Jury selection continues in George Zimmerman case
CYRIL JOSH BARKER Amsterdam News Staff | 6/21/2013, 11:52 a.m.
This week, 40 potential jurors were invited back for further detailed questioning about the case against George Zimmerman. When broken down racially, seven of the potential jurors are Black, three are Latino, three are mixed race and 27 are white. Sixteen are men and 24 are women.
As jury selection continues, the questioning and picking process is proving to be difficult. Attorneys will pick 10 jurors, with six serving on the trial and four alternatives that will decide Zimmerman's fate.
The racial makeup of the jury remains closely watched due to the fact that Zimmerman is accused of being motivated to kill unarmed 17-year-old, Trayvon Martin last year because he was Black.
"We don't care what the racial makeup of the jury is," said Benjamin Crump, attorney for Martin's family. "We just want a jury that can put aside its biases, consider the evidence and deliver a fair verdict."
Reports indicate that almost everyone being questioned about the trial has some knowledge about the case. In one report, Zimmerman's lawyer, Mark O'Mara, said the jurors' knowledge of the case is to be expected due to the media coverage.
"We don't want people who sit under rocks. We want people who are at least engaged," he said.
However, questions are looming over how much potential jurors have in the stake of the case. One white male juror failed to mention that he donated $20 to Zimmerman's legal defense on his questionnaire. He was one of the 75 dismissed jurors.
Another potential juror reportedly said Martin was aggressive and looking for a reason to fight.
Attorneys had to chose from 500 potential jurors who were all from Seminole County, where Sanford is. A recurring theme in the line of questioning about the case remains the same: how much they had been exposed to the media coverage of the case and what their opinion is.
Meanwhile, Martin's parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, continue to watch as the entire process unfolds and they seek justice for their slain son.
Another one of the family's attorneys, Daryl Park, said this week that the family is confident in the jury selection process. They also believe that all the evidence that has been released will lead to Zimmerman's conviction.
"I think the family feels very optimistic they can still get full justice for Trayvon," Parks said. "Most importantly, they've been able to hear there are a great number of people who can be impartial and fair and deliver justice."
As jury selection presses on in its second week, reports from Sanford indicate that security is being tightened at the Seminole County Courthouse. Zimmerman is getting more protection; he enters the courtroom through a back door and has his own bodyguard.
Dozens of police patrol the parking lot where the public gathers. However, the number of demonstrators has been dwindling. On Wedesday, only three men showed up wearing "Justice for Trayvon Martin" T-shirts.
There is also public seating in the courtroom available that has not been occupied. Law enforcement officials predict that once the jury is in place, more people will come observe the case.