Nightly News   |  June 10, 2013

Zimmerman comes face to face with potential jurors

Jury selection got underway Monday in the trial of George Zimmerman, who has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the shooting of Trayvon Martin. Once the panelists are selected, the trial is expected to run four to six weeks.  NBC’s Ron Mott reports

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>>> selection began in the trial of george zimmerman , charged with second degree murder in the killing of trayvon martin , which led to large protests before the arrest of zimmerman , who says he acted in self-defense. ron mott is covering the trial. hello, ron .

>> reporter: hello, lester, good evening. february 26th last year, george zimmerman was a condo watch man, and he met trayvon martin with deadly consequences.

>> i felt my arm go down, and i shot him.

>> reporter: his side of the story of the night he shot and killed unarmed 17-year-old trayvon martin . george zimmerman on trial for murder.

>> as the family, we're very confident in the outcome of the case and very confident that the state will not be able to meet its burden.

>> reporter: six panelists shown from a pool of 500 to serve on the jury. a process that could take weeks as attorneys wade through stacks of questionnaires.

>> reporter: the defense wants white gun owners , maybe victims of the crime. and the defense wants those who don't want vigilantes walking around with guns in their pockets.

>> we are trayvon!

>> reporter: the six-week period between the shooting and zimmerman 's arrest sparked protest here and around the country. with critics charging race was a factor in the case. arguing police would have been quicker to make an arrest, had the victim been white.

>> all of these issues snow balled into a larger, narrative about race, that i don't think is really part of the story, when trayvon martin died.

>> reporter: martin killed less than an hour seen buying candy and iced tea from a convenience store. the encounter between martin and zimmerman could be heard on a 911 call.

>> so you think he's yelling help?

>> yes.

>> what is your --

>> just -- there's gunshots.

>> you just heard gunshots?

>> yes.

>> how many?

>> just one.

>> reporter: today, martin 's family asked for peace and justice.

>> we are relieved that the start of the trial is here with the jury selection , as we seek justice for our son, trayvon, and we also seek a fair and impartial trial.

>> reporter: once the jury is seated, the trial is expected to run anywhere from three to six weeks. george zimmerman 's attorney said it's too soon to know if he will take the stand in his own defense.

>> thank you, ron .

>>> george zimmerman has sued fln nbc universal for defamation. the company has denied his allegations.