Jury Selection Underway in George Zimmerman Trial

Race, 911-call is taken into consideration during opening day of trial for Trayvon Martin's death.
9:54 | 06/10/13

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Transcript for Jury Selection Underway in George Zimmerman Trial
This is a special report from ABC news. Look what I'm down Cutler -- New York where this ABC news digital special report George Zimmerman in court today. A little -- -- that is because he is wearing a bulletproof vest. The Florida neighborhood watch this trial is underway and it's in the defense the prosecution started picking the jury for this racially charged case. ABC's Mexican sauces and Sanford Florida now with the latest. -- the record will reflect. Presents mr. Zimmerman George -- wearing a bulletproof vest as his second degree murder trial gets -- -- the parents of trade on -- the seventeen year old he's accused of killing stone faced tear in the Seminole County courthouse as jury selection begins. As we seek justice for awesome -- of and we also -- A fair and impartial trial. We -- the community. Continue to stay peaceful and. Asking for peace from a community polarized since Martin's death in February of last year. The teen was unarmed walking in a residential area of Sanford Florida when Zimmerman a neighborhood watch volunteer called police to report him as a suspicious person. Republican Olympia if we double -- we'll -- -- A confrontation followed Zimmerman who left the scene with injuries to his head did he was attacked and shot -- in self defense. Others -- Zimmerman targeted -- because he was black. It'll be up to six jurors chosen some analysts say in part based on their race to decide. It's going to be tough but they'll find a jury these don't have to be jurors who know nothing. I've never heard of the case these have to be jurors who haven't developed opinions about the case. And as potential jurors are questioned inside the courthouse today outside protesters are expected to gather for the start of what the Martin family's attorney calls. The civil rights case of the century and. And the judge denied the defense's last minute request today to delay the start of the trial jury selection is expected to last between one and three weeks. -- Gonzales ABC news Sanford Florida. -- Marcy thank you for that I want to bring in ABC's Erica Turkey who has also done in Sanford Florida. -- and -- jury selection is underway today and I know as as Marcy had mentioned. In that -- with Dan Abrams -- a little bit about what the defense -- the prosecutors are looking for in the jury but what have we seen so far. In the questionnaire that they've been having to fill out. -- -- it's its newly revised so we haven't had a look at the full questionnaire but they're being asked about everything from their views on police and guns. The media and race but ultimately be answers to the questions may matter less then how they look demographics jury consultants have told -- -- May play a tremendous role in how the lawyers decide to choose the six jurors and four alternates who will ultimately hear the testimony. If you -- -- explain a little bit because obviously Florida -- is slightly different a lot of other states not requiring twelve jurors but only six required on this and I believe. Four alternates. How much more difficult that does that make and for lawyers are trying to assemble this -- out of a pool of 500. Sample of 500 jurors and it's -- it's a relatively painstaking process because each -- gets a questionnaire. Then the attorneys have a look at the answers then they called 21 jurors up into the courtroom. For individual questioning George Zimmermann is in the room so -- -- on Martin's parents they said that they are relieved jury selection is finally starting. George Simmons brother Robert who is also in the courtroom says he's confident in acquittal so the pressure on these potential jurors even. It is already significant and this the process of picking. -- six people who we'll hear the evidence and ultimately decide George -- state. Could take several -- I I know that going into today's proceeding with the jury selection is to -- just started -- under way I know that trade on Martin's mother seemed very stoic. I she seems very determined and as you said was very much -- appreciate the fact that process was in fact getting under way. I know they've been taking breaks throughout the morning have you noticed any kind of meeting where as this process is getting under way. You know we spoke with somebody close to two Sabrina -- -- -- Martin's mother who says she somber mean even if she is -- that that this process is happening. She is told us in in in conversations. Would ABC news that she just wants fairness she wants justice she's putting her faith. Not only in her religious beliefs but also in the legal system here in Florida and that's all she can do. That this has really worn on on both sides frankly over the last sixteen months. For George Zimmermann he has been in and out of a bulletproof vest as he comes in and out of court. Sabrina Fulton tells us the Morton Stanley has also received threats so on line on the phone. And so both families. Have really had a wrenching sixteen months and now. Finally. The process comes into court and this is where the case will finally be decided. In a process that could last four to six weeks. There were hundreds of potential witnesses the defense team gave us an indication to -- Dan. They may try to Whittle that down a little bit so things keep moving but still could be two to three weeks of rather wrenching testimony. -- -- you know area we can when elaborate a little bit more on the job that's ahead for the defense because they have had some. Some serious blows to their case as of recently not allowed to bring specific types of evidence in from the courts. They've wanted to try and challenge the image that we've seen of of tree of on -- those photographs of him smiling looking like. And innocent kid who this month by the way would have graduated from high school. The image the defense wants to portray is something like pot smoking violence -- -- thug. Who was it intimidating George -- from the start and bashing his head against the sidewalk. A lot of the cell phone imagery and text messages the defense wanted to introduce. -- ruled inadmissible or at least admissible on very narrow grounds by the judge. But still it's out there ahead of jury selection in -- on Martin's family has accuse the defense of trying to poison the well. Even before jury selection began. What about that 911 phone call that Zimmerman had made the knights and a lot of people have been carried over and over again and there had been a lot of discussion back and forth between. Whose voice it was actually on that 911 call in the noise that was in the background. Is that going to be admissible. Well there are a number of 911 calls that were made that night and -- 61 involves something in the background -- voice. Yelling for help. What's -- George Zimmerman was a -- -- -- Voice analysts have taken listen and some conclude one way some conclude the other. But some say it's an entirely inconclusive and so none of it may get before the jury. Whoever it is whoever's voices calling for help would go a long way perhaps in helping the jury decide who was truly the aggressor that night. But the judge may not allow any of it to be heard we'll have to wait and see that part of the hearing the pretrial hearing will continue after jury selection. I initially when this case came to alliance. Everyone was looking at say the -- details behind Florida's stand your ground law. And that I know was originally. Zimmerman and has a defense attorneys and backing for for this are they still staying on them. Well they did not opt for a stand your ground hearing which would have put the entire prosecution in doubt. Had the judge found there -- enough evidence to invoke stand your ground the defense didn't want to tip its hand -- And so they opted to waive the stand your ground hearing that they can still make that same argument. During trial that. George Zimmerman felt threatened felt his life was in danger because is -- been bashed against the sidewalk. And killed trade on -- in self defense and prosecutors have a high burden they've charged -- second degree murder. Which they have -- not only prove a sequence of events they also have to prove that Zimmerman act with depraved mind. And that's a question that that many experts say is going to be a tall order for prosecutors. -- obviously this case an incredibly high profile case and really grabbed a lot of attention obviously beyond sort of a really around the country and and and I've -- international headlines as well. Com but I'm curious to find out what kind of activity is happening outside -- the courthouse there because with so much attention being placed. On this jury pool that's going to be whittled down from such a large group. I would imagine there are some kind of demonstrations or at least -- a good deal attention outside of the building itself. -- -- the the sizable civil rights protests that erupted here in Sanford in and around the country. At the outset of this case have had not been repeated they've they've subsided but the tension is still here and there is a special protest -- Set up outside the courthouse the numbers haven't been all that significant today but maybe they'll grow as we get on toward verdict. And there's been special security arrangements here to both sides as we've mentioned -- say they've. Not felt threatened and and have received threats so there are specific procedures or entry and exit. The traffic is routed a certain way. The city of Sanford Seminole County of both put out advisories to the community and prospective jurors conceived all of this on their way. Into the courthouse they're just going to be asked to ignore it. Come trial the -- All lives Stamford four -- courthouses -- thank you so much for being with us and for your insight and and the observations after it was. But complete recap on abcnews.com. As the jury selection does get under way. On now the first day for now I'm Dan Butler New York with this ABC news digital special report. This has been a special report from me.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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