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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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Radio personality

offers to help Jeantel

Nationally syndicated radio personality and philanthropist Tom Joyner says he was touched by Rachel Jeantel, who spent two days testifying in the trial of George Zimmerman about her last conversation with her friend Trayvon Martin. Joyner has offered to pay for Jeantel to attend the historically black college of her choice. Jeantel's attorney, Rod Vereen, said Wednesday he could not immediately reach Jeantel to discuss a request for comment.

Civil rights leaders

call verdict a setback

Civil rights leaders at the NAACP national convention Wednesday — Martin Luther King III and the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton — called the acquittal in the slaying of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin a setback for race relations. In separate speeches to the gathering of several thousand, and in interviews, the trio called for an end to racial profiling and to Florida's "stand your ground" law. Sharpton has called for rallies Saturday at federal buildings in hundreds of cities across the country.

Away from a difficult duty, Zimmerman jurors relaxed 07/18/13 [Last modified: Thursday, July 18, 2013 1:03am]
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