We’ve been gearing up for the big day by providing you with a play by play of what’s transpired since that fateful night, and now we’re going to keep you updated on the specifics of the trial for the next six weeks.
5:17 PM EST: Court recesses for day.
Judge tells potential jurors not to do independent research of Zimmermain case/trial. They are not to read or watch coverage and must not speak or tweet about the trial at all.
Court resumes at 9:00 AM tomorrow.
4:05 PM EST: Fourth potential juror “B76″ takes the stand for questioning.
Says she knows that Zimmerman was a community guard.
Also says she recalls there was a struggle and a gun went off. Told Rionda that she remembers Martin dying and Zimmerman being hurt in the struggle.
3:25 PM EST: Third potential juror “B30″ is questioned.
Like “B29″ he does not like watching news because it is “too negative.” States that he has not formed an opinion about Zimmerman.
Out of three potential jurors, seems to know the most about case. Says he remembers that Trayvon was visiting father when he was pursued and killed. Says he heard the news “in drips.”
2:50 PM EST: Second potential juror “B29″ is being questioned by Bernie de la Rionda. Woman from Chicago:
Says she doesn’t know anything about the case. Says she watches Bad Girls Club and reality television instead of news.
2:30 PM EST: First potential juror, “B12,” is questioned by State Attorney Bernie de la Rionda. She is a middle-aged white woman who says she lives about 10 miles from where Trayvon was shot:
She told Rionda that she stopped watching Zimmerman coverage after she found out she could be a potential juror.
B12′s reaction when she found out she might be a juror: “Oh my goodness I might be on Zimmerman.”
On information she remembers about the case: Says she heard Trayvon Martin “was in the neighborhood” and George Zimmerman “followed him.”
Potential juror also says she has prior knowledge of the Zimmerman defense fund. Says she knows that the defense used it to “pay their bills…”
11:22 AM EST: Robert Zimmerman Jr. takes the stand to answer questions from reporters. In those statements, he touched on what he wants the jury to think of his brother, and his comments, or lack thereof, about Shellie Zimmerman’s (George Zimmerman’s wife) perjury charges:
While he refused to comment on the specifics of her case, RZJ did say he does not think his brother and Shellie collaborated when they told a judge that they did not have any funds.
RZJ also told reporters that after the jury is selected, he will no longer tweet. If you recall, the eldest Zimmerman has been criticized for his use of the social media site to smear Trayvon Martin.
RJZ also told reporters that his brother is “a sensitive person, he’s generous… very likeable…” He explained to media that while the family is concerned about a fair trial, they are confident in the outcome.
9:00 AM EST: Tracy Martin, Trayvon’s father, called for peace at the start of the trial (watch video above). The Martin family releases a statement before the trial began today:
“We are relieved that the trial is starting today with the selection of jury members. We are seeking justice for our son and a fair trial. Trayvon’s life was taken unnecessarily and tragically, but we call upon the community to be peaceful. We have placed our faith in the justice system and ask that the community do the same. Please pray for Trayvon and for our family.”
Tears in Sybrina Fulton’s eyes as she exits c-room. Trial watcher who normally uses a wheelchair stands in a show of reverence. #Trayvon.
— Rene Stutzman (@renestutzman) June 10, 2013
Here’s what to expect today:
- Jury selection is expected to begin today. Circuit Judge Debra S. Nelson ordered the clerk of counts to summon a total of 500 potential jurors. Between 100 and 200 of those Seminole County residents showed up this morning, and 100 more will show up each day as needed until the panel is seated. In the end, a panel of six jurors plus four alternates will be chosen.
- Nelson and lawyers will give 100 jurors lengthy questionnaires to fill out. When they are finished, Nelson will review them and then question jurors individually.
- As it stands now, the process will take an estimated two or three weeks. The rest of the trial will take another two or three weeks. However, sources close to the case believe a jury could be decided just this week.
The demographic that will be chosen for the jury has been a hot topic since Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder. Here’s what the defense and the prosecutors are looking for:
- According to Orlando jury consultant Susan Constantine, defense attorneys are looking for jurors over 40 years of age. They’ll also want managers, authority figures and people who are analytic (ex: engineers) because those people tend to focus on facts, not emotion.
- Prosecutors are expected to favor people ages 18-35. They are also hoping for people who rely more on emotions in decision making – social workers, people in service industries etc.
Based on statistics, this is what the jury might look like:
- According to Constantine, the defense will favor white jurors and the prosecution will favor black. But based on Seminole County demographics, there are likely to be fewer blacks on the jury.
- According to U.S. Census data, 11 percent of Seminole County’s population is black, compared to 16 percent for the state as a whole.
For news straight from the courtroom, watch below: