AFRICANGLOBE – A potential juror in the George Zimmerman case was excused Monday after he admitted donating $20 to Zimmerman’s online legal defense fund.
The prospective juror, a middle-aged white man whose daughter is a Nevada police officer, said on the witness stand that he felt bad for Zimmerman.
“It just seemed like he was an underdog … I kind of felt sorry for him,” the man, identified in court as H-27, said.
H-27 said he has followed the trial in the media and is 70 percent certain Zimmerman is innocent.
“I think Mr. Zimmerman was trying to do the right thing and things spiraled out of control,” he said.
Despite the candidate’s assurance that he could “keep an open-mind,” he was not asked back for further questioning.
Zimmerman, 29, stands charged in the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin as the teen was walking back to the home of his father’s fiancee from a Sanford, Fla. convenience store on Feb. 26, 2012.
Defense attorneys argue that Zimmerman, then 28, was attacked by Trayvon Martin while serving as a neighborhood watch volunteer. They contend that Zimmerman acted in self-defense when he shot the teen in the chest at point-blank range. Prosecutors have deemed Trayvon Martin’s death an instance of second-degree murder.
Another potential juror questioned Monday — a middle-aged white woman identified as H-13 — caused a stir when she said she is concerned “a verdict that is not popular” could spark protests.
The prospective juror said she remembers the race riots of the 1960s and wishes “people could get along better.”
The candidate’s responses highlight the problems attorneys have been facing finding an impartial jury for Zimmerman’s murder trial.
Monday was day six of the first phase of the jury selection process. The attorneys have been questioning an average of about eight potential jurors a day about their exposure to pre-trial publicity. Thus far, all 49 of the prospective jurors that have been questioned have admitted to some knowledge of the case.
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. Zimmerman faces life in prison if found guilty.