Florida — Potential jurors met George Zimmerman on Monday before filling out questionnaires for the lawyers picking a panel that will decide if he’s guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Trayvon Martin.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys are looking for six jurors and some alternates, a process expected to take roughly two weeks. Five hundred people have received summonses for the high-profile trial, and 100 of them reported on Monday.
As the prospective jurors filed into a Florida courthouse, Martin’s father asked for prayers and appealed for peace.
“We ask that the community continue to stay peaceful as we place our faith in the justice system,” said the father, Tracy Martin, speaking to reporters in an empty courtroom.
He said the family was relieved that the trial was beginning, and later added: “We ask that you continue to pray for Trayvon and our family.”
Zimmerman’s brother, Robert Zimmerman, told reporters he’s worried about the ability to find a jury that will give the former neighborhood watch volunteer a fair shake, especially since the judge decided against a private selection process.
He said it has not been decided if his brother – who has pleaded not guilty and contends he shot Martin in self-defense on Feb. 26, 2012 – will testify in his own defense.
“In this country, the burden is on the state, so before we get to taking the stand we really have to think about what an appropriate case would be and juxtapose that to how the state presents its case,” he said. “It’s my suggestion that the state doesn’t have a case.”
The questionnaires given to the jury have not been made public. In mid-afternoon, the lawyers began questioning some jurors, known as voir dire.