Expert: Potential Zimmerman jury pool 'a melting pot'

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SANFORD, Fla. —

Day 7 in the George Zimmerman second-degree murder trial wrapped up with a pool of 40 potential jurors.

It's up to prosecutors and defense attorneys to chip away at that group and narrow it down to just six jurors with four alternates.

WFTV's legal expert Bill Sheaffer said the group is a melting pot of people.

The small group of everyday people that will decide the fate of George Zimmerman is slowly but surely taking shape.

Late Tuesday, Circuit Judge Debra Nelson announced a milestone in the jury selection process: 40 prospective jurors were pushed through to the next round.

"And the attorneys are going to begin what we call the regular voir dire or jury selection process," Nelson said.

The group was whittled down after seven days of heated questioning.

The breakdown on who moves on: 24 women and 16 men.

Twenty-five are white, eight are Hispanic, six are black and one who appears to be of mixed race.

"From this pool of 40, 10 individuals are going to actually be picked and six of those 10 will actually deliberate Zimmerman's fate," Sheaffer said.

That's why attorneys want a fair and balanced pool. When the forty return to court Wednesday, they'll be grilled on issues like gun control, self-defense and murder.

"There'll be a line of questions designed to make sure that these potential jurors are being open when they answer the questions," Sheaffer said.

So far, those in the group have seemed to be forthright and expressive on what they know. One man told the court why he doesn't judge anything or anyone.

"To be frank, everyone has an opinion and they all stink," said potential juror I-44.

Regular questioning begins at 9 a.m. at the courthouse.

Sheaffer expects opening statements to get underway next Monday or Tuesday.