And so it begins: the selection of six jurors and four alternates in the second-degree murder trial of George Zimmerman, the killer of Trayvon Martin. The neighborhood watch volunteer will finally get a chance to try to convince that jury that he shot and killed in self-defense the 17-year-old, armed with only a bag of Skittles and an iced tea, on Feb. 26, 2012.
Forget about the idea of an impartial jury in this case. Thanks to Florida’s incredible sunshine laws, we all know what evidence the prosecution and the defense have. We’ve been able to read witness statements, listen to 911 calls, comb police reports and examine medical records as if we were detectives on “Law & Order.” Much of what we have read, seen and heard over the past 15 months might not even make it into the trial.
As a result, finding jurors who haven’t already made up their minds about this case will be especially difficult. But a jury of Zimmerman’s peers must be found. That’s how our justice system works. Maintaining faith in it is what ensures that our nation doesn’t devolve into total chaos.
From the very beginning, Trayvon’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, have demanded justice for their son. Their first goal was to have Zimmerman arrested, which happened 44 days after he killed their son. That he was able to take a life under murky circumstances and not even be charged was galling. The national outrage it sparked may have diminished with time, but the passions this case inspires burn red-hot. Now comes the trial. While Trayvon’s parents are hopeful that a jury will see what they see, they have said time and again that they will accept the jury’s verdict — an assertion they repeated again before heading into court today.
We are relieved that the trial is starting today with the selection of jury members. We are seeking justice for our son and a fair trial. Trayvon’s life was taken unnecessarily and tragically, but we call upon the community to be peaceful. We have placed our faith in the justice system and ask that the community do the same. Please pray for Trayvon and for our family.
Because the trial will be fascinating and enraging for Zimmerman’s and Trayvon’s supporters, we need to pray for all of us.
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