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George Zimmerman Trial Update: More potential jurors questioned in case of Trayvon Martin killing

George Zimmerman, right, leaves the courtroom during a recess, with his attorney Mark O'Mara, in Seminole circuit court on the first day of his trial, in Sanford, Fla., Monday, June 10, 2013. Zimmerman is accused in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin.(AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Joe Burbank/Pool) Joe Burbank

George Zimmerman, right, leaves a Seminole County courtroom during a recess, with his attorney Mark O'Mara, on the first day of his murder trial in Sanford, Fla., Monday, June 10, 2013.
AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Joe Burbank/Pool

(CBS/AP) SANFORD, Fla. - As jury selection stretched into its third day in the George Zimmerman murder trial, attorneys had interviewed 18 potential jurors by mid-day Wednesday. More than 70 jury candidates had been dismissed by the end of the day on Tuesday.

PICTURES: George Zimmerman in court

READ: Trayvon Martin Shooting: A timeline of events

Proceedings wrapped up for the day shortly after 5 p.m.

Zimmerman, 29, is accused of killing unarmed teen Trayvon Martin during a confrontation in a Sanford, Fla. gated community last year. He claims he killed the teen in self-defense.

Seminole Circuit Court Judge Debra Nelson has said she will keep the identities of the selected jurors anonymous but she rejected a defense request to sequester the initial jury pool of 500 citizens.

Attorneys stopped questioning a man in his 20s Wednesday after he gave answers that indicated he wouldn't be impartial.

The juror, known as "R-39" because potential panelists can be identified only by their numbers, said that "murder is murder," even if it's self-defense.

The potential juror left the Florida courtroom without defense attorneys asking questions.

Four potential jurors questioned Wednesday morning also included a woman in her mid-20s who expressed concerns about her safety if picked; a woman in her 20s who lived nearby the shooting but said she hadn't formed an opinion about it; and a woman in her 50s who said she didn't like the negative image of Sanford that was portrayed in the media after the shooting happened there.

One potential juror, a man, said his understanding of the altercation was that Zimmerman followed Martin and "maybe thought he was doing the right thing," but it ended in "tragedy," the Orlando Sentinel reports. The man said he hadn't formed an opinion and was willing to make a judgment based only on the testimony presented at trial.

Another potential juror questioned Wednesday, identified as "B-61," said she hasn't seen any of the court proceedings in the case or paid closer attention since she received her summons.

"My impressions are we should look at the crime - I don't think it's a racial issue," said the woman, who reported she's watched news reports about the case on Good Morning America. "I think it's more what was right, what was wrong. We have laws for a reason."

In the jury selection process established by Judge Nelson, once 30 jurors have been questioned individually about pretrial exposure and have not been dismissed for cause or hardships, they will be brought together as a group for broader questioning by lawyers on both sides.

Attorneys need to find six jurors and four alternates. In Florida, 12 jurors are required only for criminal trials involving capital cases, when the death penalty is being considered.

Defense attorneys have asked potential jurors if being isolated during the trial would be a hardship, indicating they plan to ask Nelson to sequester the jury.

Proceedings are set to resume Thursday at 9 a.m.

Complete coverage of the George Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin case on Crimesider

  • Crimesider Staff

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