SANFORD, Fla. (AP) — After three days of trying to seat a jury, prosecutors and attorneys for George Zimmerman have interviewed two dozen potential jurors but are still a half-dozen short of being able to go into the next round of questioning.
Attorneys enter the fourth day of questioning jury candidates Thursday about what media stories they had been exposed to about the neighborhood watch volunteer’s fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin during an altercation in a Sanford gated community last year.
They need 30 potential jurors to get past the initial round of interviews so they can ask them more in-depth questions about their views and life experiences. Four potential jurors were dismissed Wednesday, raising the total of jury candidates who have been disqualified to 75.
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.
Attorneys had interviewed 24 potential jurors by the end of the third day of selection, including 10 Wednesday. A total of 20 have been held over for the next round of questioning.
Among those interviewed was a white man in his 20s who left the courtroom without being asked questions by defense attorneys after he gave answers to prosecutors indicating he wouldn’t be impartial. The juror, known as “R-39” because potential panelists can be identified only by their numbers, said that “murder is murder,” even if it’s self-defense. Zimmerman, 29, is pleading not guilty to second-degree murder, claiming he shot Martin in self-defense.