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Jury pool whittled to 40 in Zimmerman trial

  • Written by Graham Winch/CNN
  • Published in News

Zimmerman-600The first phase of jury selection in George Zimmerman's trial wrapped up Tuesday after 40 jurors had been chosen to move on to a second round of questioning.

Attorneys questioned nine potential jurors Tuesday, with eight candidates being chosen for the second round.

The next stage of jury selection will begin Wednesday morning, when attorneys will be allowed to ask general questions that could include broader subjects such as race, crime and self-defense.

The first phase of jury selection took seven days, with attorneys inquiring about what the candidates have heard about the case in the media and whether they can disregard what they already know about it

Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch captain, is charged with second-degree murder for killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, on the night of February 26, 2012. He claims he shot the teenager in self-defense.

The shooting put a national spotlight on Zimmerman's hometown of Sanford and sparked fresh debates about race relations and gun laws in America. Zimmerman is Hispanic; Martin was African-American.

A total of 58 potential jurors were individually questioned about pre-trial publicity during the first stage of jury selection.

After attorneys from both sides have an opportunity to question the potential jurors in the second round, they can keep or strike each juror. Each side has 10 peremptory challenges -- the ability to eliminate potential jurors without having to disclose their reasons -- and an unlimited number of strikes "for cause," for such reasons as bias or hardships.

Six jurors and four alternates will ultimately be selected to serve. The second round of jury selection will begin at 9 a.m. ET Wednesday.

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