All-women jury chosen for George Zimmerman's trial

A jury of six women was picked Thursday to decide the second-degree murder trial of George Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch volunteer who says he fatally shot Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager, in self-defense.
Associated Press
Jun 21, 2013

Prosecutors have said Zimmerman, 29, racially profiled the 17-year-old Martin as he walked back from a convenience store on a rainy night in February 2012 wearing a dark hooded shirt.

Race and ethnicity have played a prominent role in the case and even clouded jury selection. While the court did not release the racial makeup of the jury, the panel appeared to reporters covering jury selection to be made up of five white women and a sixth who may be Hispanic.

Zimmerman identifies himself as Hispanic.

After Thursday's hearing, Zimmerman's attorney Mark O'Mara was asked what he would say to people concerned there were no black jurors.

"People can look at it and have this response — that there's no blacks on the jury, or no this or no that, or no men on the jury," he said. "Tell me that we did something wrong in the process and I'll agree with you."

Prosecutors refused to comment for the duration of the trial.

Two of the jurors recently moved to the area — one from Iowa and one from Chicago — and two are involved with rescuing animals as their hobbies.

One juror had a prior arrest, but she said it was disposed of and she thought she was treated fairly. Two jurors have guns in their homes. All of their names have been kept confidential, and the panel will be sequestered for the trial.

Opening statements are scheduled for Monday.

The central Florida community of Sanford is in Seminole County, which is 78.5 percent white and 16.5 percent black.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys chose the panel of six jurors after almost two weeks of jury selection. In Florida, 12 jurors are required only for criminal trials involving capital cases, when the death penalty is being considered.

If convicted, Zimmerman could face a potential life sentence.

On Feb. 26, 2012, Zimmerman spotted Martin, whom he did not recognize, walking in the gated townhome community in Sanford where Zimmerman lived and the fianceé of Martin's father also resided. There had been a rash of recent break-ins at the Retreat, and Zimmerman was wary of strangers walking through the complex.

The two eventually got into a struggle and Zimmerman shot Martin in the chest with his 9mm handgun. He was charged 44 days after the shooting, only after a special prosecutor was appointed to review the case.

Martin's shooting death and the initial decision not to charge Zimmerman led to public outrage and demonstrations around the nation, with some accusing Sanford police of failing to thoroughly investigate the shooting.

The six jurors were culled from a pool of 40 candidates who made it into a second round of jury questioning. Two men and two women also were picked as alternate jurors.

Before selecting the jurors Thursday, O'Mara explored potential jurors' views on guns, self-defense and justifiable use of force.

Under Florida law, Zimmerman could shoot Martin in self-defense if it were necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm. O'Mara previously decided not to invoke a "stand your ground" hearing in which a judge alone would decide whether to dismiss the case or allow it to proceed to trial.

After the jury was picked, Judge Debra Nelson continued a hearing on whether to allow experts to testify about screams heard on 911 calls made during the struggle. Prosecutors want their expert to testify it was Martin screaming on the calls. An expert for Zimmerman's defense has said there is not enough audio to determine who the screams are coming from.

The judge said she would rule today on whether the prosecution's expert can testify.

 

Comments

sandtown born a...

He is so screwed

JudgeMeNot

Having five white women and a sixth who may be Hispanic, he will be let off the hook.

gene44870

Well now . The 911 tapes should be thrown out due to the fact that it can not be determined who or what is on the tapes . If I understand correctly , if they can not prove eveidence and the chain or eveidence , its should not go to the jury .

sandtown born a...

Should be is correct, now will it be thrown out is still yet to be determined I guess it decides who the judge is pulling for as with most high profile cases

xtensionofme

I so want to wipe that smirk off his face. I only hope the jury sees thru his bull & sends him to prison, where he belongs! Then he can do his little neighborhood watch all he wants.

JudgeMeNot

So you dont mind having drug dealing, violent, thieving thugs like Martin running around the hoods of America?

sandtown born a...

I just hope if and when he's found not guilty that the riots won't erupt like usual.

JudgeMeNot

You can bet when he is found not guilty there will be riots. Al and Jessie will be on the front lines again. Sharpton warned that an escalation in civil disobedience and economic sanctions would be imminent unless Martin shooter Zimmerman was apprehended immediately.

Simple Enough II

Meh, maybe it is time.

Richard Bebb

He cant get a fair trial. The media and certain political figures (Obama) have tainted this process from the beginning. The media wanted from day one to identify Zimmerman as a "white-hispanic." They literally created a new term to interject a racial element to this case. Even this current article finds it necessary to state that Martin was a black teenager in the opening paragraph, as if it has any bearing on this case, and then mention Zimmerman's race two paragraphs later. Then look at so called news outlet NBC who purposely edited the 911 call to portray Zimmerman as focusing on Martin because he was black.

The fact remains that Zimmerman had physical injuries (broken nose, injury to the back of his head) consistent with his story that Marin jumped him and Zimmerman defended himself.

sandtown born a...

Front page news when it's a young black kid gets killed when the same day a young white girl was raped and murdered by numerous black youths WHY DIDN'T THAT GET THE SAME NEWS COVERAGE??? Who used race to boost ratings ?that's a easy one

sandtown born a...

Had Curtis Clinton been white and the poor mother and kids have been black old uncle Al and Jessie would be camped out in Sandusky to see justice was done you can bet on that

dearme

Don't see how they can convict him. It his word against who ?

deertracker

None of us were there so it's best to wait until all the evidence is presented. However, I do believe that he killed that boy because he was getting his butt kicked. You can not scream self defense if you start the fight or you are the aggressor. He was told to leave the kid alone. Skittles and iced tea are not weapons. It is also highly unlikely the person with the gun is yelling for help. Race is not as big an issue as some of you try to make it. They are both minorities. The real problem in the black community is the way the police handled things. It was inept at best. This is not about Clinton, Al, or a white girl that was allegedly victimized. If my child or yours was killed on a simple snack run I would demand justice and so would any of you.

sandtown born a...

Your exactly right with saying if it was one of ours we would be demanding justice just the same with ours bieng our family not race.Point was meant to be the lack of media coverage when the roles are reversed not to mention the whole paid to support people who show up to collect a payday on someone else's tragedy as long as it fits what they want to spew.

zachfromsandusky2

Like you said yourself " none of us were there"! So how do you know for certain that Martin only had ice tea and skittles in his possession and that he was only out in the middle of the night for a "snack run"?

deertracker

I don't know for "certain" but that is what has been reported. What has been reported inaccurately is that is was in the middle of the night. It was 7:15 p.m. It also has not been reported that he was armed or trespassing. Common sense is what guides my thoughts.

Nemesis

He was NOT told to leave the kid alone. He was informed that they didn't need him to do anything - that isn't an instruction not to do anything. There has been no evidence released that establishes who started the fight, and it's very probable that there is none.

deertracker

"we don't need you to do that" is what he was told by the dispatcher in response to telling the dispatcher he was pursuing the kid! If I am chasing you and I have a gun, what do you think is going to happen when I catch you? Common sense here people.

Nemesis

Following/observing != pursuing/chasing.

So, when you offer to help with the dishes after dinner and Mrs. Deertracker says, "oh, you don't need to" do you take that to mean "I ORDER you not to help?"

deertracker

The difference is I don't pull out a gun and shoot her when she refuses my help. You really sound RIDICULOUS!

JudgeMeNot

Zimmerman's “neighborhood had suffered eight burglaries, all committed by young black men, in the 15 months prior. Folks in the hood said enough is enough. If not for media propaganda, there would have never been an arrest to begin with. We need to take our streets back from drug dealing, violent, thieving thugs like Martin. Zimmerman should be given an award for his dedication. Zimmerman was in the right mind when he was PROTECTING his self and his community. What kind of parents let their 17 year old get those fake gold teeth anyways?

deertracker

JudgeMeNot is the very last screen name you should have chosen. You are uninformed and using this forum to spew hate and noise. Come back when you at least have a clue of what happened. I guess to please you we should shoot and kill anyone with gold teeth?

zachfromsandusky2

I can already see it now.... The prosecution is gonna
Play the what if this was your son card. And I guess I'm missing something but I thought jury's in criminal trial existed of 12 jurors?

Nemesis

Maybe the jurors have no kids. Maybe a few of them were victimized by a teen in a hoody. No one knows anything about these jurors, or how it will play out. The past performance of the prosecutor suggests she may have been chosen to lose the trial.

There are too many variables to predict the outcome.

JudgeMeNot

I'm sure the jury has had enough of drug dealing, violent, thieving thugs like Martin. They will see Zimmer as a hero.

JACKEL

What a setup.Cater to the blacks !

margaritaville88

He should not be on trial for anything..just saying

West

@margaritaville, if you believe that Zimmerman should not be on trial for "anything". Well, then maybe O.J. Simpson should have not been on trial for the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman either.

richrs

and the outcome of the OJ trial was not guilty.

sandtown born a...

Most of us feel OJ did the murders and was found not guilty great job of his lawyers. The sentence he received for the deal in Vegas was just disturbing. I have no faith in the so called justice system when the extreme sentence he was given obviously had to do with the fact someone felt he got away with the previous crimes. THAT ALONE SHOULD WORRY ALL OF US. Lets all just hope real justice will prevail in the Zimmerman case, although with the lopsided media coverage and outside pressures I doubt that will happen.

deertracker

You are correct in saying most of us believe he did the murders. Even though he had great lawyers, I believe the jury let him go as a payback to LAPD related to Rodney King and their reputation in general. It's been said LAPD is the biggest gang in Ca. I agree about how O. J. was treated in Vegas also.

Nemesis

He was acquitted because the prosecution did a lousy job of making their case. If both sides don't bring their A game, then the outcome is meaningless.

Richard Bebb

Im confused - OJ said he was defending himself against Nicole and Ron ? I don't remember that coming up in the OJ trial.

deertracker

Yes, you are confused!

Richard Bebb

So the comment makes no sense comparing Zimmerman to OJ - that Im not confused about.

Blues

Be careful. Don't want to end up in Paula Deen's corner, yall.

deertracker

That was wrong for her to lose her job.