• Day 2 of George Zimmerman trial ends with no jurors chosen


    SANFORD, Fla. - As Day 2 of the George Zimmerman trial ended Tuesday evening, Channel 9 learned 41 potential jurors have already been let go and none have been chosen to serve on the jury as of yet.

    Zimmerman maintains he shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in self-defense near his Sanford home in February 2012. Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder charges.

    The jurors that have been released thus far were let go after extensive questioning, according to Channel 9’s Kathi Belich.

    Both prosecutors and the defense are concerned about so-called "moles,” people fraudulently trying to get on jury.

    Of the 41 prospective jurors who have been dismissed, 40 were dismissed before being questioned individually. One was dismissed after being questioned.

    Thirty potential jurors were dismissed from those that were summoned on June 11, said a court services administrator.

    Jury selection will continue as potential jurors are vetted until a pool of 30 people not stricken for cause are found. Then a traditional jury selection vetting process will continue with those 30 people.

    The 100 individuals summoned for Wednesday are on call and do not have to report to court tomorrow.

    The trial is scheduled to resume Wednesday at 9 a.m. Watch it live on WFTV.com!

    One woman said Tuesday afternoon she's not interested in the limelight and doesn’t want to write a book following the trial.

    The defense spent a lot of time questioning potential juror B65, a black woman who has lived in Sanford for 16 years.

    She said she discontinued her cable TV service a few months before the shooting and was on vacation at the time of a big rally in March 2012. The potential juror went on to say her Sanford church only addressed the shooting once and that was within the last three months.

    "Are you saying though that until March of this year, from February 2012 to March 2013, no time on the radio was the death of Trayvon Martin or the arrest of George Zimmerman mentioned?" asked defense attorney Don West.

     “Sure,” said potential juror B65. “They talked about it, but probably not the times I was listening.”

    WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer, a former prosecutor and current defense attorney, believes juror B65 will most certainly be rejected by the defense.

    Attorneys also interviewed a middle-aged black man, who said the case was politicized, and a middle-aged white man who questioned the need for Florida's "stand your ground" self-defense law.

    Zimmerman is pleading not guilty to a charge that could carry a life sentence if convicted.

    A 44-day delay in Zimmerman's arrest led to protests around the nation.  Protesters outside the courthouse questioned whether the Sanford Police Department was investigating the case seriously since Martin was a black teen from the Miami area.

    Zimmerman identifies himself as Hispanic.
    Judge Debra 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.

    On the second day of jury selection, potential juror B35, a middle-aged black man who owns vending machines, described protests last year over Martin's shooting as "saber-rattling."

    He said he wondered why there weren't protests over the fatal shootings of other black men in Sanford. He also said he believed Zimmerman deserved his day in court.

    "I think they politicized it and made it a racial issue, and I didn't like that," said juror B35. "I wasn't agreeing with the racial connotation."

    Sheaffer thinks juror B35 would be a good for the prosecution.

    “Juror No. 35 is going to make a concerted effort to be fair and give the state their opportunity to prove this case and if they do, he can return a verdict of guilty,” said Sheaffer.

    Juror B35 testified that he thought the rhetoric from Martin supporters went too far.

    “I don't believe he was being hunted, you know, maybe watched, but not hunted,” he said. “He just went crazy when they met, but I don't think he was intentionally being hunted down."

    Potential juror B7, a middle-aged white man, said he didn't think Florida's so-called stand-your-ground law was necessary in the state given other self-defense laws that were in place prior to its passage.

    The law allows a person to invoke self-defense if they feel a fatal shooting is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm.

    Sheaffer believes potential juror B7 would be good for the defense because of his comments about self-defense.  

    Potential juror B7 remembers that the case sparked a lot of discussion about the state's stand your ground law.

    “Thoughts about that law?" defense attorney Mark O’Mara asked B7.

    “Well, I thought it seemed like, I guess, the debate over the law, was it a necessary law, is self-defense already covered in Florida law?” the potential juror responded.

    Juror B7 also said he thought news media coverage of the case had been "speculative" and devoid of hard facts.
    Zimmerman followed Martin through a gated community where the neighborhood watch volunteer lived, called 911 and then got out of his vehicle to follow the teen, despite being not to do so by a dispatcher.
     Juror B51, a white female retiree, said her first impression of the case was "sad" for both sides. 

    When asked if she though Zimmerman had done anything wrong by getting out of his truck, she said, "Certainly, he didn't wait. Maybe the police didn't come quick enough. I don't know."
    Attorneys need to find six jurors and four alternates. In Florida, 12 jurors are required only for criminal trials involving capital cases -- cases where the death penalty is being considered.

    Defense attorneys asked potential jurors if being isolated during the trial would be a hardship, indicating they plan to ask Nelson to sequester the jury.

    Potential jurors who make it past the initial round of questioning focusing on what they know about the case will face later rounds of questions from attorneys.

    After reciting details about the case she had heard in the news, juror B51 told the attorneys that they're going to have a hard time finding jurors who haven't heard about the case and can only hope they find residents who can keep an open mind.

    "I haven't lived under a rock for the past year," she said, "It's pretty hard for people not to have gotten some information."

    Meanwhile, Joseph Cius and his wife are the only two protesters outside the courthouse Tuesday.

    Cuis said he plans to be outside each day during the trial, calling for Zimmerman's conviction. He made five signs that spread that message.

    Cuis said he's there because Martin could have been his son.

    "I'm so passionate about it because I have children.  I'm here to see how justice can be done for a man who takes a young teenage life for nothing," said Cuis.

    So far, there have been no Zimmerman supporters outside the courthouse, but law enforcement is on site just in case anything gets out of hand.

    Follow Kathi Belich on Twitter at @KBelichWFTV for gavel-to-gavel coverage of the trial.

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    Day 2 of George Zimmerman trial ends with no jurors chosen