Jury selection begins Monday for the trial of George Zimmerman, the man accused of murdering 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida in February 2012.
The case went from a homicide investigation to a modern-day civil rights crusade last year, after Zimmerman admitted to killing Martin. Zimmerman was not charged with a crime for six weeks, because of a controversial law that allows for lethal force in self defense.
On Monday, lawyers will question potential jurors at the Seminole County Courthouse. Demand for seats inside the court is high, so each day officials will hold drawings for the 24 seats allotted to members of the public.
"I wanted to get in here because I have a son and a grandson and they could have been Trayvon Martin," said Patricia Barnes, who applied for one of the seats open to the public.
As the trial begins, Sanford residents are prepared for a revisit of the racially charged demonstrations the city witnessed last year.
"This is one of those trials that I think will have a big impact on the community," said Sanford resident Stephen Beaumont.
Officials have been working for the past year to prepare for the trial. They set up barricades restricting areas for the media and for protestors to demonstrate. Experts believe the trial could last six weeks.
The judge in the case has decided to withhold the identities of the people selected for the jury, but they will not be sequestered.
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