The jury selection for the trial of George Zimmerman has been concluded, and the six jurors are all women. Zimmerman is charged with the second-degree murder of Trayvon Martin in a racially charged case that has captured national attention. Five of the jurors are white, and one is a minority.
Zimmerman, a member of a neighborhood watch council in Sanford, Florida, is accused of murdering Martin, a black, unarmed teenager. While driving through the neighborhood, Zimmerman spotted Martin, thought he looked suspicious, and reported his presence to the police. Zimmerman then confronted Martin, the two argued, began to fight, and Zimmerman then shot and killed Martin. Zimmerman identifies as Hispanic.
Zimmerman was not initially charged with a crime, but public outcry over Martin’s death led Sanford police to hire a special prosecutor. Forty-four days after the shooting, Zimmerman was charged with murder. If convicted, he could face a life sentence.
The six jurors assigned to the trial will be sequestered for the duration of the proceedings. They were chosen after a two week selection process, during which defense attorney Mark O’Mara asked potential jurors questions about guns, self-defense, and justifiable use of force. Florida law only requires six jurors in cases that are not capital offenses.
The Associated Press reports that two of the jurors recently moved to Sanford: one from Chicago, and one from Iowa. Another juror had a prior arrest, but she said that it was disposed of and thought that she was treated fairly by the legal system.
Judge Debra Nelson, who will preside over the trial, is continuing a hearing to determine whether experts can be brought in to testify about screams heard on the 911 call made during the struggle. Prosecutors want an expert to testify that the screams are Martin, but Zimmerman’s defense says that there is not enough audio to determine which person made the screams.