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Courts / Law

Zimmerman Jury Selection Gets Personal

Joe Burbank
Orlando Sentinel

We're learning more about the men and women who'll judge George Zimmerman's guilt or innocence as jury selection continues in his second-degree murder trial. Now that they've narrowed the pool from 500 potential jurors to 40, attorneys want to know more about their personal lives and how that might affect their ability to render a fair verdict.

Together the potential jurors filed into the courtroom as journalists craned their necks to see them. The courtroom had been rearranged so attorneys faced them and not the judge.

Prosecutor Bernie De La Rionda addressed them. 

"Congratulations. You made it to stage two. I'm sure everybody's excited to be here."

One-by-one he asked potential jurors about their families, careers and what they did for fun. He also wanted to know whether they ever had served on a jury before. He asked one man whether he had enjoyed it. 

"I did."

"Did everybody hear that?"

"It was one day. We weren't sequestered."

"You didn't need to add that!"

Credit Joe Burbank / Orlando Sentinel
Trayvon Martin's parents, Sybrina Fulton & Tracy Martin, along with their attorney, Benjamin Crump, watch potential jurors arrive Wednesday.

Then the proceeding began to feel more like a trial law class. De La Rionda explained it is the state's burden to prove Zimmerman's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and that jurors must render their verdict without the influence of opinion or bias.

Zimmerman says he shot and killed Trayvon Martin in self-defense.

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