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Search for jurors begins in Zimmerman trial

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Updated: 6/10/2013 3:39 pm
(NBC News) Jury selection is underway in the trial of George Zimmerman, the Florida neighborhood watch volunteer charged with killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

It's a case that has stirred a national debate over race and Florida's controversial "stand-your-ground" law.

At times Monday Zimmerman took notes or whispered to his attorneys, but for the most part sat quietly during jury selection.

His brother spoke briefly during a recess.

"I think its important that jurors get to know that George is a real person," said Robert Zimmerman. "He's not just whatever images people flash across a screen or whatever narrative people write about."

A lot has been written and said about what happened the night the former community watch volunteer shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

Zimmerman told police he fired in self-defense during a fight that he says was initiated by Martin.

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 he was advised "we don't need you to do that".

If the early going is any indication working to seat a panel of six jurors and four alternates from a pool of 500 could take weeks.

Martin's parents say they've already waited for more than year since their son's death and are happy the trial is moving 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.

Justice both sides say they are seeking from the jury they are trying to select.

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

-- Jay Gray, NBC News reports

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