Zimmerman jury could be seated by mid-week - WFLA News Channel 8

Zimmerman jury could be seated by mid-week

Posted: Updated:
George Zimmerman in court George Zimmerman in court
SANFORD, FL (WFLA) -

A defense attorney in George Zimmerman's murder trial said at the end of the first week of jury selection that he thinks a jury could be seated by the middle of next week.

After five days of the selection process, 29 potential jurors have passed through an initial round of questioning about what knowledge they have already gained through media and other means about the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in a Sanford, Fla., gated community.

"I know it's slow-going to the outside, but it's not slow-going to the inside," defense attorney Mark O'Mara said. "I think it's working out pretty well."

O'Mara said that Zimmerman, the former neighborhood watch leader, has been eager to have the actual trial process begin.

"He's very encouraged because it's finally on the way. He's been waiting for 16 months for this process to start. He's looking very forward to the resolution and the acquittal," O'Mara said. "On the other hand, now it is real. And it's very stressful because the preparation is great and now we're in it."

Prosecutors and defense attorneys want to build a pool of 40 potential jurors who have been screened for any influence of pretrial publicity before they move to a second round of questioning. Attorneys had interviewed 41 potential jurors over five days by the end of Friday.

At least 75 potential jurors already have been dismissed.

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.

Before lunch, Judge Debra Nelson told 23 candidates to return Tuesday and she did the same to an additional six potential jurors before ending the day Friday.

Court spokesman Michelle Kennedy, however, said a tally she had received from the judge put the number of potential jurors called back at 28.

Of the 29 candidates, 19 are white; six are black; two are Hispanic; one describes himself as mixed race; and one is Asian-American. The racial and ethnic makeup of potential jurors is relevant because prosecutors claim Zimmerman profiled Martin when he followed him through his gated community shortly before the unarmed teen was fatally shot. The case prompted public outrage, as some critics believed authorities initially didn't investigate the case thoroughly because Martin was a black teen from the Miami area. Zimmerman identifies himself as Hispanic.

Many potential jurors asked to return were female and middle-aged.

A potential juror was dismissed from consideration and ordered not to come back to the courthouse until after the trial after he complained about the jury process outside the assembly room Friday. During questioning on Thursday, the judge asked the potential juror - a self-described musician and painter - if he had posted on Facebook about the case and he replied yes. He was told he could leave the courtroom a short time later.

Defense investigators were able to uncover the Facebook posting by the dismissed juror. O'Mara said he was worried about possible "stealth jurors," who want to sit on the jury with ulterior motives.

"It could have easily gotten by us," O'Mara said.

 FOLLOW US ON TWITTER: @wflatampa

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Pinellas front desk school staff trained to handle medical needs at some schools

    Pinellas front desk school staff trained to handle medical needs at some schools

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-08-26 21:15:59 GMT
    Penny Perez, of St. Petersburg, worries every time she sends her 11-year-old son, Keith, to school. Keith has a rare condition called Williams Syndrome. He is developmentally delayed, and if his blood pressure is too high for an extended period of time, his heart could stop.
    Penny Perez, of St. Petersburg, worries every time she sends her 11-year-old son, Keith, to school. Keith has a rare condition called Williams Syndrome. He is developmentally delayed, and if his blood pressure is too high for an extended period of time, his heart could stop.
  • Venice man says he has melting dashboard in his Toyota Camry

    Venice man says he has melting dashboard in his Toyota Camry

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 5:01 PM EDT2014-08-26 21:01:38 GMT
    Kayser Sayeg doesn't allow his wife to drive her 2008 Toyota Camry on long distances.In the hot Florida sun, the dashboard melts and becomes incredibly sticky.Aside from being a nuisance to clean, it causes a glare in the windshield, sometimes making it difficult to drive
    Kayser Sayeg doesn't allow his wife to drive her 2008 Toyota Camry on long distances.In the hot Florida sun, the dashboard melts and becomes incredibly sticky.Aside from being a nuisance to clean, it causes a glare in the windshield, sometimes making it difficult to drive
  • Apple recalls iPhones for battery trouble

    Apple recalls iPhones for battery trouble

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 8:16 AM EDT2014-08-26 12:16:28 GMT
    Noticed your iPhone's battery life getting shorter? You may be eligible for a free replacement.
    Noticed your iPhone's battery life getting shorter? You may be eligible for a free replacement.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Largo travel club head now caught up in Dr. Oz magic diet pill controversy

    Largo travel club head now caught up in Dr. Oz magic diet pill controversy

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 4:56 PM EDT2014-08-27 20:56:40 GMT
    File photo: Nicholas Congleton File photo: Nicholas Congleton
    It turns out the subject of an Eight On Your Side investigation of a local travel club has another claim to fame. He's at the heart of a "magic diet pill" promoted by Dr. Oz and vilified by the FTC.That means Nicholas Congleton is at the heart of two business schemes that are under investigating by state and federal consumer protection authorities for misleading or taking advantage of unwitting customers.
    It turns out the subject of an Eight On Your Side investigation of a local travel club has another claim to fame. He's at the heart of a "magic diet pill" promoted by Dr. Oz and vilified by the FTC.That means Nicholas Congleton is at the heart of two business schemes that are under investigating by state and federal consumer protection authorities for misleading or taking advantage of unwitting customers.
  • Tanker overturns on I-75, spills gas, closes lanes for hours

    Tanker overturns on I-75, spills gas, closes lanes for hours

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 4:37 PM EDT2014-08-27 20:37:32 GMT
    Northbound lanes on Interstate 75 between Bee Ridge Road and Fruitville Road closed Wednesday morning after an accident involving a tanker. Two lanes have re-opened as of 4:30 p.m.
    Northbound lanes on Interstate 75 between Bee Ridge Road and Fruitville Road closed Wednesday morning after an accident involving a tanker. Two lanes have re-opened as of 4:30 p.m.
  • Warning: Graphic video shows Sarasota man beating in-laws' dog

    Warning: Graphic video shows Sarasota man beating in-laws' dog

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 4:17 PM EDT2014-08-27 20:17:27 GMT
    Surveillance video shows Glover abusing dogSurveillance video shows Glover abusing dog
    A Sarasota County man has been arrested, accused of abusing and killing a miniature 12-pound Dachshund.
    A Sarasota County man has been arrested, accused of abusing and killing a miniature 12-pound Dachshund.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Tanker overturns on I-75, spills gas, closes lanes for hours

    Tanker overturns on I-75, spills gas, closes lanes for hours

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 4:37 PM EDT2014-08-27 20:37:32 GMT
    Northbound lanes on Interstate 75 between Bee Ridge Road and Fruitville Road closed Wednesday morning after an accident involving a tanker. Two lanes have re-opened as of 4:30 p.m.
    Northbound lanes on Interstate 75 between Bee Ridge Road and Fruitville Road closed Wednesday morning after an accident involving a tanker. Two lanes have re-opened as of 4:30 p.m.
  • 'Party mansion' in North Raleigh sells for $1 million

    'Party mansion' in North Raleigh sells for $1 million

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 12:42 PM EDT2014-08-26 16:42:52 GMT
    File photoFile photo
    A North Raleigh house commonly referred to as “the party mansion” sold last month for $1 million.
    A North Raleigh house commonly referred to as “the party mansion” sold last month for $1 million.
  • 12 arrested in Clearwater prostitution crackdown

    12 arrested in Clearwater prostitution crackdown

    Monday, August 25 2014 5:40 PM EDT2014-08-25 21:40:57 GMT
    The Clearwater Police Department targeted the East Gateway area in a crackdown on prostitution over the weekend.
    The Clearwater Police Department targeted the East Gateway area in a crackdown on prostitution over the weekend.
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.