PUNTA GORDA Fla.- Seventy-six potential jurors showed up at the Charlotte County Justice center Monday to start the process of being screened as potential trial. Nathan Lee is suing the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office for the wrongful death of his wife Denise Amber Lee back in 2008.
On a January afternoon, Michael King abducted Lee at gunpoint from her North Port home. King would go on to rape and murder Lee before burying her in a shallow grave off of Toledo Blade Boulevard. The case gained international attention after it was revealed that a witness to the crime, Jane Kawolski had called 911 to report seeing Lee in Kings Camaro screaming and begging for help. The Charlotte County Sheriff's Office never dispatched anyone to Kawolskis call.
For three years, Nathan Lee has been trying to bring the Sheriff to trial in a civil suit claiming that his wife might still be alive today if the dispatch center had sent a deputy to the call. Attorneys for the Sheriff have been claiming that the Sheriff's Office is afforded soverign immunity because they are a government agency. They have also been saying that they had no duty to protect Lee. Those claims and the appeals associated with it have kept the trial from coming to a courtroom until today.
Judge Christine Greider started screening potential jurrors today. Greider sent everyone home just after 4 o'clock without seating a jury. Everyone will return tomorrow at 9:30 in the morning to resume the process of seating a jury. With 24 witnesses on the list to be called, lawyers say the trial could take as long as two weeks.
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