As the trial of George Zimmerman enters its third day of jury selection Wednesday, Florida residents have a vivid reminder that anything can happen in the jury room — and has.
Zimmerman is accused of second-degree murder in the shooting of unarmed black teenager, Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26, 2012 in Sanford, Fla. He says he acted in self-defense in shooting Martin after a confrontation on a rainy night in a gated community where Zimmerman lived.
The process is gaining a bit of momentum. On Monday, just four potential jurors were interviewed but by Tuesday evening 15 had come to the Sanford courtroom to be questioned. It was not known how many will move on to the next phase, a pool of 30 possible jurors will be questioned in depth. Eventually, six jurors will be seated to decide the charges against Zimmerman. Four alternates will also be chosen. On Monday, 41 prospective jurors were dismissed and 30 were dismissed Tuesday.
Although a lot of time, money and effort goes into shaping the jury as the defense and prosecution try to get an edge, there is no guarantee that even the most careful selection will bear fruit.
Bentley, who is black, cited the Anthony case and several other criminal cases in Sanford that he said in which the perpetrators had gone unpunished for reasons the public often did not understand. Unlike Caley Anthony, victims in those cases most often are black, Bentley said.
"When people see trials like this, they get kind of leery and figure it'll just be business as usual," he said of Zimmerman's trial.
"Sometimes, too much information gets out. You see a lot of discrepancies, you see a lot of inconsistencies."
"I don't believe people should take matters into their own hands," she said, referring to Zimmerman trailing Martin through the housing complex. "But I'm not taking sides. I cannot judge him based on the media, and I just want the truth to come out," she said.