Defense attorney Alex Morris looks over prospective jurors, as defendant Zachary Abell sits at right. [ David Adlerstein | The Times ]
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Jury selection opens for Seiden trial

It’s been a cold morning in the third floor courtroom at the Apalachicola courthouse for the start of the Aileen Seiden murder trial, but that’s not because of the crime being alleged.

Most of the 48 jurors who showed up for the first wave of jury selection wore their coats as they awaited questioning from Circuit Judge Frank Allman and the lawyers handling the case.

In addition, Clerk of Courts Michele Maxwell and her staff brought in space heaters to place around the courtroom’s public benches to help raise the temperature.

Maxwell said 600 jurors have been summoned , in four waves of 150 each, for possible selection on the 12-person jury that will decide the fate of Zachary R. Abell, 36, of North Miami Beach.

Zachary Abell, qho is on trial for allegedly murdering Aileen Seiden in April 2018, appears in court Wednesday morning. [ David Adlerstein | The Times ]

Abell is charged with first-degree murder, accessory after the fact of a capital felony and tampering with physical evidence for allegedly taking part in beating to death Aileen Seiden, 31, at an Eastpoint motel on April 23, 2018, in a room that the two shared with a third traveling companion, Christina Marie Araujo, 44, of Palm Beach.

Abell and Araujo are accused of dumping Seiden’s body in a cul-de-sac at a vacant subdivision off U.S. 98, before hurrying back to Miami where they were later apprehended.,

Araujo was initially set to be tried at the same time as a co-defendant. But she chose in May 2023 to plead guilty to a lesser charge of second-degree murder, and is expected to appear as a witness in the upcoming trial.

Assistant State Attorney Jarred Patterson addresses the jury pool, while colleague Eddie Evans sits at left. [ David Adlerstein | The Times ]

Dressed in a three-piece suit with his hair closely cropped, Abell sat alongside his Tallahassee attorney, Alex Morris as Circuit Judge Frank Allman began what is likely to be a two-day process of choosing a jury.

Representing the prosecution is Assistant State Attorney Jarred Patterson, who will be handling the trial with help from Eddie Evans, an assistant state attorney who works out of Tallahassee.

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Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor


  1. And nobody wants to help the colorblind guy out while he is getting ready for court? He has on the wrong vest with that jacket….

    1. For trying to run away from an abusive relationship WITH the victim? Ya, that makes sense! Y’all just don’t see it! Took me a long while to see it because I didn’t like her, but, ya, Zach loved Ah and this is his punishment for that…

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