FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami/AP) – Nearly a dozen potential jurors, who were previously dismissed by the judge during the jury selection process for Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz’s penalty trial, were brought to court on Monday.

The potential jurors were dismissed by Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer after they said they could not follow the law and reach a fair verdict.

READ MORE: Renewed Call For More Safety Measures After Deadly Rickenbacker Causeway Crash

Last week, however, Judge Scherer reversed herself after defense attorneys objected, saying they should have had the chance to further question the potential jurors. She also announced that the jury selection process would start over. As a result, almost 250 potential jurors who had said they could sit for a four-month trial will not be called back next month for further questioning. More than 1,200 candidates had been screened.

On Monday morning, 10 of the 11 potential jurors who were dismissed returned.

“We anticipate that the trial is going to begin in the middle of June and go through all of July, all of August, and all of September,” the judge told them.

They were asked if they had a hardship that would prevent them from serving, all but one said they did.

“It would just be a hardship for me, I am an independent contractor and if I’m not able to make money bills don’t get paid,” said one man.

“I’m a manager at a store, I work full time, and my parents are both sick,” said another of the potential jurors.

Nine of the 10 were excused and one was moved to the second round.

READ MORE: Divers Mark 20th Anniversary Of Sinking Spiegel Grove Off Key Largo

The 11th potential juror was a no-show. That person is apparently in the process of moving and didn’t show up.

At the end of Monday’s proceedings, the judge announced they were done for the week. The reason for the week long delay was because Cruz’s lead attorney Melisa McNeill is apparently ill.

No public explanation was given for McNeill’s absence, but Judge Scherer asked McNeill’s assistants if she was being tested. The attorneys and the judge then held a private conversation, after which Scherer adjourned, saying she hoped everyone stayed well.

Broward County Public Defender Gordon Weekes declined to discuss McNeill’s status, including whether she has COVID-19 or any other illness. One of the assistant prosecutors was also absent from Monday’s hearing without explanation.

Cruz, 23, pleaded guilty in October to murdering 17 and wounding 17 at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2018.

Given Cruz’s notoriety and the hatred, many in the community have for him, finding jurors who can be fair promises to be an excruciatingly long process. Jurors who pass the first stage by saying they can serve four months complete questionnaires about their backgrounds and their beliefs on the death penalty. Those are given to both sides. The prospects will be brought back in several weeks for further questioning, including whether they can be fair to Cruz.

The jurors who are selected will decide whether aggravating factors — the multiple deaths, the planning Cruz put into the killings and the cruelty with which they were carried out — outweigh mitigating factors such as the defendant’s lifelong mental and emotional problems, possible sexual abuse and the death of his parents.

For Cruz to be executed, the jury must vote unanimously for death. If one or more vote against it, he will be sentenced to life without parole.

MORE NEWS: Miami Man Is Florida's Newest Millionaire After Playing Lottery's 'Jackpot Triple Play'

(© Copyright 2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

CBSMiami.com Team