Media Outnumber Protesters at Murder Trial

     SANFORD, Fla. (CN) – Twenty-four seats are set aside for the public every day for George Zimmerman’s murder trial, where hordes of media outnumbered a small group of African-American women who held signs protesting gun violence outside the Seminole County Courthouse on Friday.
     The sixth day of jury selection begins this morning.
     The Frye hearing that began days before the trial, to determine whether jurors can hear expert testimony on voice analysis of a 911 call, will continue today at 4 p.m.
     Trayvon Martin’s family and public spectators have been seated on one side of the courtroom; media fill the other half of Courtroom 5-D.
     Spectators sign up in a lottery to get one of the seats reserved for the public.
     There has been no “typical” member of the jury pool. Prospective jurors have been young, old, tall, short, white, black and mixed race. Many drink coffee or “coffeelike” stuff, as one man put it, to say alert during the process.
     Twenty-eight people have been accepted as prospective jurors for a second round of questioning. At least 75 have been dismissed.
     Responding to questions Friday, a young black woman said she had not heard too many details about the case and had not formed an opinion. She said she had posted her jury summons on Facebook, along with the words “not again,” because she had been summoned eight months previously for jury service in a different county.
     One dismissed juror returned to the courthouse Friday to complain about the jury selection process. He said he was concerned about his anonymity.
     He pointed to the door where the potential jurors were and said, “Do they know what they’re in for?”
     The unemployed painter did not disclose to attorneys a Facebook post he wrote in favor of Martin before he was questioned. Police escorted him off the property and Judge Debra Nelson told him not to return until after the trial.
     Potential jurors have been nicely dressed, in their own style. One black woman wore a Mohawk; another had several piercings.
     Only people in the courtroom can see the prospective jurors, who may not be photographed and are identified by number.
     Zimmerman, a Neighborhood Watch volunteer, killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26, 2012. Martin was unarmed.
     Whether Zimmerman killed him is not an issue. He claims he killed Martin in self-defense under Florida’s so-called “stand your ground” law.
     If convicted, Zimmerman could face up to life in prison.
     Zimmerman’s attorney Mark O’Mara said he expected that a jury will be chosen by midweek.
     “We’re making progress that jurors, for the most part, are being honest and straightforward,” O’Mara said at a press conference Friday afternoon.
     O’Mara said he was concerned about “stealth” jurors, who have ulterior motives.
     The jury will have six members and four alternates.
     The trial is expected to last two to four weeks after the jury is chosen.

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