All-female jury chosen for Zimmerman trial

NEED TO KNOW
  • Opening statements scheduled for 9 a.m. ET Monday
  • Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder for killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin last year
All-female jury chosen for Zimmerman trial

3 fathers, 3 sons, 3 races look at the Zimmerman trial

3 fathers, 3 sons, 3 races look at the Zimmerman trial

Attorney: Trayvon texts 'completely irrelevant'

Attorney: Trayvon texts 'completely irrelevant'

The six jurors who will decide George Zimmerman's fate have been chosen, and they are all women. The four alternate jurors consist of two women and two men.

The prosecuting and defense attorneys have referred to the jury members as five white women and one black or Hispanic woman.

Opening statements are scheduled for Monday morning at 9 a.m. ET.

INTERACTIVE TIMELINE: The George Zimmerman Case

The jury was selected Thursday afternoon after defense attorney Mark O'Mara completed his question-and-answer session with the potential jurors.

Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch captain, is charged with second-degree murder for killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, on the night of February 26, 2012. He claims he shot the teenager in self-defense.

Judge Debra Nelson asked Zimmerman if he agreed with the jurors selected to serve on the panel, and he said he did. Nelson then dismissed the other potential jurors who were not selected.

Attorney O'Mara began the day by explaining the definition of reasonable doubt to the jury pool. He said it’s a complicated concept that even "third-year law students" can have difficulty understanding.

O’Mara questioned the 40 potential jurors about a variety of topics, including their beliefs about gun ownership and their thoughts on self-defense.

O’Mara pointed out that Florida law states that there is no duty to retreat when being threatened, but Judge Debra Nelson admonished O’Mara, saying she did not want the attorneys interpreting the law for the jurors. Nelson then read to the jury the strict definition of justifiable homicide that they must consider during deliberations.

Justifiable homicide is a killing where no criminal liability can result, such as when someone acts in self-defense to protect himself or another person.

O’Mara finished his questioning of the jury before Nelson broke for lunch. When court resumed Thursday afternoon, the attorneys began the process of whittling down jury pool to the six jurors and the four alternates needed for the trial.

Both sides had the chance to keep or strike jurors. Each side had 10 peremptory strikes -- 10 opportunities to eliminate potential jurors without having to disclose their reasons -- and an unlimited number of strikes “for cause,” for such reasons as bias or hardships.

Nelson said she will try to make a ruling Friday on the admissibility of technology used to analyze the screams on a 911 call from the night of the shooting. Court will be in session Friday morning starting at 9 a.m. ET to handle any outstanding issues before opening statements begin Monday.

The technology may be key to the prosecution’s case, because their experts’ testimony may be able to shed light on what was said between Zimmerman and Martin moments before the teenager was shot.

If the analysis indicates Martin screamed for help, it could hurt the credibility of Zimmerman's claim that he acted in self-defense.

The law states that for technology to be admissible, it must be “generally accepted” in that particular field. Zimmerman’s attorneys are arguing the technology does not satisfy that threshold.

On June 6, defense expert Hirotaka Nakasone, an audio engineer for the FBI, expressed his doubts about using the recordings.

"A screaming voice is too far for us to address," Nakasone said. "It might mislead in the worst case."

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