Some potential jurors in the George Zimmerman trial were sent home Friday and told to return next week for more questioning. Meanwhile, defense attorneys and prosecutors continued questioning potential jurors. And Sanford criminal defense attorney Thomas Greene told NBC 6's Steve Litz that potential jurors sitting and waiting at the courthouse, can bring on fatigue.
At least 28 potential jurors in the George Zimmerman trial had gone through the initial round of questioning as of Friday evening.
The one-on-one interviews were solely focused on the topic of pre-trial publicity.
On Friday, Circuit Judge Debra Nelson told several groups of potential jurors to come back next week for more questioning.
Judge Nelson told them not to discuss or research the case before they return to the Seminole County courthouse in Sanford next week.
"You are not to read or listen to any radio, television or newspaper reports about this case," Judge Nelson said during the fifth day of jury selection.
Judge Nelson also warned potential jurors from researching the case on the Internet or reading about it in emails, text messages or social networking sites.
"You are not to discuss the case amongst yourselves nor with anybody else. Being away and mixing with friends and family and maybe co-workers, from now until Tuesday morning, they're gonna be very curious and they're gonna want to ask you some questions," Judge Nelson said. "My instruction to you is that you should tell them that you are potentially on this jury and you are not to have any conversation with them whatsoever."
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.
On Thursday, Judge Nelson said in court that the jury will be sequestered. She added that attorneys anticipate the trial to last between two and four weeks.
Five hundred people have been summoned for consideration as possible jurors. Attorneys are working to build a pool of 40 potential jurors before another round of questioning.
After the trial went into recess Friday afternoon, Zimmerman’s defense attorney Mark O'Mara talked to the media.
“I know a lot of people had some concerns about whether or not we’d actually be able to pick a jury here in Seminole County. And I know I was one of the ones who kept saying I thought we would, because we’ve never failed to pick a jury in Seminole County in the past, even in some high-profile cases, so I’m real happy that it looks like we’re going to get Seminole County jurors to decide a Seminole County case,” O’Mara said.
O'Mara also answered questions from reporters, telling them that he hopes that panel jury selection can begin by Tuesday or Wednesday. He also said he believed that jurors would be chosen by the middle of next week or sometime next week.
Sanford criminal defense attorney Thomas Greene said potential jurors sitting and waiting at the courthouse, can bring on fatigue.
“Sending them home I think is a good idea for the jurors, may not be such a good idea for the attorneys because they're obviously concerned about what they're hearing, they're seeing and what they're talking about,” Greene said.
Green said it may be more difficult than ever to avoid any information about the case.
“With social media it is just incredible, people are so wired into all of that, they can't put their phones down, they can't not watch TV, it's almost an addiction to a lot of people,” he said.
Judge Nelson said the case would resume Monday morning.