Jury selection enters Day 3 in Zimmerman trial - WFLA News Channel 8

Jury selection enters Day 3 in Zimmerman trial

Posted: Updated:
SANFORD, FL (WFLA) -

Attorneys trying to narrow down a pool of potential jurors for George Zimmerman's high-profile murder trial are getting closer to being allowed to ask the candidates more detailed questions about their lives.   

After two days of questioning more than a dozen people about how much publicity on the case they have already been exposed to, Wednesday could be the day lawyers get to delve deeper.   

In the jury selection process established by Circuit Judge Debra Nelson, once 30 jurors have been questioned individually about pretrial exposure and have not been dismissed for cause or hardships, they will be brought together as a group for broader questioning by lawyers on both sides.    

Thus far, Zimmerman's attorneys have been unable to find potential jurors who hadn't heard something about the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by the neighborhood watch volunteer.   

After reciting details about the case she had heard in the news, Juror "B-51," a white, female retiree, told the attorneys Tuesday that they're going to have a hard time finding jurors who haven't heard about the case and can only hope they find residents who can keep an open mind.      

"I haven't lived under a rock for the past year," she said. "It's pretty hard for people not to have gotten some information."   

By the end of the day Tuesday, the attorneys had questioned 14 potential jurors in person, and 70 jury candidates had been dismissed after filling out an initial questionnaire. That includes 30 released Tuesday.    

Attorneys stopped questioning a man in his 20s after he gave answers that indicated he wouldn't be impartial. The juror is known as "R-39" because potential jurors can be identified only by their numbers. He said Wednesday that "murder is murder," even if it's self-defense.     

The juror left the courtroom without defense attorneys asking questions. He was the 17th juror questioned by attorneys over three days.      

Zimmerman is pleading not guilty to second-degree murder. He says he shot Trayvon Martin in self-defense.

Zimmerman is pleading not guilty to a second-degree murder charge that could carry a life sentence if he is convicted. He claims he shot Martin in self-defense. A 44-day delay in Zimmerman's arrest led to protests around the United States. Protesters questioned whether the Sanford Police Department was seriously investigating the case of Martin, a black teen from the Miami area. Zimmerman identifies himself as Hispanic.     

Nelson has said she will keep the identities of the selected jurors anonymous but she rejected a defense request to sequester the initial jury pool of 500 residents.   

Attorneys need to find six jurors and four alternates. In Florida, 12 jurors are required only for criminal trials involving capital cases, when the death penalty is being considered.   

Defense attorneys asked potential jurors if being isolated during the trial would be a hardship, indicating they plan to ask Nelson to sequester the jury. Jury candidates who move on from the initial round of questioning about their knowledge of the case, face other rounds of interviews with the attorneys.      

Juror "B-65," the potential juror with the least knowledge of the case, was a middle-aged black woman who said Tuesday that she learned about it when a prayer was held at her church for the parties involved in the confrontation. She said she no longer owned a television. 

Juror "B-35," a middle-aged black man who owns vending machines, described protests last year over Martin's shooting as "saber-rattling." He wondered why there weren't protests over the fatal shootings of other African-American men in Sanford, the Orlando suburb where Martin was killed in February 2012. He also said he believed Zimmerman deserved his day in court.   

"I think they politicized it and made it a racial issue, and I didn't like that," said Juror "B-35."I wasn't agreeing with the racial connotation."  

Juror "B-7," a middle-aged white man, said he didn't think Florida's so-called stand-your-ground law was necessary in the state given other self-defense laws that were in place prior to its passage. The law allows a person to invoke self-defense if they feel a fatal shooting is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm. Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara, decided not to exercise his client's right to have a judge decide whether the case could be dismissed under the law.

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Mold takes over St. Pete condo, creeps into neighbors' homes

    Mold takes over St. Pete condo, creeps into neighbors' homes

    Friday, August 29 2014 5:48 PM EDT2014-08-29 21:48:06 GMT
    Josephine Ramos is literally sick about the toxic black mold growing in the St. Petersburg condominium beside hers. She's been feeling ill for months with headaches and breathing problems. Recently, she had peak inside the condo next doors and couldn't believe her eyes.
    Josephine Ramos is literally sick about the toxic black mold growing in the St. Petersburg condominium beside hers. She's been feeling ill for months with headaches and breathing problems. Recently, she had peak inside the condo next doors and couldn't believe her eyes.
  • Lakeland neighborhood has continuing water problems, asks 8OYS for help

    Lakeland neighborhood has continuing water problems, asks 8OYS for help

    Friday, August 29 2014 5:03 PM EDT2014-08-29 21:03:34 GMT
    Some Lakeland residents are tired of wondering whether they'll have water at home. Over the past month, they tell 8 On Your Side that they've lost water with no warning at least five times. And what's worse, the water stays off for up to eight hours at a time
    Some Lakeland residents are tired of wondering whether they'll have water at home. Over the past month, they tell 8 On Your Side that they've lost water with no warning at least five times. And what's worse, the water stays off for up to eight hours at a time
  • Abercrombie dropping logo to boost brand

    Abercrombie dropping logo to boost brand

    Friday, August 29 2014 7:15 AM EDT2014-08-29 11:15:46 GMT
    The Abercrombie & Fitch logo has lost the power it once wielded, so the struggling teen retailer plans to strip off the once-prized logo from its clothing. Shares tumbled Thursday after it reported weak sales as more teens shop elsewhere. 
    The Abercrombie & Fitch logo has lost the power it once wielded, so the struggling teen retailer plans to strip off the once-prized logo from its clothing. Shares tumbled Thursday after it reported weak sales as more teens shop elsewhere. 
  • NewsMore>>

  • TPD - house fire on Ida St. deliberately set

    TPD - house fire on Ida St. deliberately set

    Saturday, August 30 2014 2:26 PM EDT2014-08-30 18:26:55 GMT
    Crews with Tampa Fire Rescue arrived at this residence on Ida St. just after 2 am Saturday.Crews with Tampa Fire Rescue arrived at this residence on Ida St. just after 2 am Saturday.
    Timothy Mendenall spent the day cleaning up, after his rental home on Ida Street in Tampa caught fire. "All I know is when I got up the living room and the bedroom were burning," Mendenall said. "So we got the hose and buckets of water and then the Fire Department got here."
    Timothy Mendenall spent the day cleaning up, after his rental home on Ida Street in Tampa caught fire. "All I know is when I got up the living room and the bedroom were burning," Mendenall said. "So we got the hose and buckets of water and then the Fire Department got here."
  • Man struck, killed on US 41 in Tampa

    Man struck, killed on US 41 in Tampa

    Saturday, August 30 2014 12:08 PM EDT2014-08-30 16:08:23 GMT
    The fatal crash is under investigation by the Florida Highway Patrol. The fatal crash is under investigation by the Florida Highway Patrol.
    A 43-year-old Gibsonton man was struck and killed Friday night while walking along US 41 in Tampa.James Warfle was pronounced dead at the scene at approximately 10:30 pm.
    A 43-year-old Gibsonton man was struck and killed Friday night while walking along US 41 in Tampa.James Warfle was pronounced dead at the scene at approximately 10:30 pm.
  • Missing New Port Richey couple rescued from Gulf

    Missing New Port Richey couple rescued from Gulf

    Saturday, August 30 2014 11:39 AM EDT2014-08-30 15:39:40 GMT
    The Coast Guard towed the couple's disabled sailboat back to land early Saturday.The Coast Guard towed the couple's disabled sailboat back to land early Saturday.
    A Bay area couple that failed to return from a boating excursion in the Gulf of Mexico was rescued early Saturday approximately 10 miles northwest of Anclote Key.A friend of Bogdan and Elizabeth Makowski contacted the United States Coast Guard Station Sand Key on Friday after not hearing from the couple for several days.
    A Bay area couple that failed to return from a boating excursion in the Gulf of Mexico was rescued early Saturday approximately 10 miles northwest of Anclote Key.A friend of Bogdan and Elizabeth Makowski contacted the United States Coast Guard Station Sand Key on Friday after not hearing from the couple for several days.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.