SANFORD — Potential jurors' views on race were the focus of questioning Monday in the second week of their selection for the second-degree murder trial of George Zimmerman in the fatal shooting of black teenager Trayvon Martin.
A defense attorney questioned a potential juror extensively about her views on the case and whether she was bothered by protests led by civil rights leaders after Zimmerman's shooting last year of the unarmed 17-year-old Martin. Zimmerman, 29, who identifies himself as Hispanic, is pleading not guilty, claiming self-defense.
The third juror questioned Monday morning was a middle-aged white woman who described the protests as unsettling and speculated that there could be further marches in Sanford if Zimmerman isn't convicted of second-degree murder.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys are seeking a pool of 40 potential jurors. As of Monday, they had interviewed 49 potential jurors. The judge presiding over the trial Monday asked four potential jurors back for further questioning, raising to 32 the number of candidates asked to return. Of those asked to return, more than two-thirds are white. The pool also is overwhelmingly female and skews middle-aged.
The pool will be narrowed down to six jurors and four alternates.
Voice testimony still in question
Circuit Judge Debra Nelson must still decide whether to allow voice identification experts to testify at trial about screams captured on 911 calls. Thus far, the experts have reached mixed conclusions about whether they belong to the teen or the neighborhood watch volunteer. Defense attorneys don't want the experts to testify.