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.
A 44-day delay in Zimmerman’s arrest led to protests around the U.S. more than a year ago. Critics 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.
Potential jurors who were questioned Wednesday also included a white man in his 50s whose prior Facebook posting earned a question from Judge Debra Nelson. The nature of the posting wasn’t disclosed but the judge asked the self-described painter and musician if he had made it. He said yes and left the courtroom a few minutes later. Earlier in the questioning, he said he thought Zimmerman should have been arrested but he hadn’t formed an opinion on his guilt or innocence.
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.
After Wednesday’s courtroom session had ended, Martin’s father, Tracy Martin, said his family felt good so far about the jury selection process.
Tracy Martin said, “We are encouraged as a family that we can get justice for our son Trayvon, and we expect the public to come forth and be honest as potential jurors.”
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
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5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
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6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
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7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
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8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
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9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
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10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
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11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
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12. Late nights mornings
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13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
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14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
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15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
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16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
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17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
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18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
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19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
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20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
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21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
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22. Claudia Jordan: ....
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23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
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24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
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25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
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