SANFORD, Florida (Reuters) - A six-member, all-female jury was selected on Thursday to decide the fate of George Zimmerman, who shot and killed unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin in a case that grabbed the U.S. media spotlight in 2012.
Five of the six women, selected from a final poll of 40 potential jurors after a 1-1/2 week-long process in Florida's Seminole County criminal court, were identified as white and the sixth appeared to be a dark-skinned Hispanic.
The jurors, plus four alternates, will decide whether Zimmerman, 29, should be convicted as charged with second-degree murder and face up to life in prison for the killing that sparked a national debate about race, guns and equal justice before the law.
Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty, contending he acted in self-defense during a confrontation with the 17-year-old Martin in a gated community in this central Florida town.
At the time of the Martin killing, Zimmerman, a light-skinned Hispanic, was the self-appointed neighborhood watch captain in the Retreat at Twins Lakes community in Sanford. He killed Martin with a single shot from a 9mmm handgun.
The case triggered widespread protests because police initially declined to arrest Zimmerman, on the grounds he acted in self-defense.
Zimmerman, who walked free for 44 days after the killing, was only arrested after a national outcry from both ordinary citizens and top civil rights leaders. A special prosecutor was appointed to take over from local law enforcement when it lost credibility.
(Reporting by Barbara Liston. Additional reporting by Kevin Gray; Writing and editing by Tom Brown. Editing by Andre Grenon)
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