Zimmerman Jury Will Be Sequestered

SANFORD, Fla. (CN) – The jury in George Zimmerman’s murder trial will be sequestered, Seminole County Judge Debra Nelson said Thursday.
     Jurors will stay at an undisclosed location throughout the trial, Judge Nelson said during the fourth day of jury selection.
     She said the trial may last two to four weeks.
     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.
     Zimmerman was not arrested for six weeks, until the killing had set off nationwide protests. Zimmerman, 29, is Latino; Martin was black.
     Five prospective jurors were dismissed Thursday after individual voir dire, a court spokeswoman said. Five were dismissed for hardships before being questioned.
     Among those dismissed was a man who said he believed God forbade all killing, and a woman who remembered Martin as a weed-smoking troublemaker.
     Nelson agreed to the attorneys’ request for a pool of 40 prospective jurors who have undergone pre-publicity qualification before they begin regular voir dire examination.
     So far, 27 potential jurors remain from the first pool of 100. Thirty-four have been questioned since the trial began Monday.
     Prospective juror No. P-67, a Mexican-born man who recently obtained his citizenship, said he would like to serve on the jury to serve his country.
     Another candidate said the news was too depressing and he rarely watches it. He also lost a child but said he would not let that sway his decision if he is chosen.
     Many potential jurors said they were concerned about their safety if an unpopular verdict results.
     One woman said she was worried about her safety after the trial if her name is released, as the case has received national attention.
     Florida plays jurors $15 a day for the first three days if they are unemployed or their employer does not pay, and $30 a day thereafter. If the employer pays, the state pays nothing for the first 3 days, then $30 for the fourth day and after.
     Attorneys may strike jurors for cause or hardships until 40 are left, then will go into a more detailed round of questioning.
     Six jurors and four alternates are needed, as it is not a capital trial. Jury selection is expected to continue well into next week.

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