Murder Trial Jury Pool Quizzed About NRA
SANFORD, Fla. (CN) - Attorneys in George Zimmerman's murder trial asked potential jurors Wednesday if they belong to the NRA, if they had been victims of a crime, and if they would take the law into their own hands.
The second round of jury selection began Wednesday after prosecutors and defense attorneys winnowed the original pool of 500 potential jurors down to 40. Six jurors and four alternates will be selected for the noncapital, second-degree murder trial.
The defense team said opening statements could begin Monday.
One potential juror responded to the question about taking the law into her own hands by replying, "No, but I would if somebody broke into my house and my family was there."
Potential jurors also were asked about their families and personal lives. Prosecutors asked about their use of firearms, their experiences with Neighborhood Watch programs and whether people should be judged by their race or clothing.
Zimmerman, a Neighborhood Watch volunteer, killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26, 2012. Martin was unarmed and wearing a hooded sweat jacket.
Zimmerman, 29, claims he killed Martin in self-defense under Florida's so-called "stand your ground" law.
I convicted, Zimmerman could face life in prison.
Zimmerman sat facing the jurors Wednesday; on the first seven days he faced the judge.
Wednesday was the first time Zimmerman's parents were seen in the courtroom.
Martin's parents sat on the opposite side of the room.
In a family statement, Zimmerman's parents said they avoided showing their faces because of death threats.
Zimmerman's attorney Mark O'Mara told the jury pool that sequestered jurors would "not be in prison," but that their phone and emails would be monitored.
Seminole County Judge Debra Nelson read the formal charges to the 40 prospects.
"On February 26, 2012 George Zimmerman did unlawfully and by an act imminently dangerous to another and evincing a depraved mind regardless of human life although without any premeditated design to affect the death of any particular individual kill Trayvon Martin, a human being under the age of 18," Nelson read.
A hearing to determine whether audio experts could testify about a voice heard screaming for help on a 911 call was postponed until this afternoon.
Questioning continues today, day 9 in the search for a jury.