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>>

  • Squatters moving out of New Port Richey soldier's home

    Squatters moving out of New Port Richey soldier's home

    Thursday, April 24 2014 6:50 AM EDT2014-04-24 10:50:51 GMT
    Squatters begin moving out of Spc. Michael Sharkey's home on Wednesday night.Squatters begin moving out of Spc. Michael Sharkey's home on Wednesday night.
    Our 8 On Your Side story about a New Port Richey soldier who says his home has been taken over by squatters is striking a nerve in the community and now, the squatters are moving out. 
    Our 8 On Your Side story about a New Port Richey soldier who says his home has been taken over by squatters is striking a nerve in the community and now, the squatters are moving out.  
  • Pricey processing issue at Tampa hair academy resolved

    Pricey processing issue at Tampa hair academy resolved

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 9:35 AM EDT2014-04-23 13:35:13 GMT
    Loretta Maloy says she always expected to pay for the courses she took those several weeks, but thought $10,000 in loans just wasn’t right.
    Loretta Maloy says she always expected to pay for the courses she took those several weeks, but thought $10,000 in loans just wasn’t right.
  • New Port Richey soldier says squatters won't leave his home

    New Port Richey soldier says squatters won't leave his home

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 8:58 AM EDT2014-04-23 12:58:50 GMT
    Soldier & homeowner Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago. Facebook photoSoldier & homeowner Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago. Facebook photo
     When soldier Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago, he asked a friend to watch over his New Port Richey house. Now, they're fighting to get their house back.
    When soldier Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago, he asked a friend to watch over his New Port Richey house. Now, they're fighting to get their house back.
  • NewsMore>>

  • FDA proposes first regulations for e-cigarettes

    FDA proposes first regulations for e-cigarettes

    Thursday, April 24 2014 11:04 AM EDT2014-04-24 15:04:09 GMT
    The federal government wants to ban sales of electronic cigarettes to minors and require approval for new products and health warning labels under regulations being proposed by the Food and Drug Administration.
    The federal government wants to ban sales of electronic cigarettes to minors and require approval for new products and health warning labels.
  • Silver Alert issued for missing, endangered Polk man, age 77

    Silver Alert issued for missing, endangered Polk man, age 77

    Thursday, April 24 2014 11:02 AM EDT2014-04-24 15:02:12 GMT
    Robert Ringler, age 77, is considered missing and endangeredRobert Ringler, age 77, is considered missing and endangered
    The Polk County Sheriff's Office issued a Silver Alert Thursday morning for Robert Ringler, age 77, who is considered missing and endangered.
    The Polk County Sheriff's Office issued a Silver Alert Thursday morning for Robert Ringler, age 77, who is considered missing and endangered.
  • Squatters left dogs at soldier's house in New Port Richey

    Squatters left dogs at soldier's house in New Port Richey

    Thursday, April 24 2014 10:49 AM EDT2014-04-24 14:49:54 GMT
    One of the dogs left at the soldier's houseOne of the dogs left at the soldier's house
    The house of Army Spc. Michael Sharkey sat almost empty early Thursday morning after two squatters said they moved out the day before.
    The house of Army Spc. Michael Sharkey sat almost empty early Thursday morning after two squatters said they moved out the day before.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Squatters moving out of New Port Richey soldier's home

    Squatters moving out of New Port Richey soldier's home

    Thursday, April 24 2014 6:50 AM EDT2014-04-24 10:50:51 GMT
    Squatters begin moving out of Spc. Michael Sharkey's home on Wednesday night.Squatters begin moving out of Spc. Michael Sharkey's home on Wednesday night.
    Our 8 On Your Side story about a New Port Richey soldier who says his home has been taken over by squatters is striking a nerve in the community and now, the squatters are moving out. 
    Our 8 On Your Side story about a New Port Richey soldier who says his home has been taken over by squatters is striking a nerve in the community and now, the squatters are moving out.  
  • Woman claims pedicure crossed the line

    Woman claims pedicure crossed the line

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 11:45 PM EDT2014-04-23 03:45:39 GMT
    A Shreveport woman said a nail tech from Style Nails in Shreveport crossed the line during a pedicure, and that she has cell phone video to prove it.
    A Shreveport woman said a nail tech from Style Nails in Shreveport crossed the line during a pedicure, and that she has cell phone video to prove it.
  • Search halted for missing Gaboon Viper

    Search halted for missing Gaboon Viper

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 7:08 PM EDT2014-04-22 23:08:20 GMT
    The missing viper could still be out there, but the search has been halted for safety concerns.
    The missing viper could still be out there, but the search has been halted for safety concerns.
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.