Potential juror calls George Zimmerman 'underdog' during jury selection
Updated On: Jun 18 2013 06:22:13 AM EDT
Jury selection in the George Zimmerman murder trial resumed Monday after a hiatus over the weekend, with only four of the eight questioned surviving the media-related questioning.
The jury pool needed for general voir dire questioning is up to 32, eight short of the 40 required. The four from Monday that qualified were asked to return Wednesday at 9 a.m. Nelson then told 12 jurors who haven't been questioned yet to come back on Tuesday and six more jurors to come back on Wednesday.
Among the potential jurors eliminated was the man who said he donated $20 to the defense fund because he felt sorry for Zimmerman.
"I think Mr. Zimmerman was trying to do the right thing and things spiraled out of control," the prospective juror said, adding that he has reported suspicious people in his neighborhood who have disappeared before police officers could arrive.
The man, who says he's 70 percent certain that Zimmerman was using self-defense, also said that he felt like Zimmerman was the "underdog with the marches against him and death threats."
In regard to Jesse Jackson and Rev. Al Sharpton's involvement, the man said they were "there to stir up trouble and get their faces on the news."
Despite his strong beliefs, the potential juror insisted he could be a fair juror--but he was eliminated.
The three potential jurors eliminated were a woman who said Zimmerman should not have had a gun, a single mother who was dismissed for hardship and a man who said religious beliefs kept him from judging others' innocence.
Monday's jury selection process began at 9 a.m., with the first juror being a white man in his 50s who said he wife told him, "I hope you don't get on the jury."
Meanwhile, a defense attorney questioned a potential juror extensively about her racial views on the case and whether she was bothered by protests led by civil rights leaders after Zimmerman's fatal shooting of Martin. Another juror, a white woman in her 60s, said the protests calling for the arrest of Zimmerman made her feel uncomfortable.
"I am older, obviously. I have lived through the race riots of the 60s and subsequent riots with the Rodney King thing. It just makes be uncomfortable," she said.
She also said she believed a "not guilty" verdict would trigger protests but wasn't afraid for her safety.
"I don't believe any harm would come to me from sitting on the jury," she said. "And I can't recall any juror I've ever heard where, in high profile cases, where a juror has been attacked."
Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
Defense attorneys are confident they can pick a jury in Seminole County, where the neighborhood watch volunteer fatally shot the 17-year-old in a gated community last year.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys are seeking 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 will continue the initial questioning of potential jurors, interviewing at least 46 prospects already.
Judge Debra S. Nelson also continued the hearing to determine whether state voice experts will be included in Zimmerman's trial on Monday afternoon after jury selection. Nelson held the Frye hearing on June 8 but no decision was made.
Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty, claiming self-defense.
Watch Local 6 News and stay with ClickOrlando.com for more on this story.