George Zimmerman

Defense attorneys and prosecutors took turns to present their opening statements in the murder trial of George Zimmerman today in Sanford, Fla.

Zimmerman, 29, a former neighborhood watch volunteer, is charged with second-degree murder for the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

A judge in the murder trial of George Zimmerman has excluded testimony from two audio experts who've suggested that Trayvon Martin can be heard screaming on a 911 call moments before the unarmed teen was fatally shot.

Judge Debra Nelson issued the 12-page ruling on Saturday after hearing days of arguments on whether to allow the testimony.

The Associated Press says one expert ruled out Zimmerman as the screamer and another said it was Martin. Defense experts argued there was not enough audio to determine whom the screams are coming from.

With a jury picked and opening statements expected Monday, Judge Debra Nelson ruled on some of the things that can and cannot be said when George Zimmerman's second-degree murder trial gets underway. The main ruling is that prosecutors cannot say Zimmerman profiled Trayvon Martin based on his race before shooting the 17-year-old in February 2012.

Zimmerman To Face Jury of Women

Jun 20, 2013
Gary W. Green / Orlando Sentinel/Pool

George Zimmerman will face a jury of women in his second-degree murder trial. Attorneys concluded jury selection Thursday, selecting six women as jurors and two men and two women as alternates. All are white except one juror.

The pool predominately was composed of women.

The jury includes a woman whose husband is an attorney in the space industry. The alternates include an avid arm wrestler who says he could talk about the sport all day.

Zimmerman defense attorney Mark O'Mara said the jury selection was fair and open to the public.

A jury has been settled upon in the trial of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. The six-member panel is made up entirely of female jurors; five of them are white women, according to reports.

Attorneys in the trial finished questioning potential jurors around mid-day Thursday; they are also selecting four alternate jurors for the trial.

Update at 7 p.m. ET: Jury Sworn In:

Zimmerman Jury Selection Gets Personal

Jun 19, 2013
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. 

Zimmerman Jury Pool Narrows From 500 to 40

Jun 18, 2013
Joe Burbank / Orlando Sentinel

A week and a half into George Zimmerman's second-degree murder trial, attorneys are close to selecting the six jurors and four alternates who will judge his fate. Attorneys have narrowed the pool from 500 potential jurors to 40.

Already these potential jurors have faced questioning about pretrial publicity and their impressions of the case. They'll face more questioning on issues like guns and race.

Joe Burbank / Orlando Sentinel

A voice expert says he doesn't assume it's one person crying for help in the background of a 911 call at the center of George Zimmerman's second-degree murder trial. The defense expert's testimony Monday night refutes state experts who imply it's Trayvon Martin crying for help seconds before Zimmerman shot him to death. The prosecution wants jurors to hear that expert testimony, but defense attorneys want it kept out of the trial.

The testimony is about a 911 call from a witness.

Joe Burbank / Orlando Sentinel

A week into George Zimmerman's second-degree murder trial, attorneys face a special challenge when it comes to selecting black jurors. They're trying to keep race out of the trial. But they can't ignore public concerns about race.

Kareem Jordan is a criminal justice associate professor at the University of Central Florida. He says the public must feel as though the verdict is fair, and attorneys must select a jury with no appearance of racial bias.

That means potential jurors likely will face more questions about race as jury selection continues this week.

A second week of jury selection is underway in Sanford, where lawyers are trying to pick a panel to hear the case against George Zimmerman, who is accused of killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin last year. They've interviewed over 40 potential jurors so far.

Joe Burbank / Orlando Sentinel

Special Prosecutor Angela Corey says jury selection in the George Zimmerman trial is going well. Zimmerman is the former neighborhood watch volunteer who said he was acting in self defense when he shot and killed teenager Trayvon Martin in Sanford in February 2012.

Attorneys Thursday questioned jury candidates for a fourth day.

Corey said though the process isn’t moving quickly, it’s deliberate for a reason.

Jury to be Sequestered in Zimmerman Trial

Jun 13, 2013
Joe Burbank / Orlando Sentinel

Jurors will be sequestered throughout George Zimmerman's second-degree murder trial. Judge Debra Nelson issued the ruling Thursday.

Nelson also said the trial will last two to four weeks.

Since jury selection began Monday attorneys have asked potential jurors about the possibility of being sequestered. They want to make sure jurors can handle the hardship.

Jury selection continues in Sanford. Attorneys will select six jurors and four alternates.

Joe Burbank / AP

As of Tuesday, 41 potential jurors had been dismissed in George Zimmerman's second-degree murder trial. No ruling had been issued on whether jurors will be sequestered. But as jury selection continues, attorneys are asking prospective jurors how much of a hardship that would be.

The trial is expected to last four to six weeks. Two prospective jurors testified it would be tough to be apart from their children, but they could do it.

Judge Debra Nelson denied a defense request to sequester all 500 prospective jurors, but she's ordered that all jurors remain anonymous.

Attorneys are continuing to interview 500 prospective jurors for the second-degree murder trial of former neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman -- a process that could take up to three weeks. The potential jurors began reporting Monday to the Seminole County courthouse.

Jurors were given a questionnaire Monday. Then, one-by-one, attorneys began asking them how much they've followed the case and how the news has influenced them.

Everything You Need To Know About The Zimmerman Case

Jun 10, 2013
Joe Burbank / Orlando Sentinel

Jury selection begins this week in the trial of George Zimmerman, charged with shooting and killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Here's what's happened so far in the case:

Feb 26, 2012 The Incident:

At approximately 7:10 p.m. Zimmerman called the Sanford police’s non-emergency line to report seeing Martin walking through the gated neighborhood in the rain. 

Nearly 16 months after the shooting death of African-American teenager Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla., the man charged with second-degree murder is due in court Monday for the start of his trial.


On Monday, the trial of George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer accused of second-degree murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, begins. As the case proceeds, the Twitterverse is sure to be buzzing with minute-by-minute developments.

We'll keep you updated on WUSF 89.7 News. And in the meantime, here are some Twitter accounts to follow for various perspectives on the case.

Joe Burbank / Courtesy of Bay News 9

George Zimmerman's defense team faced several setbacks today, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

In a hearing this morning in Seminole County, Circuit Judge Debra Nelson refused the defense's request to delay the start date for Zimmerman's trial. It remains set for June 10.


Defense attorneys for George Zimmerman have uncovered evidence that paints a less-than-rosy image of Trayvon Martin, and they intend to use it.

On Thursday, Zimmerman's defense team notified prosecutors that they intend to show the jury Martin's cell phone records, which depict the slain teen as "a wannabe gangster who couldn't stay out of trouble," the Orlando Sentinel reports. The damaging items include:

  • Text messages about fighting, smoking marijuana and being kicked out of his mother's house.
  • Photos of a handgun and what appear to be marijuana plants.

Joe Burbank / Courtesy of Bay News 9

This week, Seminole County residents are checking their mailboxes to see if they've been summonsed for jury duty in the George Zimmerman case. Bay News 9 reports that jury notices have been sent out for the trial, which is set to begin June 10.

Zimmerman is accused of second-degree murder in the 2012 shooting death of unarmed teen Trayvon Martin. He is expected to cite Florida's Stand Your Ground law as his defense.