George Zimmerman Trial: Attorneys pick 40 potential jurors - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

George Zimmerman Trial: Attorneys pick 40 potential jurors

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SANFORD, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -

Attorneys trying to pick a jury in George Zimmerman's murder trial have selected a pool of 40 potential jurors who will go on to a second round of questioning, known as general voir dire.
 
The first round of questioning has focused on pre-trial exposure to the case and what these potential jurors knew about the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by the neighborhood watch volunteer.

They will now be able to ask those invited to the next round more detailed questions about how they feel about the case on subjects such as race, crime, and guns.

The seventh day of jury selection resumed on Tuesday morning with prosecutors and defense attorneys needing just eight more prospective jurors before moving to the second phase of questioning.

Even though some potential jurors mentioned hardships, they were selected anyway.  That included one pregnant woman.

"I am 5-and-a-half months pregnant, so it would be hard in the sense it's our first child," she said.  "So that would be the hardship, not having them involved."

Then there was a young woman concerned about not earning any income during possible sequestration.   When asked if she had family or friends that could pay for her expenses, she replied, "I mean, I could probably ask my grandparents, but they're both retired, so whatever money comes from them would be little."

Another potential juror, a Hispanic man, got a laugh out of everyone in court, including George Zimmerman, when he said, "I don't have enough facts to make a valued judgment.  Honestly that's how I truly feel about this.  I'm neither one side over another. I'm not trying to apply for this job as a juror."

He also told the court about a couple of civil cases he has pending against his homeowners association, over which Circuit Judge Debra Nelson is presiding. Still, he advanced to the second phase.

"The fact that I am the judge that's presiding over the two cases will that factor in your ability to make a fair and impartial decision in this case?" asked Judge Nelson.  "It will not, " he replied.

Jury selection resumes at 9 a.m. on Wednesday morning.  At 4 o'clock, the judge will hear from a state audio expert about whether the jury should hear his testimony in court.

Attorneys on Monday interviewed a total of eight potential jurors.  Four were dismissed, and Judge Nelson ordered the other four to return on Wednesday morning.

Potential juror "H-10,"  a middle-aged man, was released after he told the court that he would not feel comfortable sitting on a jury, for religious reasons. "I can't judge," he said.  "It's not for me to judge."  

Prosecutors questioned him for less than five minutes, and Zimmerman's defense team didn't even bother interviewing him before the judge dismissed him.

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That was not the case for potential juror "H-27,"  who surprised the court when he announced that he had donated $20 to George Zimmerman's defense fund and said he was "70" percent sure that Zimmerman was innocent.

"He just seemed like the underdog," the potential juror told the court.  He told prosecutors he felt sorry for Zimmerman, because he knew he couldn't work and had bills to pay.  He went on to say that he believed Zimmerman was just protecting his neighborhood on the night he shot and killed the Miami teenager.

Also dismissed was a grandmother helping to raise teenage boys who worried that there would be protests if Zimmerman were acquitted.

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By the end of the day on Monday, a total of 32 potential jurors who had been individually questioned by attorneys were cleared for phase two questioning.   Attorneys and the judge want a pool of 40 people from which to choose the 6 jurors and 4 alternates who will ultimately decide whether Zimmerman committed murder when he shot Martin.

Those who are picked for the jury will have their names kept private for at least some time after the trial, Nelson ruled Monday. The judge granted a defense motion to keep information on the jurors confidential after the trial, but she said she would wait to decide for how long.

Zimmerman, 29, is pleading not guilty to second-degree murder, saying he shot in self-defense.


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