Monday, June 25, 2018

Away from a difficult duty, Zimmerman jurors relaxed

ORLANDO — For about a month, their daily duty was grim and solemn.

The six women chosen to decide George Zimmerman's fate for fatally shooting Trayvon Martin viewed autopsy photos.

They watched a re-enactment of the shooting. And they repeatedly listened to the recording of someone crying for help and a fatal gunshot being fired.

To find relief from the monotony of being sequestered for 22 days, the jury turned to entertainment.

They went bowling, saw a Fourth of July fireworks display and a couple of movies. They got manicures and pedicures.

The Seminole County Sheriff's Office reported Wednesday on how the jurors spent their time away from court and the expense of the trial. The total for their sequestration was about $33,000, the Sheriff's Office said.

Other Sheriff's Office expenses for the trial, including personnel overtime, were much greater — about $320,000.

Florida law requires the clerk of the court's office to pay for a sequestered jury's food and lodging. In this case, it was about $1,000 for lodging plus $375 a day for meals.

Jurors had individual hotel rooms at a Marriott but gathered regularly for meals and to socialize, the Sheriff's Office reported.

All of their television, Internet use, reading materials, mail and phone calls were screened, monitored and logged by deputies.

They had several outings on evenings and weekends: to St. Augustine, where they visited Ripley's Believe it or Not; to the Volusia Mall; to a bowling alley; and to see two movies, World War Z and The Lone Ranger, with the court's approval.

Deputies provided security for them at all times, the Sheriff's Office said. Jurors paid for their personal items; the Sheriff's Office paid for the bowling, movies and Ripley's admission.

Jurors ate most of their morning and evening meals at the hotel but went out to dinner at Outback Steakhouse in Sanford and once to Amigos, a Mexican restaurant in Altamonte Springs.

Information from the Orlando Sentinel and the Associated Press was used in this report.

 
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