SANFORD, Fla. (CBS Tampa/AP) — The attorney for Casey Anthony believes George Zimmerman received a favorable jury for his trial.
A jury of six women was picked Thursday to decide the second-degree murder trial of Zimmerman, 29, a former neighborhood watch volunteer who says he fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager, in self-defense.
Prosecutors have said Zimmerman racially profiled Martin as he walked back from a convenience store on a rainy night in February 2012 wearing a dark hooded shirt.
Attorney Jose Baez – who helped get Anthony acquitted in the death of her daughter Caylee — believes an all-female jury for Zimmerman is a “slam dunk” for the defense.
“I think the defense clearly won the day on this one,” Baez told CBS News. “Any way you slice and dice it, this is a defense jury.”
The Orlando Sentinel reports that 5 of the jurors are white while the other one is Hispanic. Baez thinks having no blacks on the jury only helps Zimmerman.
“I think the defense certainly wanted to avoid African-Americans sitting on the jury because of all the racial tensions,” Baez told CBS News.
After Thursday’s hearing, Zimmerman’s attorney Mark O’Mara was asked what he would say to people concerned there were no black jurors.
“People can look at it and have this response — that there’s no blacks on the jury, or no this or no that, or no men on the jury,” he said. “Tell me that we did something wrong in the process and I’ll agree with you.”
Prosecutors refused to comment for the duration of the trial.
Two of the jurors recently moved to the area — one from Iowa and one from Chicago — and two are involved with rescuing animals as their hobbies.
One juror had a prior arrest, but she said it was disposed of and she thought she was treated fairly. Two jurors have guns in their homes. All of their names have been kept confidential and the panel will be sequestered for the trial.
Opening statements are scheduled for Monday.
The central Florida community of Sanford is in Seminole County, which is 78.5 percent white and 16.5 percent black.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys chose the panel of six jurors after almost two weeks of jury selection. In Florida, 12 jurors are required only for criminal trials involving capital cases, when the death penalty is being considered.
If convicted, Zimmerman could face a potential life sentence.
On Feb. 26, 2012, Zimmerman spotted Martin, whom he did not recognize, walking in the gated townhome community in Sanford where Zimmerman lived and the fiancee of Martin’s father also resided. There had been a rash of recent break-ins at the Retreat, and Zimmerman was wary of strangers walking through the complex.
The two eventually got into a struggle and Zimmerman shot Martin in the chest with his 9mm handgun. He was charged 44 days after the shooting, only after a special prosecutor was appointed to review the case.
Martin’s shooting death and the initial decision not to charge Zimmerman led to public outrage and demonstrations around the nation, with some accusing Sanford police of failing to thoroughly investigate the shooting.
The six jurors were culled from a pool of 40 candidates who made it into a second round of jury questioning. Two men and two women also were picked as alternate jurors.
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