Roundtree - will stand trial together before the jury now being selected.

Each defendant has his own attorney.

Before lunch, Kastrenakes gave today's prospective jurors a list of 200 potential witnesses in the case and asked them to identify any they knew.

Kastrenakes also told today's panel that jurors that make it through this round of jury selection will return next week for a final round of jury selection.

The trial is expected to begin May 9.

Related stories from Miami Herald