George Zimmerman, the man accused of shooting an unarmed teen last year in central Florida, watched Wednesday as the prosecution began quizzing jurors that could decide his fate.
Zimmerman, 29, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman shot and killed Martin in Sanford, Fla., on Feb. 26, 2012. He has pleaded not guilty, claiming he acted in self-defense when he was attacked by Martin while on a neighborhood watch patrol.
The first phase of jury selection in Zimmerman’s trial concluded Tuesday with 40 prospective jurors cleared for further questioning.
Prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda on Wednesday began questioning the potential jurors in phase two of the selection process. The attorney asked prospective jurors whether their opinions on guns, crime and prior experiences with law enforcement would affect their ability to act fairly the case.
Four candidates said they had been victims of violent crimes. One, a white woman in her 50s, said she was conflicted on the issue. Identified in court as "E73," she said she was the victim of a "very similar crime" and is unable to set those feelings aside.
"It's always in my mind," she said.
All of the other potential jurors agreed they would not factor in their opinions or experiences.
Six impartial jurors and four alternates are needed for the trial to move forward. In Florida, 12 jurors are required only for criminal trials that could result in the death penalty.
Twenty-seven of the 40 potential jurors are white, seven are black, three are mixed race and three are Hispanic. Twenty-four are women and 16 are men.
The judge has ruled that the jury be sequestered for the duration of the trial, which is projected to last two to four weeks. Jurors are not normally identified and cannot be photographed during a trial. A court order in this case emphasizes those restrictions.
Zimmerman's attorney Mark O'Mara is expected to begin questioning the pool of potential jurors today.
The trial is scheduled to resume at 9 a.m. EST.
Read below for minute-by-minute updates from court Thursday:
The Huffington Post is live blogging Thursday's testimony. Check back here for updates.