The identities of potential jurors in the Florida trial of George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer accused of murdering teenager Trayvon Martin, will be kept confidential, the presiding judge ruled Wednesday.
Zimmerman is pleading not guilty to second-degree murder charges, contending he acted in self-defense.
Circuit Judge Debra Nelson also ruled that the potential jurors won’t be sequestered, and that during the selection process -- which is scheduled to get underway on Monday -- members of the jury pool will be referred to by numbers, not names.
"This is to be done in order to protect the prospective jurors from harassment and pressure from the public at large," Nelson wrote, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
The judge also said photographers would be prohibited from taking pictures of jurors, but noted that the media outlets that will be covering the trial had already agreed to that.
Defense attorney Mark O'Mara had asked the judge to sequester the jury pool, but Nelson ruled that out, saying "such drastic measures are unnecessary and, in fact, not practical based upon the resources available to the court," the Sentinel reported.
Martin, 17, was unarmed when he was shot to death in Sanford, Fla., on Feb. 26, 2012. Zimmerman said he was acting in self-defense because Martin attacked him, knocking him to the ground with a punch that broke his nose.
Prosecutors say Zimmerman profiled the black teenager, assumed he was about to commit a crime, followed him despite a 911 dispatcher's instructions, and killed him.