Jury selection drags into Day 5 in George Zimmerman murder trial
Updated On: Jun 17 2013 08:52:49 AM EDT
Day 5 of jury selection ended on Friday with no jury seated and more jurors left to be questioned in the George Zimmerman second-degree murder trial.
Seven potential jurors were questioned on Friday. Six of the seven jurors questioned on Friday were told to come back Tuesday morning. On Friday afternoon, seven more prospective jurors not yet questioned were brought in and asked to come back on Monday at 9 a.m. as Nelson apologized for not getting to them as she had planned.
Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara, spoke at a news conference after the proceedings.
"We've never failed to pick a Seminole County jury in the past," O'Mara said, commenting on how he's happy he is about being able to select one in Seminole County despite skepticism. "The jurors are being very honest and straightforward. Hopefully the rest of the jurors will be able to keep telling the truth."
O'Mara said although jury selection is taking longer than many expected, the extra time is needed.
"I know it's not slow-going to the outside but it's not slow-going to the inside," he said.
Among the jurors questioned on Friday was a black female in her 20s who said she remembers hearing about the case on the radio.
"I just knew it was a young African American male. And then in the beginning I heard it was a white male that killed him," the juror said.
Another juror, a young white male who works in a restaurant, was questioned about what he's heard from customers, family members and on TV.
After the lunch recess, a potential juror said she was a heavy news viewer and "felt sorry" for Zimmerman after seeing his injury photos. She said she also recalled the arrest of Zimmerman's wife, Shellie, for perjury.
Also on Friday, Nelson said the remainder of the voice expert hearing will be held late next week. Nelson, who hasn't yet ruled on if state audio experts Dr. Alan Reich and Tom Owen will be able to testify in the trial, said she will attempt to finish the Frye hearing after court at 4 or 5 p.m. on Monday.
The June 8 hearing, which will determine whether or not expert testimony is considered 'new and novel' and can be used during the trial, ended without a decision after the third defense witness was slated to testify via video conference but was stuck inside a delayed plane.
Local 6 has been told if the experts are allowed to testify in Zimmerman's trial it could add a week to the trial's length.
Nelson started off Friday's proceedings by calling 23 viable jurors questioned in previous days to the courtroom to release them until Tuesday morning at 9 a.m., giving them instructions not to read or listen to radio, TV or newspaper reports about case and to not go on Internet to research.
Nelson then called another group of at least 18 potential jurors whom haven't been individually questioned yet to be released until Monday at 9 a.m., saying they will not get to them on Friday.
Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Trayvon Martin, who was shot and killed in a gated Sanford community last year.
Nelson on Thursday announced that the six-person jury, once seated, will be sequestered, meaning they will have limited contact with their families while staying at a hotel and their actions will be monitored by court security outside the courtroom during the duration of the trial.
Nelson estimated that the trial would last 2 to 4 weeks.
Nelson also said that the jury pool must have 40 prospective jurors that pass the pre-publicity qualification before they are questioned further. Currently, at least 29 potential jurors will be further questioned, adding in the six who appear to have passed pre-trial publicity questioning on Friday.
The potential jurors who have passed the qualifications consist of nine men and 20 women-- 6 are black, 20 are white, 2 are Hispanic and 1 is Asian.
One of the previously dismissed jurors returned to the courthouse on Friday and was escorted off the property, being warned he could be arrested for trespassing if he returns.
Meanwhile, the brother of Zimmerman says his father, Robert Zimmerman Sr., has written a book about his son's case. The digital book, selling on Amazon for $3.99, is called "Florida v. Zimmerman: Uncovering the Malicious Prosecution of my Son, George."
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