Sanford, FL: Opening statements in the George Zimmerman Court Trial begins today.
Opening statements are scheduled to start today in the case of 29 year old George Zimmerman accused of murder in the shooting death of 17 year old Trayvon Martin.
A jury of 6 women will be allowed limited contact with friends, family, and the outside world, but will have monitored entertainment and would not be exposed to media reports on the case for the duration of the trial.
Lawyers also selected 2 women and 2 men as alternate juror members.
George Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch volunteer, says that he shot the Trayvon Martin in self-defense.
Prosecutors say that George Zimmerman racially profiled Trayvon Martin as he walked through a gated community where George Zimmerman lived and often patrolled.
Circuit Judge Debra Nelson ruled last week that prosecutors will be able to use the word, “profiled” in their opening statements, but as long as their description isn’t limited to racial profiling.
Prosecutors will be able to describe George Zimmerman as a, “wannabe cop” and “vigilante”, and will be able to say George Zimmerman confronted Trayvon Martin.
According to Prosecutor John Guy, he don’t intend to say he was profiled solely because of race.
Defense Attorneys Mark O’Mara and Don West will argue the case is simply self-defense and free of the racial overtones that have overshadowed it.
2 dispatch phone calls will be important evidence for both sides’ cases.
The first is a call George Zimmerman made to a non-emergency police dispatcher as he followed Trayvon Martin walking through his gated community.
At one point, the dispatcher tells George Zimmerman he doesn’t need to be following Trayvon Martin.
The second 911 call captures screams from the confrontation between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin.
Trayvon Martin’s parents said the screams are from their son while George Zimmerman’s father contends they belong to his son.
Circuit Judge Debra Nelson ruled over the weekend that audio experts for the prosecution won’t be able to testify that the screams belong to Trayvon Martin, saying the methods the experts used were unreliable.
On Sunday, February 26, 2012 in Sanford, Florida, Trayvon Martin, a 17 year old African American teenage man, was returning from a convenience store on a rainy night and was visiting family at the gated community in Sanford, Florida.
George Zimmerman, a 28 year old Hispanic American man and was the appointed neighborhood watch coordinator for the gated community, noticed Trayvon Martin, whom he did not recognize and was wearing a dark hooded shirt, walking in the gated community while in his vehicle.
Reportedly, there had been a rash of recent break-ins and George Zimmerman was wary of strangers walking through the gated community.
George Zimmerman called the Sanford Police Department to report Trayvon Martin’s behavior as suspicious.
George Zimmerman lost track of Trayvon Martin and while still on the phone with the police department dispatcher, George Zimmerman got out of his vehicle.
Soon after, George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin got into a struggle which ended with George Zimmerman fatally shooting Trayvon Martin, who was unarmed, in the chest with his 9mm handgun at close range.
When police arrived on the scene, George Zimmerman told them that Trayvon Martin had attacked him and that he had shot Trayvon Martin in self-defense.
George Zimmerman was charged 44 days later after a special prosecutor was appointed to review the case and after protests.
Trayvon Martin’s family wants the public to remain calm and to pray for their family during the trail.
Supporters of both George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin are reportedly plan to gather there the court house well many across the nation monitor the trail.
You can watch the opening statements in the George Zimmerman Court Trial at the following NBC News website address:
** Stay tuned to ZachNews for news updates with more information regarding this news story. **
** (Map Was Made By ZachNews Using Google Earth) **