Jury Pool Winnowed for Zimmerman Murder Trial

     SANFORD, Fla. (CN) – Four potential jurors for George Zimmerman’s murder trial were questioned Monday from a pool of 500 and 17 will return today as jury selection continues for the man accused of killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
     Zimmerman, a Neighborhood Watch volunteer, shot Martin to death on Feb. 26, 2012.
     Zimmerman claims he killed the unarmed teen in self defense, under Florida’s so-called “stand your ground” law. The killing made national headlines, as Florida declined to prosecute Zimmerman for six weeks, during which protests were held in Florida and around the country.
     Zimmerman’s trial began Monday. Court began at 9 a.m. then quickly went into recess to question potential jurors.
     Seminole County Judge Debra Nelson said the court needs to select 21 jury candidates, from whom the six jurors who will be selected.
     Six jurors instead of the usual 12 will be chosen because it is not a capital case.
     It is uncertain how many alternates will be chosen.
     One hundred of the 500 potential jurors filled out a questionnaire to narrow down the search. They were asked if they had anyone to care for at home or any hardships that would prevent them from jury service.
     Zimmerman’s attorney Mark O’Mara asked to delay the trial a few more weeks to have more time to prepare. Nelson denied his request.
     Martin’s father Tracy Martin asked the community for peace as they let the justice system do its job.
     “We ask that you continue to pray for Trayvon and pray for our family,” Tracy Martin said. “We are relieved that the start of the trial is here.”
     About 20 protestors stood outside the Seminole County Criminal Justice Center in support of the Martin family. Many wore “hoodies,” hooded sweat jackets similar to the one Martin wore the night he died.
     By the end of the day, the jury pool was slimmed down to 21 and four potential jurors had been questioned. They said they didn’t know much about the case and do not watch the news much.
     Judge Nelson ordered them not to listen or watch any news media about the case, not to discuss the case with anyone, not to research the case or talk about it with family members. Court was to reconvene today for jury selection at 9 a.m.

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