National News

Jun 10, 2013 5:20 PM by NBC News

Trayvon Martin's father asks community to "stay peaceful" as jury selection begin

(NBC News) Jury selection is underway in the second-degree murder trial of George Zimmerman.

The proceedings began with Zimmerman's defense team asking, for the third time, to delay the start of the trial. That motion was once again denied by Judge Debra Nelson.

The parents of slain teenager Trayvon Martin say they are ready for the trial to move forward.

"We are relieved that the start of the trial is here with the jury selection as we seek justice for our son Trayvon," Tracy Martin said outside of court.

500 members of the community have been summoned as potential jurors.

Still, some wonder if that's enough to find six panel members and four alternates.

"The big challenge of jury selection is going to be finding people who can be fair and haven't already been influenced by what they have seen," says legal analyst Kendall Coffey.

Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty to a second degree murder charge, telling police he fired the fatal shot that killed Trayvon Martin in self-defense during a fight initiated by 17-year-old.

A probable cause affidavit filed by prosecutors says that Martin "was profiled by George Zimmerman."

They contend he followed the unarmed teenager through his gated community despite a conversation with a police dispatcher in which Zimmerman was advised "we don't need you to do that".

It's just one of several key elements both sides will present to the jury.

Editor's note: George Zimmerman has sued NBCUniversal for defamation. The company has strongly denied his allegations.

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