George Zimmerman trial to begin June 10
SANFORD, Fla. (AP) - Attorneys won't be able to mention Trayvon Martin's drug use, suspension from school and past fighting during opening statements in the trial for the neighborhood watch volunteer who fatally shot the teen, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Circuit Judge Debra Nelson also refused to allow jurors to travel to the shooting scene during trial, and rejected a defense request to delay the trial set to begin June 10.
The judge also ruled that some of the Martin's texts and other social media statements won't be allowed in opening statements, though some of his personal material could be allowed later depending on how the case progresses.
Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara, told the judge that Martin's marijuana use and past fighting was central to the argument that Zimmerman used self-defense when he confronted Martin last year at a gated community in Sanford, Fla. Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder. He has pleaded not guilty.
"We have a lot of evidence that marijuana use had something to do with the event," O'Mara said. "It could have affected his behavior."
The judge ruled against a defense request that the pool of jury candidates be sequestered during jury selection. She said jurors will be referred to by their jury numbers and prohibited their faces from being photographed. Nelson denied a prosecution request for a gag order that would prohibit attorneys from talking about the case.
O'Mara said he is concerned potential jurors could be affected by publicity the case is receiving.