Wed. 2:35 p.m.: Hamad trial starts amid protest

WARREN – A pool of 173 potential jurors showed up Wednesday morning at the Trumbull County Courthouse for the start of the capital murder trial of a Howland man, and by the time the lunch hour was over, some 35 were dismissed for a variety of reasons.

Nasser Hamad, 48, dressed in suit and tie, appeared in the courtroom of Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge Ronald J. Rice as defense attorneys and prosecutors started to question potential jurors.

Outside the courthouse, meanwhile, about a dozen people carried signs in support of Hamad were told by law enforcement to stay off the High Street NW side of Courthouse Square. They finally gathered on the northeast corner of High and North Park Avenue with some yelling “Free Nasser” at passing traffic.

Hamad is being tried on two counts of aggravated murder charges that carry the death penalty and six counts of attempting aggravated murder. He is accused of shooting two people dead and wounding three others outside his state Route 46 home on Feb. 25.