Martin-Zimmerman trial: Jury selection day 1

A look at what happened on the first day of jury selection in Florida v. Zimmerman Photo: AP/Zimmerman

WASHINGTON, June 10, 2013 —Today is the official start of the juror selection in the Florida v. Zimmerman trial. The case involves a charge of murder against George Zimmerman for the death of Trayvon Martin.

The day started with Zimmerman’s attorneys asking for more time to prepare, stating “we’re not ready.” This is not the first time Mark O’Mara has made this request and Judge Nelson quickly denied it.

The judge separated 100 potential jurors from the pool and gave them a questionnaire to answer.

The judge and attorneys reviewed the filled out questions until 2 p.m. at which time the first agreed upon group of  potential jurors were brought up to the courtroom to be questioned. Jurors will be brought up in groups of 21 until a jury is seated.

The questionnaire will not be made public until after the jury is seated.

Then the questioning began.

Juror #12 – A white female possibly in her 40’s or 50’s. She has children and grandchildren and lives about 10 miles from the scene of the shooting.

Responses to defense questions: She said she remembers hearing that Zimmerman had followed Martin and that the Zimmerman’s had raised money to pay their bills. She said she works an overnight shift and other than the news she watches mainly game shows. She said she does watch CSI but understands that real life cases are not like that.

Responses to prosecution questions: The potential juror says that she is familiar with the case from television but that she has not been following it closely. She found out she had jury duty the same day the trial was starting so she was very careful not to watch the news or look up the case online so that she would not form an opinion. She said she can keep an open mind.

Juror #29 – a dark skinned female originally from Chicago who moved to Florida about four months ago. She works with dementia patients in a nursing home and is married with seven children ranging in age from 3-year-old twins up to a 19 year-old son.

Responses to defense questions: She says she pays little attention to the news, she goes to work and then comes home to be with her family. In Chicago there was not much coverage about the case. All she remembers were that people were selling tee-shirts and that a little kid passed away. She does not know how old the person was but from the picture on the shirts she assumed about 12 or 13. She believes everyone deserves a fair trial and she has not formed an opinion based on what she has heard so far.

Responses to prosecution questions: The juror said she does not watch the news and mainly watches Bravo channel. She said “ whatever goes on in the courtroom is what I go by, not what other people say.”

Juror #30 – The juror is a white haired male . He says he is hard of hearing and is in his 60’s. He has played in a band for 20 years, has a girlfriend and has lived in central Florida his entire life.

Responses to defense questions: He remembers that a reporter once asked a group that he was in what they thought of the case, he replied that he did not have an opinion and he believes the rest of the group replied the same way. “All I know is that, from what I’ve heard, there was fault on both sides. I think it’s a case of two people in the wrong place at the wrong time.” He said that he was grieving his wife when the case came out so he did not pay much attention to it.

Responses to prosecution questions: The juror showed his sense of humor when he was called “B-30” and he replied “I would rather B-30 than be 65.” The juror says he does not watch the news very often because it is too negative. He knew that Trayvon Martin was in Sanford, spending time with his dad and that while out walking one night he came in contact with Zimmerman, there was a scuffle and “somehow a gun went off.” He says that he is not very tech-savvy so he has not looked the case up online.

Juror #76 – The juror is a white female who is married with a son and daughter.

Responses to defense questions: The juror says she watches local news and has seen spokesmen from both sides. She was unable to identify Martin’s mother in the courtroom. She said she was sure she could form an opinion based on the information presented in the courtroom and nowhere else.

Responses to prosecution questions: She had heard that Zimmerman ws a “security guard” in the neighborhood who had a struggle with a young man who died. She had heard that Zimmerman’s gun was involved and that Zimmerman was hurt in the struggle. She did recognize Zimmerman’s attorney and remembered him talking about funds raised for his client. She said she has an open mind and believes everyone deserves a fair trial.

At 5:00 p.m. the judge asked George Zimmerman if he has read the questionnaire and if he approves of it. Mr. Zimmerman says he has no objections.

The judge spoke to the remaining jurors of the first group of 21 and told them to return to court on Tuesday for questioning. They were told not to discuss the case nor research it online.

At 5:15 p.m. Judge Nelson dismissed the jurors and court was in recess until 9:00 a.m. tomorrow.



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Susan L Ruth

Susan L. Ruth is a long-time Washington, DC resident with extensive ties throughout the community.  She is a genealogical researcher and writer, and is an active volunteer in the Northern Virginia competitive swimming community.  Susan previously worked providing life-skills to head injured adults. 

Susan and her husband Kerry currently live in Northern Virginia with their three sons, Ryley, Casey and Jack and their American Bulldog, Leila.


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