Day One of the George Zimmerman Murder Trial

Monday, June 10, 2013

Civil rights leaders and residents of the city of Sanford, FL attend a town hall meeting to discuss the death of a 17-year-old unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin. (Gerardo Mora/Getty)

Today, the story of Trayvon Martin begins its long-awaited conclusion as George Zimmerman faces his first day of trial.

Over a year in the making, the story began on February 26, 2012, when seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin was walking through the gated community in Sanford, Florida where he was visiting his father.

A self-appointed neighborhood watchman, George Zimmerman, spotted Martin from his car. Thinking he looked suspicious, he called the police. He was instructed to keep his distance, but moments later, the sound of gunshots filled the neighborhood and Trayvon Martin was dead.

Initially, the shooting was called self-defense, but the public was skeptical, and then Sanford 911 tapes from the night of the shooting were released which led to protests and petitions. By March 23, even President Obama was weighing in, saying, “My main message is to the parents of Trayvon Martin. If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon and I think they are right to expect that all of us as Americans are going to take this with the seriousness it deserves, and we are going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened.”

And then, forty five days after Martin’s shooting, Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder.

As the city of Sanford, Martin’s family, and Zimmerman’s supporters brace for the first day of trial today, Valerie Houston, Pastor at Allen Chapel Church in Sanford, Florida shares her thoughts about what's transpired and what's ahead.

Houston has been actively involved in town hall meetings and community outreach in the days and months since Trayvon Martin’s death.


Valerie Houston

Produced by:

Kristen Meinzer

Comments [4]

John from Bklyn

Hmmm. That was okay.

Jun. 10 2013 03:52 PM
gwen from FL

Sounds like we don't need a trial. Zimmerman, a "self-styled neighborhood enforcer" attacked a baby-faced adolescent so now the court system has a chance to "redeem itself" for the mistakes the police made.

Jun. 10 2013 02:22 PM
John from Bklyn

This should be interesting for media watchers. Will the segment focus on “the narrative” or on “the facts.”

Sadly, I’m expecting “the narrative.”

Jun. 10 2013 01:53 PM
Mick from Inwood

One point that I have never heard discussed is didn't Trayvon Martin have the right to "Stand his Ground" under the Florida law? Look at the facts: A young man walking to a store in a neighborhood where his family lives notices he is being stalked by someone in an SUV. The person in the SUV gets out and confronts the young man. The stalker is much larger than his intended victim and assumes a stance that threatens bodily harm. So didn't the "Stand Your Ground" law obviously allow Trayvon Martin to use deadly force against his antagonist? Or does Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law only apply to the last man standing? Or does it only apply to the whitest man in a confrontation? (One other point I would make: my wife is Peruvian and I am of northwestern European descent. Our daughter has an identical ethnic/racial background to Zimmerman. She would be considered white in appearance by anyone who makes such distinctions. Zimmerman's claim that he is "Hispanic" and so cannot be racist who committed a racist attack is a red herring of the crudest sort, and an insult to the intelligence of anyone who is interested in justice. This was as obviously a case of racially motivated violence as the lynchings in the 1950s.)

Jun. 10 2013 08:12 AM

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