- (Photo: Reuters)
The George Zimmerman trial commences Monday in the murder trial for the killing of 17 year old Trayvon Martin in 2012. The trial will begin with jury selection in Seminole County, Florida and all the developments can be watched online through free live stream via the video player below.
Martin was fatally shot by Zimmerman in Seminole County, Florida on February 26, 2012. Zimmerman has adamantly claimed that he acted in self-defense, but the case has sparked high tensions with a national debate on race relations and gun laws.
Zimmerman is a Hispanic, and was a self-appointed neighborhood watchman. He has been accused of racially profiling Martin, following him and getting into an altercation with him in which he ended up killing the teenager.
Officials initially decided not to pursue charges against Zimmerman, sparking huge outrage in local communities, as well as groups across the nation. The town's police chief was eventually dismissed, and a special prosecutor appointed to the case, and now Zimmerman faces second degree murder charges.
Zimmerman has already entered a plea of not guilty, and is currently free but on $1 million bond.
- (Photo: REUTERS/David Manning)
On the day of the killing, Martin is said to have left his father's girlfriend's home in Sanford to go to a nearby convenience store. He is said to have purchased a bag of skittles and an iced tea. However, on his way back he was followed by Zimmerman, who placed a 911 call reporting seeing a suspicious person in his neighborhood.
In his conversation with a dispatcher, Zimmerman was specifically told not to continue following the teenager. But just moments later Zimmerman killed Martin, who was famously wearing a hoodie at the time.
Zimmerman has claimed he acted in self-defense, alleging that Martin slammed his head against the sidewalk, and punched him in the face. Zimmerman suffered a fractured nose and cuts to the back of his head, according to defense reports.
Martin was unarmed when he was killed, and his supporters have claimed that Zimmerman unfairly profiled him because he was African-American, and because he was wearing a hoodie. They claim Zimmerman acted like a vigilante and should be punished for the alleged murder.
Reports have claimed that Martin was on the phone to his girlfriend just before the killing, and she has described hearing someone ask Martin what he was doing, to which Martin responded by asking the person why he was following him. The girlfriend then claims that it sounded like an altercation took place and the line went dead.
Defense attorney Mark O'Mara has said that they will try and find a suitable jury in Seminole County, but that if that proves impossible, they will apply for a change of venue.
"If we can pick a jury in Seminole County, this is where the incident occurred and this is where the case should be decided," O'Mara told HLN.
Here is a video live stream from WFTV Orlando: