Lawyers for the defense and prosecutors have finally agreed to their jury for the upcoming murder trial of George Zimmerman the volunteer for Neighborhood Watch who shot and killed Trayvon Martin a 17-year old. The shooting sparked outrage and prompted marches involving civil rights.
The jury will consist of six women, with all but one white. The jury will start hearing testimony and reviewing evidence starting Monday.
On Thursday, defense lawyers and prosecutors went over the nearly 100 jurors they had questioned individually and one by one chose their six final jurors and four alternates.
The selection of the jury was contentious and dramatic with much on the line. The entire process had been moving smoothly up to the point when Mark O’Mara, the defense attorney spoke up.
He asked the state to give a reason that was race-neutral as to why they had struck four consecutive white women from jury duty.
The presiding Judge Debra Nelson, in response, asked Bernie de la Rionda, the Assistant State Attorney to give both his gender and race neutral reasons for each of the four strikes.
De la Rionda did just that but he was rejected by the judge for two of the four strikes and both of those women ended up seated on the final jury.
Just moments later, the defense struck two women who were black from the pool of possible jurors. De la Rionda then challenged, but the defense was about to convince the court that one had been a friend of one witness in the case and did not disclose it.
The other the judge agreed the women should be struck since she had been employed by a church that had actively protested for the arrest of Zimmerman.
The defense was pleased with the final jury, while De la Rionda left without making any comment to reporters.