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George Zimmerman Trial Live Updates: Potential Juror Excused After Revealing Donation To Defense

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George Zimmerman smiles during a recess at Seminole circuit court on the sixth day of his trial, in Sanford, Fla., Monday. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/MCT via Getty Images)
George Zimmerman smiles during a recess at Seminole circuit court on the sixth day of his trial, in Sanford, Fla., Monday. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/MCT via Getty Images)

A prospective juror in the George Zimmerman case was excused Monday after he admitted donating $20 to Zimmerman's online legal defense fund.

The prospective juror, a middle-aged white man whose daughter is a Nevada police officer, said on the witness stand that he felt bad for Zimmerman.

"It just seemed like he was an underdog ... I kind of felt sorry for him," the man, identified in court as H-27, said.


H-27 said he has followed the trial in the media and is 70 percent certain Zimmerman is innocent.

"I think Mr. Zimmerman was trying to do the right thing and things spiraled out of control," he said.

Despite the candidate's assurance that he could "keep an open-mind," he was not asked back for further questioning.

Zimmerman, 29, stands charged in the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman shot and killed Martin as the teen was walking back to the home of his father's fiancee from a Sanford, Fla. convenience store on Feb. 26, 2012.

Defense attorneys argue that Zimmerman, then 28, was attacked by Martin while serving as a neighborhood watch volunteer. They contend that Zimmerman acted in self-defense when he shot the teen in the chest at point-blank range. Prosecutors have deemed Martin's death an instance of second-degree murder.

Another potential juror questioned Monday -- a middle-aged white woman identified as H-13 -- caused a stir when she said she is concerned "a verdict that is not popular" could spark protests.

The prospective juror said she remembers the race riots of the 1960s and wishes "people could get along better."

The candidate's responses highlight the problems attorneys have been facing finding an impartial jury for Zimmerman's murder trial.


Monday was day six of the first phase of the jury selection process. The attorneys have been questioning an average of about eight potential jurors a day about their exposure to pre-trial publicity. Thus far, all 49 of the prospective jurors that have been questioned have admitted to some knowledge of the case.

Six impartial jurors and four alternates are needed for the trial to move forward. In Florida, 12 jurors are required only for criminal trials that could result in the death penalty. Zimmerman faces life in prison if found guilty.

The trial is scheduled to resume at 9 a.m. EST.

Read below for minute-by-minute updates from court Tuesday:

"He's a wannabe cop!" Bernie de la Rionda closing out the #ZimmermanTrial

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The judge has called recess. She told the jury they will be brought back into court Monday at 9 a.m. for opening arguments.

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The jury has been sworn in. They have been given a packet on the sequestration process.

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Those summoned to court that were not selected to sit on the jury have been dismissed.

"You are free to go," the judge said.

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The judge just asked Zimmerman if he is happy with decisions that have been made by his attorneys and whether he accepts the jury panel. He said yes to both questions.

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The alternates are

E54: A white man. E73: A white woman. B72: A young man, possibly Hispanic.

E13: A white female college student.

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All six Zimmeman jurors are women. Six are white and one is Hispanic.

E6: Stay-at-home mom and a victim of domestic violence.

E40: A white woman in her 60s. Moved to Florida from Iowa after the shooting.

B37: White woman who is an animal lover.

B51: Retired call center manager.

B29: Hispanic nurse with eight children. She moved to Florida from Illinois after the shooting.

B76: A white woman.

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The judge is listing the jurors and asking both sides if they have peremptory strikes against any of them.

B12 - Strike by prosecution because of comments she made visiting Zimmerman's website.

B86 - Strike by prosecution because she said Trayvon had been expelled from school and shooting would not have occurred if that had not happened.

B29 - No strike.

E6 - Strike by prosecution because she said she was concerned about being sequestered and expressed an opinion about the difficulty of sending someone to prison. The judge denied the strike.

B76 - Strike by prosecution because she had asked why Martin was out late buying candy. The judge denied the strike.

B7 - Strike by defense.

B37 - No strike.

B51 - No strike.

E40 - No strike.

B35 Strike by prosecution.

E54 - No strike.

E73 - No strike.

M75 - Strike by defense. Defense said they are concerned because she is a friend and co-worker of a witness in the case and did not disclose it.

B72 - No strike.

E22 - Strike by defense. Defense concerned because she said police should have been more active and her pastor of 19 years, with whom she works for, wrote a "pointed letter" to the Orlando Sentinel that was "very pro-Trayvon." The pastor also allegedly gave a sermon that he was in favor of Martin's side. The defense said they consider her to be "somewhat stealth" because she did not disclose the information.

E13: No strike.

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De la Rionda has asked to strike P67, for cause. The prosecutor said the potential juror has limited understanding of the English language and has said serving would be a hardship.

O'Mara objected. He said the juror can understand English.

The judge declined to excuse the juror for cause.

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Court is back in session

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O'Mara has finished addressing the jury. The judge has called the afternoon recess. The live blog will continue when the trial resumes at about 2:15 p.m. Eastern time.

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O'Mara asked the potential jury members if Martin's age or race should be given "special consideration." Nobody said yes.

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O'Mara is talking to the jury about guns and carry permits.

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"I'm getting very close to being done," O'Mara said.

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O'Mara asked the potential jury if they thought neighborhood watch programs are "a good thing or a bad thing." They all agreed it is a good thing.

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The potential jurors are discussing their personal experiences with crime.

"My nephew was shot and killed ... It was a home invasion, he was shot through the door," E-73 said.

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O'Mara is discussing Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law with the potential jurors.

The law states a person may use justifiably force in situations where they have reasonable fear of an unlawful threat.

More on the law: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tag/stand-your-ground

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The attorneys are at a sidebar with the judge.

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The instructions state that the use of deadly force is allowed if the person reasonably believes his or her life or the life of another is in danger.

More about Florida law on self-defense: http://www.husseinandwebber.com/florida-law-self-defense-use-of-force.html

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The judge just read a portion of the self-defense jury instructions to the potential jurors.

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O'Mara started to read the self-defense jury instructions to the potential jurors.

"You must judge him by the circumstances in which he was surrounded at the time the force was used," O'Mara said.

The prosecution objected and now the attorneys are at a sidebar with the judge.

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"I think that when your life is in danger ... you kinda just react," a potential juror said.

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O'Mara is asking the jury about their thoughts on people taking the law into their own hands.

"If there's sufficient reason to take the law into your own hands should you?" he asked.

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"I don't think God gives us common sense ... I think we get common sense from our life experiences," O’Mara said.

The defense attorney was referencing a comment de la Rionda made to the jury yesterday, in which he said the jury should use their "God-given common sense."

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"You make assumptions as you move through life [and] you have to be careful decisions you make on the outside don't come in [the courtroom]," O’Mara said.

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O’Mara is talking to the jury about how they make "everyday decisions" in their lives.

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The Huffington Post is live blogging Tuesday's testimony. Check back here for updates.

Related on HuffPost:

Trayvon Martin Timeline
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