The jury that will eventually be selected to hear the George Zimmerman case will be sequestered for the duration of the trial, the judge said Thursday.
The announcement from Circuit Judge Debra Nelson was made during the fourth day of questioning of potential jurors in the trial at the Seminole County courthouse in Sanford Thursday.
"Juror K-80, before Mr. West goes ahead and does his questioning of you, this is for your benefit and for the benefit of the future potential jurors that the parties have, both sides have stipulated that they anticipate that this trial will last between 2 and 4 weeks. Based upon that approximate stipulation, I will be sequestering the jury. Mr. West, you can now inquire of K-80," the judge said.
Five hundred people have been summoned for consideration as possible jurors. On Thursday, 10 potential jurors were dismissed for various reasons.
Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in February 2012. He has pleaded not guilty, saying it was self-defense.
Shellie Zimmerman, George Zimmerman's wife, was in the courtroom during the Thursday morning session, as were Trayvon Martin's parents.
On Thursday, the public seating area was about 25 percent full. The case is expected to last more than a month.
Longtime Sanford resident Myra Hall has watched the proceedings from the public seating area since the beginning.
“I just want to be there. I want to be able to say I am a witness, I’m there, I heard it all, I've seen it all, I heard the whole story, I'm getting all the testaments from this person, that one,” she said.
Also Thursday, there was a lighthearted moment, when a prospective juror commented on Zimmerman's appearance.
“Can you describe for me the photos of George Zimmerman that you remember seeing?" said defense attorney Mark O’Mara.
“He was a little less in weight, a little smaller man at the time,” said the potential juror.
The comment prompted a smile and a chuckle from Zimmerman.
Judge Nelson has ruled that the identities of potential jurors will be kept confidential but potential jurors won't be sequestered, as defense attorneys requested. Potential jurors are only being referred to by their jury numbers in court.
Jury candidates who move on from the initial round of questioning about their knowledge of the case will face additional rounds of interviews with the attorneys.