Lengthy Jury Selection in Trayvon Martin Trial

     SANFORD, Fla. (CN) – Jury selection is expected to take all week for the murder trial of George Zimmerman, who is accused of shooting 17-year-old Trayvon Martin to death 16 months ago.
     “Prepublicity” voir dire will continue until 30 people are selected who are not stricken for cause, the Seminole County court administrator said Tuesday. “Traditional voir dire” then will focus on those 30.
     Zimmerman, a Neighborhood Watch volunteer, killed the unarmed Martin on Feb. 26, 2012. He claims he did it in self-defense, under Florida’s so-called “stand your ground” law. He is charged with second-degree murder.
     Thirty potential jurors out of the first 100 were dismissed Tuesday before being questioned; one was dismissed after questioning.
     Attorneys grilled jury candidates on what they have heard about the case, and whether they could be away from their family for as long as six weeks for the trial.
     The jury may be isolated during trial.
     Juror B-51, a white retired woman, said it would be hard to find someone who had not heard of the case.
     “It’s pretty hard for people not to have gotten some information,” she said. “I haven’t lived under a rock for the past year.”
     Another potential juror, a black woman who attends a church in Sanford, said she did not know much and had no opinion about the case.
     Others said the media coverage seemed “speculative” and lacked hard facts.
     Six jurors will be chosen, with four alternates.
     “Because this charge is punishable by life in prison, each side will have 10 peremptory challenges and unlimited challenges for cause,” court spokeswoman Michelle Kennedy said.
     Fourteen potential jurors have been questioned since the trial began Monday. Day three of jury selection begins today at 9 a.m.
     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.

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