All-Women Jury Chosen For George Zimmerman's Trial

By: Associated Press; CBS News Email
By: Associated Press; CBS News Email
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Associated Press Release
By: MIKE SCHNEIDER and KYLE HIGHTOWER

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- An all-women jury has been chosen in the second-degree murder trial of George Zimmerman, who says he shot an unarmed Trayvon Marin in self-defense.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys chose the panel Thursday.

Prosecutors have said Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer for his community, profiled the black teenager as Martin was walking back from a convenience store to the home of his father's fiancΘe. Zimmerman identifies himself as Hispanic.

At least five of the women are white. The other is a minority but her race or ethnicity was not immediately available.

Martin's shooting death and the initial decision not to charge Zimmerman led to public outrage and demonstrations around the nation, with some accusing Sanford police of failing to thoroughly investigate the shooting.


SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- Attorneys in the George Zimmerman case are in the homestretch of picking a jury for his second-degree murder trial.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys on Thursday began striking candidates they don't want on the jury.

They are working from a pool of 40 candidates who made it through a second round of questioning.

Zimmerman fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin last year in Sanford, Fla. He is pleading not guilty, claiming self-defense.

Martin's shooting death and the initial decision not to charge him led to public outrage and demonstrations around the nation, with some accusing Sanford police of failing to thoroughly investigate the shooting.


Associated Press Release
By: MIKE SCHNEIDER and KYLE HIGHTOWER

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- An expert for George Zimmerman discounts the methods of prosecution experts who claim screams captured on a 911 call belong to 17-year-old Trayvon Martin and not the former neighborhood watch volunteer.

Voice-recognition researcher James Wayman was called Monday evening by defense attorneys. One expert in a report identified Martin as the source of the screams, and the other testified at a pretrial hearing that those didn't match Zimmerman's voice.

Wayman doubted the screams came from just one person and said the 911 call was too brief to draw conclusions from.

Meanwhile, prosecutors and defense attorneys are seeking a pool of 40 potential jurors who have been screened for any influence of pretrial publicity before moving to a second round of questioning. By Monday, they had interviewed 49 potential jurors.


Associated Press Release
By MIKE SCHNEIDER and KYLE HIGHTOWER

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- The judge presiding over George Zimmerman's second-degree murder trial has asked four more potential jurors to return for further questioning.

Judge Debra Nelson on Monday asked the candidates to come back Wednesday morning.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys are seeking a pool of 40 potential jurors who have been screened for any influence of pretrial publicity before moving to a second round of questioning. They must agree on six jurors and four alternates to hear the case.

The number of potential jurors asked to return now stands at 32.

Zimmerman is pleading not guilty to murdering unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, saying he acted in self-defense.


Associated Press Release
By: MIKE SCHNEIDER and KYLE HIGHTOWER

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- Prosecutors and George Zimmerman's defense attorneys are returning for a second week of jury selection in Zimmerman's second-degree murder trial.

Defense attorneys are confident they can pick a jury in the Florida county where the neighborhood watch volunteer fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in a gated community last year. Zimmerman is pleading not guilty to second-degree murder, claiming self-defense.

Attorneys resume first-round of questioning Monday of potential jurors about their media exposure to the case that inspired protests nationwide. They've interviewed 41 prospects already.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys are seeking a pool of 40 potential jurors who have been screened for any influence of pretrial publicity before they move to a second round of questioning.


Follow Mike Schneider at http://twitter.com/MikeSchneiderAP

Follow Kyle Hightower on Twitter at http://twitter.com/KHightower


Associated Press Release
By: KYLE HIGHTOWER and MIKE SCHNEIDER

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- The jury in the George Zimmerman trial will be sequestered.

A Florida judge told a jury candidate Thursday that the six jurors and four alternates eventually picked to hear the second-degree murder case will be kept in isolation during the two to four weeks that it will last.

It was the first time Judge Debra Nelson has weighed in on whether jurors will be sequestered.

During the first four days of jury selection, attorneys have asked potential jurors about the hardships they would face if they were kept away from their families during the trial.

Zimmerman is pleading not guilty to second-degree murder. He claims he shot Trayvon Martin in self-defense.


Associated Press Release
By: KYLE HIGHTOWER and MIKE SCHNEIDER

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- After three days of trying to seat a jury in Florida, prosecutors and attorneys for George Zimmerman have interviewed two dozen potential jurors but are still a half-dozen short of being able to enter the next round of questioning.

Attorneys enter the fourth day of questioning jury candidates Thursday about what media stories they had been exposed to about the neighborhood watch volunteer's fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin during an altercation in a Sanford gated community last year.

They need 30 potential jurors to get past the initial round of interviews so they can ask them more in-depth questions about their views and life experiences. Four potential jurors were dismissed Wednesday, raising the total of jury candidates who've been disqualified to 75.

Attorneys need to find six jurors and four alternates.


Associated Press Release
By: KYLE HIGHTOWER and MIKE SCHNEIDER

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- Attorneys trying to narrow down a pool of potential jurors for George Zimmerman's high-profile murder trial are getting closer to being allowed to ask candidates more detailed questions about their lives.

During two days of questioning, attorneys have asked more than a dozen people about how much publicity on the case they have been exposed to. They may get to delve deeper Wednesday.

In the jury selection process established by Judge Debra Nelson, once 30 jurors have been questioned about pretrial exposure and have not been dismissed for cause or hardships, they'll be brought together as a group for broader questioning.

Thus far, Zimmerman's attorneys have been unable to find potential jurors who hadn't heard something about the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by the neighborhood watch volunteer.


Associated Press Release
By: KYLE HIGHTOWER and MIKE SCHNEIDER

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- A 65-year-old who said both George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin were at fault in Martin's fatal shooting was among four potential jurors interviewed by attorneys during the first day of Zimmerman's trial on second-degree murder charges in central Florida.

Jury selection continues Tuesday as prosecuting and defense attorneys question dozens of potential jurors, a process that's expected to take all week, if not longer.

Zimmerman is pleading not guilty to a charge that could carry a life sentence if convicted. He claims he shot the 17-year-old Martin in self-defense.

Judge Debra Nelson has said she'll keep the identities of selected jurors anonymous but rejected a defense request to sequester the initial jury pool of 500 residents.


Associated Press Release

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- Potential jurors have been filling out a questionnaire, as the trial of George Zimmerman gets underway near Orlando.

Zimmerman's attorneys will have to convince jurors that he shot and killed unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin last year because he feared for his life. Zimmerman is not disputing that he shot the teen during a fight in a gated community.

Martin's father told reporters he's looking for a "fair and impartial trial."

Zimmerman's brother, meanwhile, says his family is confident prosecutors won't meet the burden of proving the neighborhood watch volunteer was guilty of murder. He calls the charge "improper" and says charges were filed for political reasons.

The judge today rejected a defense request to delay the start of the trial. Defense lawyers have said they needed more time to prepare.


Associated Press Release

By: MIKE SCHNEIDER

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- Jury selection is starting in the second-degree murder trial of a Florida neighborhood watch volunteer charged in the fatal shooting of an unarmed teen.

The trial begins almost a year and a half after George Zimmerman fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

The first day of jury selection is Monday. Zimmerman is pleading not guilty, claiming self-defense.

The judge in the case also must listen to final testimony, and then rule on whether voice recognition experts can be allowed to testify at trial.

Pretrial testimony on whether experts could determine if Martin or Zimmerman were screaming for help on 911 calls took three days last week, but the matter is still unresolved.


Associated Press Release
By: KYLE HIGHTOWER

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- An attorney who testified during a hearing in the Trayvon Martin case that he'd become aware of evidence the prosecutor didn't properly turn over to defense lawyers says that he's come forward out of ethical obligation and harbors no ill will toward his former employer.

Former assistant state attorney Wesley White said Wednesday that Fourth Judicial Circuit information technology director Ben Kruidbos was placed on administrative leave shortly after White testified during a hearing in George Zimmerman's murder case on Tuesday.

White testified that Kruidbos retrieved three photographs and deleted text messages from Martin's cellphone that were not disclosed to Zimmerman's attorneys by the prosecutor.

White says Kruidbos was interviewed by state attorney investigators before being placed on leave.

A hearing on the issue is scheduled for next week.


CBS News Copy:

(CBS/AP) A Florida judge on Tuesday denied a request by George Zimmerman's defense to delay the June 10 murder trial for the former neighborhood watch captain, accused of killing unarmed teen Trayvon Martin during a confrontation in Sanford, Fla. last year.

The ruling came during a pre-trial hearing during which Circuit Judge Debra Nelson considered a series of motions.

Nelson ruled Tuesday that George Zimmerman's defense may not bring up Trayvon Martin's past marijuana use, school suspensions or fighting at trial without another ruling granting them permission,the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Text messages about Martin's smoking marijuana and trouble at school were released by Zimmerman's defense attorneys last week. The photos released by the defense team also show Martin blowing smoke and making an obscene gesture toward the camera.

Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara, told the judge that Martin's marijuana use and past fighting was central to the argument that Zimmerman used self-defense when he confronted Martin last year at a gated community in Sanford, Fla. Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder. He has pleaded not guilty.

"We have a lot of evidence that marijuana use had something to do with the event," O'Mara said. "It could have affected his behavior."

Also on Tuesday, Nelson ruled that a toxicology test showing that Martin had marijuana in his system at the time of his death could not be discussed during opening statements.

The judge ruled against a defense request that the pool of jury candidates be sequestered during jury selection. Nelson denied a prosecution request for a gag order that would prohibit attorneys from talking about the case.

O'Mara said he is concerned potential jurors could be affected by publicity the case is receiving.


Associated Press Release
By: KYLE HIGHTOWER

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- Jurors who will consider whether George Zimmerman committed murder when he fatally shot Trayvon Martin will not be able to travel to the crime scene during his trial.

Circuit Judge Debra Nelson on Tuesday nixed the idea from Zimmerman's attorneys and also ruled against a defense request that the pool of jury candidates be sequestered during jury selection.

The judge also said jurors will be referred to by their jury numbers and prohibited their faces from being photographed.

Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara, says he is concerned potential jurors could be affected by publicity the case is receiving.

Zimmerman is pleading not guilty to second-degree murder. His trial starts next month.

A Florida judge has placed limits on what George Zimmerman's lawyer can say about the 17-year-old he fatally shot during the neighborhood watch leader's murder trial next month.

Circuit Judge Debra Nelson ruled Tuesday that Zimmerman's attorney won't be able to mention Trayvon Martin's marijuana use, his suspension from school and his past fighting during opening statements.

The judge also ruled that some of the Martin's texts and other social media statements won't be allowed in opening statements, though some of his personal material could be allowed later depending on how the case progresses.

Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara, told the judge that Martin's marijuana use and past fighting was central to the argument that Zimmerman used self-defense when he confronted Martin last year at a gated community in Sanford, Fla. Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder. He has pleaded not guilty.

"We have a lot of evidence that marijuana use had something to do with the event," O'Mara said. "It could have affected his behavior.


Associated Press Release
By: KYLE HIGHTOWER

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- A Florida judge placed limits on what George Zimmerman's lawyer can say about the 17-year-old teen he fatally shot during the neighborhood watch leader's murder trial next month.

Circuit Judge Debra Nelson ruled Tuesday that Zimmerman's attorney won't be able to mention Trayvon Martin's marijuana use, his suspension from school and his past fighting during opening statements.

The judge also ruled that some of the Martin's texts and other social media statements won't be allowed in opening statements, though some of his personal material could be allowed later depending on how the case progresses."

Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara, told the judge that Martin's marijuana use and past fighting was central to the argument that Zimmerman used self-defense when he confronted Martin last year at a gated community in Sanford, Fla.

Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder. He has pleaded not guilty.


Associated Press Release

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- A Florida judge is set to consider whether Trayvon Martin's text messages about smoking marijuana and trouble at school can be shown during the trial of the man charged with killing the teen.

The text messages and photos, which were released by defense attorneys for George Zimmerman last week, are among the subjects that will be considered Tuesday in Sanford, Fla. The photos released by the defense team also show Martin blowing smoke and making an obscene gesture toward the camera.

The judge also will consider whether a voice analyzer can be called by prosecutors to determine who was making cries for help on 911 calls.

Zimmerman is charged is charged with fatally shooting the unarmed 17-year-old Martin last year during a confrontation at a gated community in Sanford.


Associated Press Release

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- Prosecutors and attorneys for George Zimmerman are set to present a judge with a series of motions that will lay the groundwork for the neighborhood watch leader's trial next month.

Zimmerman is charged with fatally shooting the unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin last year during a confrontation at a gated community in Sanford.

Among the motions the judge will consider Tuesday is whether to allow Martin's school suspension and marijuana use to be used in court.

The judge also will consider whether a voice analyzer can be called by prosecutors to determine who was making cries for help on 911 calls.


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