Jurors in the murder trial of George Zimmerman will have their identities kept secret for a time after they render a verdict in the racially charged case, the trial's judge said Monday.
Seminole County, Fla., Circuit Court Judge Debra Nelson made the ruling as jury selection moved into its second week, reports Reuters. She gave no indication when the names of jurors would be released.
Zimmerman lawyer Mark O'Mara argued for allowing the names to remain anonymous for six months after the trial. Nelson also heard arguments over the prosecution's wish to let experts on voice identification testify about the voice heard on the 911 tape from the night Trayvon Martin was shot, reports USAToday.com
An attorney representing media companies, Scott Ponce, argued against the extended protection of jurors' names. He requested that the parties reconvene a week after the verdict and then decide how long to protect the names.
Martin was shot to death by Zimmerman in Sanford, Fla., on Feb. 26, 2012. Zimmerman says he shot the unarmed teenager in self-defense. Police initially did not arrest Zimmerman, who was told by a police dispatcher not to pursue 17-year-old Martin. After 44 days, he was arrested by the Sanford Police Department.
So far, 49 prospective jurors have been questioned by lawyers regarding their knowledge of the case and their ability to give Zimmerman a fair trial. The teams also have dismissed those who may have conflicts that will keep them from being able to serve, reports FoxNews.com.
One such was a single mother with two young children who cited her family commitments. A man who said he had donated to Zimmerman's legal defense fund was also dismissed.
Thirty-two jurors have made it through the first round of questioning from lawyers. A pool of 40 are needed before the final panel of six jurors and four alternates will be chosen. This will come after a second round of questions this week, many of which will focus on attitudes toward race and gun laws.
Zimmerman is free on bond and enters and exits the Seminole County Criminal Justice Center through the back door. He has his own bodyguard to protect him and extra layers of security, including clearing hallways as he passes, are employed as well.
Along with jury selection this week, the testimony regarding the use of voice identification experts is expected to continue. The defense does not want the experts' testimony used in the trial.
Treye Green is a reporter for The International Business Times and a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Green has shot, edited and...