Deputies escort dismissed George Zimmerman juror from courthouse
Jerry Counelis, 55, eliminated from jury pool after defense finds 2012 Facebook post
A previously dismissed potential juror in the George Zimmerman second-degree murder trial was escorted off courthouse property by the Seminole County Sheriff's Office on Friday and warned he could be arrested for trespassing if he returns.
SCSO tells Local 6 they "trespassed one of the dismissed jurors" from courthouse property.
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The potential juror, 55-year-old unemployed painter and guitar player Jerry Counelis, was eliminated from the jury pool on Wednesday after defense attorneys found a posting from him on a Facebook page from 2012.
Counelis was at the courthouse on Friday during the lunch hour complaining about his anonymity and saying he is hiring an attorney. According to the trespassing report, Counelis walked into the foyer of the jury assembly and expressed his privacy concerns and animosity toward the jury process to the clerk.
Authorities approached him and said that as a dismissed juror he could not be in the jury assembly area or have any contact with potential jurors until after the trial.
Counelis then said, "do they know what they are in for!" pointing to the jury assembly room.
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He was trespassed by authorities after about 30 minutes.
Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara said at a news conference after the proceedings that if Counelis had approached the potential jurors he would have cost the court system "a week of time, thousands of dollars," and more.
"That's devastating to this process," he said.
Counelis' March 21, 2012 posting in question was on the Facebook page called "The Coffee Party Progressive," a political Facebook page that posted a comment calling for "justice for Trayvon."
Counelis told attorneys during questioning that he only determined that Zimmerman should be arrested after an arrest was made in the case. The posting was found on Facebook more than two weeks before Zimmerman was arrested.
Jury selection continues in Zimmerman's second-degree murder trial as attorneys attempt to find a jury pool with 40 prospective jurors that pass the pre-publicity qualification before they are questioned further. Currently, at least 23 potential jurors will be further questioned.
Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Trayvon Martin, who was shot and killed in a gated Sanford community last year.