After 16 months of debate, the controversial, unanswered question will be taken to Court: Was the killing of Trayvon Martin self-defense or murder?
Over a year ago, George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, fatally shot African American, 17-year-old Treyvon Martin, on his way home from the convenience store. Now, the case is being brought to court to determine whether Zimmerman acted out of self-defense or racial profiling.
Zimmerman, who has pleaded not guilty, now faces a second-degree murder charge and, if convicted, could face life in prison.
The start of the jury selection began Monday, in Seminole County, Florida, where the offense took place. The process is expected to take a week and, already, 41 potential jurors have been dismissed.
The challenge is for the prosecution and defense to find six neutral jurors. The attorneys are in search of candidates that have no prior knowledge of the case, and have, therefore, formed no biased opinions. However, it is a tricky task for a case that has sparked national interest and that is under the media’s spotlight.
Four potential jurors, from a pool of 500 Sanford-area residents were interviewed Monday. One potential juror told attorneys “I haven’t lived under a rock for the past year. It is pretty hard for people not to have gotten some information.”
Upon its impending trial, the jury will have to determine whether Zimmerman’s actions are protected by Florida’s “stand your ground” law. It is up to the prosecution to prove the fatal shooting was murder, spurred from racial profiling against the African- American teenager. The defense needs to show that Zimmerman’s life was in danger and he shot the victim in self-defense.
Sara Papantonio is a writer and researcher for Ring of Fire.