The woman did not move on to the next round of questioning, but she was only dismissed after telling the judge that missing work for the two to four weeks estimated for the trial would be an extreme financial hardship.
The “underemployed” musician, potential juror E-87, told the lawyers that he shied away from debate on the case and only wondered why it took so long to arrest Zimmerman.
But then Seminole Circuit Judge Debra S. Nelson showed him a printout of a March 2012 Facebook post in which he called the Sanford police “corrupt” and “stonewalling.” He admitted to authoring the post. The judge dismissed him but he returned to the courthouse on Friday in apparent attempt to talk to other prospective jurors. Police escorted him off the property.
The lawyers will have to continue to probe throughout the process, Eiglarsh said: “Far too many people are smart enough to not write it down and carry those deeply rooted feelings and keep it to themselves.”
In the weeks after the shooting, marches were held in Sanford, led by national civil rights leaders including the Rev. Al Sharpton and the Rev. Jesse Jackson. But it was local pastors, of varying ethnicities and denominations, who were dispatched into the community to help ease racial tension using faith, in part, to lead to healing.
A coalition was formed, Sanford Pastors Connecting, that held prayer services and discussions about race relations. Pastors will also be present in the courtroom gallery and outside as the trial progresses.
In court, lawyers have consistently asked potential jurors whether they have heard about the case in church. Some said the clergy asked for prayers for both families, and one woman recalled seeing people wearing shirts featuring images of Trayvon.
“Questions about whether a person believes in God provide insight into whether they feel comfortable judging another, but they also give insight into a person’s general political leanings,’’ said University of Miami law professor Tamara Lave, adding that the defense will likely prefer conservative Christian.
Several have opened up about faith shaping their views on killing.
“Only God can judge,” said one Hispanic woman, who was dismissed.
Another man, the older Puerto Rican, spoke softly and hesitantly but was firm in his belief that “God’s law” forbids killing. He agreed with the concept of self-defense but couldn’t reconcile the two.
He admitted the case has kept him up at night: “I get up 3, 4 a.m. get on my knees and pray for the families.’’
He, too, was dismissed.