Trayvon Martin Trial: What to Expect as Jury Selection Begins

Sixteen months after a neighborhood watch volunteer shot and killed a 17-year-old teenager in a gated community near Orlando, Fla., jury selection for the high-profile case starts today.

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As jury selection begins today in the Trayvon Martin murder trial, Florida prosecutors and defense attorneys are bracing for a heated court battle that is likely to be as emotional as it is high profile.

George Zimmerman, 29, is facing second-degree murder charges for the Feb. 26, 2012 killing of high school student Trayvon Martin at the Sanford, Fla., gated community where Zimmerman and Martin’s father lived. The neighborhood watch volunteer has admitted to shooting Martin, 17, but claims he acted in self-defense.

(MORE: George Zimmerman’s Defense Team Dealt Major Setbacks as Trial Moves Toward Start)

A key part of the prosecution’s case will likely be a recording to police dispatchers in which Zimmerman said that he was going to pursue Martin, despite being advised to the contrary. Special prosecutor Angela Corey, who is leading the state’s case, has insisted that if Zimmerman had adhered to the dispatcher’s advice and let police handle the situation, there would have been no conflict.

Prosecutors will also likely use audio recordings from 911 calls placed by neighbors at the time of the incident as a key part of their evidence against Zimmerman, who worked as an insurance underwriter at the time. Muffled screams can be heard on the calls. Prosecutors say the voice is Martin’s; the defense contends that it is Zimmerman’s. Additional statements from neighbors who overhead the confrontation could also be used as evidence.

A likely centerpiece of the defense’s case will be photographs taken of Zimmerman after the conflict showing bruises and cuts that they insist are consistent with his statement that he was attacked, thrown to the ground and punched repeatedly by Martin. Zimmerman has said the fight started when he saw a suspicious-looking stranger walking through the complex. At the time of the confrontation, Martin was wearing a hooded sweatshirt, which later came to symbolize the racial tensions at the heart of this case.

What remains unclear is whether Zimmerman will take the stand at the trial or whether his defense will invoke Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” statute, which allows the use of lethal force against a significant threat. The defense waived its right to a hearing on the statute in April.

(MORE:  George Zimmerman Steps Closer to Murder Trial After Waiving ‘Stand Your Ground’ Hearing)

Perhaps the most intriguing piece of evidence will come in the form of testimony from “Witness 8,” Martin’s girlfriend. She was on the phone with Martin when he was walking from a convenience store to his father’s home and spotted Zimmerman. A recording of their conversation reveals that the two were talking when Martin said that he saw someone following him. The sound of a struggle begins, and the call cuts off. The girl has previously said that Martin was afraid and tried to walk away, not knowing who was following him until he decided to face Zimmerman.

MORE: Trayvon Martin, One Year Later: Where We Are Now

5 comments
IrishPrick
IrishPrick

F__K you cowardly white people. The news wont show a up to date picture of the thug travon marton, because it shows his real

personality. travon was a street punk who got his reward for his life choices. White liberal cowards are so afraid of black people

they will go to any length to please them. You will get everything you deserve just wait... MORONS...

WastrelWay
WastrelWay

This is not the Trayvon Martin trial.  Trayvon Martin was the victim. He is dead.  George Zimmerman is on trial.  If you can't get that right, why should I read any farther?

stevek77536
stevek77536

There have been many, many comments posted about Mr. Zimmerman's guilt or innocence.  I think the original problem was simply that the authorities decided not to pursue the case, in spite of substantial evidence of a possible crime.  After substantial public outcry, we are now going to have a trail, and I will accept the juries finding.

joeschmoe
joeschmoe

" Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” statute, which allows the use of lethal force against a significant threat. The defense waived its right to a hearing on the statute in April."

Dear Madison Gray,

Why did you put the above sentence in your article when "stand your ground" has NOTHING TO DO with this case and it IS NOT a defense being used by Zimmerman and has no relevance to this trial at all?

Just bad reporting, or sensationalism?

This has the potential to be another Rodney King case.  The last that that is needed is people being outraged over bad reporting.