The trial date for George Zimmerman is nearing in what will be one of the most closely watched trials of 2013, as the 29-year-old Florida neighborhood watch volunteer is tried for the February 2012 killing of Trayvon Martin.
Zimmerman’s trial date is Monday, June 10, when jury selection will start. His lawyers are expected to argue that Zimmerman killed Trayvon in self-defense in Sanford. State attorneys will assert that Zimmerman murdered the 17-year-old black youth.
Trials are open to the public, but the huge media influx descending on Seminole County for the case will limit how many people will get to be in the courtroom for the Zimmerman trial. Seminole County Court is holding a public lottery in which 24 seats for members of the public will be up for grabs for each day of the trial, WFTV reported. The Orlando-based television station said applications are being accepted by the supervisor of elections in Sanford.
The station laid out the details of what applicants need to submit and how the drawing will be conducted:
“Applicants must submit their name in person one day before the court date they'd like to attend,” WFTV reported. “Names will be drawn randomly and those selected will be notified by phone with instructions on where to pick up their visitor’s pass.”
The first drawing will be held Friday.
As Zimmerman’s trial date approaches, his defense fund is dwindling, according to the Associated Press. The fund, which had $315,000 in its coffers in January, was down to less than $5,000 at the end of May.
Zimmerman's lawyers, Mark O’Meara and Don West, told the AP they need $120,000 for a “good defense,” and possibly $75,000 more than that. O’Meara and West have not been paid any fees so far for handling Zimmerman’s case.
Martin was viewed as suspicious by Zimmerman, who has a Hispanic mother and a white father, on the night of their fatal encounter, Feb. 26, 2012. Believing that Travyon, who was wearing a hoodie, was up to no good, Zimmerman followed him and called 911 to report him. When a 911 dispatcher told Zimmerman to let law enforcement handle the situation, Zimmerman decided not to heed that advice.
During his pursuit of Trayvon, a struggle ensued and Zimmerman shot him at close range. He faces 25 years in prison if convicted on second-degree murder charges.