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Trayvon Martin Killing: 2 Sides Want Very Different Jurors

George Zimmerman, the man accused of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
Joe Burbank / Orlando Sentinel
MCT /Landov
George Zimmerman, the man accused of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

Nearly 16 months after the shooting death of African-American teenager Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla., the man charged with second-degree murder is due in court Monday for the start of his trial.

According to experts interviewed by the Orlando Sentinel, the prosecution and defense will be looking for very different kinds of people to sit on the jury that will hear the evidence against George Zimmerman:

"Defense attorneys will likely favor people age 40 and older, predicted Orlando jury consultant Susan Constantine. They'll also want managers, authority figures, people who are analytic — engineers, for example — those who are unemotional and will focus on the facts.

"Expect prosecutors to favor people ages 18 to 35, those with lower-paying jobs — for example, social workers, construction workers or people in service industries — and, in general, those who rely more on emotion in making decisions, Constantine said. Defense attorneys will favor whites, prosecutors blacks, she said."

On Morning Edition, NPR's Greg Allen recapped the story and previewed the trial. Trayvon's death, and the way local prosecutors initially handled the case, sparked protests in several cities across the nation and reignited the national discussion about race relations.

Zimmerman has said he acted in self defense. But Trayvon's family and its supporters say Zimmerman racially profiled the 17-year-old, who had been walking through a Sanford neighborhood. Zimmerman, a self-appointed neighborhood watch volunteer, had called police to report a "suspicious" looking person was in the area. The two then had a violent encounter.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

From 'Morning Edition': NPR's Greg Allen previews the George Zimmerman trial

Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.