A Florida judge in the George Zimmerman murder trial has denied the request for confidential witnesses in the high profile trial scheduled to begin next week involving the death of Trayvon Martin, according to Headline News today, Thursday, June 6.
Defense attorney Mark O’Mara asked the judge at a pre-trial hearing today to allow him to call confidential or anonymous witnesses in the trial which has captured the imagination of the nation.
The news media and prosecutors involved in the case vehemently objected to anonymous witnesses, which would be highly unusual. The presiding judge ruled today that anonymous witnesses would not be allowed in the trial which is set to begin Monday.
Judge Debra Nelson did however rule that the identity of the jurors will remain anonymous during the course of the trial, according to an article in today’s Huffington Post.
O’Mara further asked that the entire jury panel be sequestered Monday when jury selection commences. Circuit Court Judge Nelson overruled that motion saying the court did not have the resources to sequester the entire panel.
This case captured the nation’s attention when George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin as he walked to relatives’ home from a convenience store in a gated community. Zimmerman said he was performing duties as neighborhood watch when he observed Martin walking while carrying candy and wearing a hoodie through the neighborhood.
Zimmerman told the national news media and law enforcement that he shot Martin in self-defense as the two struggled for his gun. Martin was unarmed.
The tragic shooting occurred on Feb. 26, 2012.
Judge Nelson is expected to hear testimony later today regarding admissibility of 9-1-1 calls on the night of the death of Martin. Screams and shouts can be heard on the tape of the call and both sides have said they have expert witnesses who can identify who was screaming on the calls.
O’Mara had wanted to hide as many as seven witnesses behind a screen while they testified in front of the jury thus keeping their identity secret from the news media and the public. The jurors would be able to view the witnesses while they testified.
Martin was 17 years of age at the time of the shooting and Zimmerman was 28.
Zimmerman was driving when he observed Martin and called the Sanford Police reporting a “suspicious person.”
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