George Zimmerman ("Trayvon Martin") Trial (2003)

Trayvon Martin was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Walking back from a 7-Eleven to the Sanford, Florida townhouse of his father's fiancee on a dark and rainy February evening in 2012, Martin aroused the suspicions of neighborhood watch leader George Zimmerman, setting in motion a chain of events that led to Martin's death and one of the most intensely followed trials of the twenty-first century--a trial that provoked arguments about America's gun culture and racial profiling. As the case progressed, in cities across the county rallies calling for "Justice for Trayvon" were held, and everyone from President Barrack Obama to Hollywood stars to cable news personalities jumped into the debate over whether Martin's death was murder or a justifiable use of force by a man fearing for his life.

Shortly after 7:00 P.M. on Sunday, February 26, 2012, seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin talked on his cellphone with his friend, Rachel Jeantel. He carried a bag of Skittles and an Arizona watermelon juice cooler as he headed along a sidewalk in the Retreat at Twin Lakes townhouse community in Sanford. When George Zimmerman, driving his SUV to Target for an errand, looked out his window he spotted Martin and concluded, as he told police in a phone call, he was "a real suspicious guy." What about Martin made him suspicious is not completely clear. What is known is that Martin was unknown to Zimmerman, young, wore a hooded sweatshirt, walked slowly in the rain--and, most central to the debates that would later ensue, was black. Asked later that night in a police interview the cause for his suspicion, Zimmerman said, "I've never seen him in the neighborhood. I know all the residents. It was raining out and he was leisurely walking, taking his time, looking at all the houses."

Zimmerman called Sanford police at 7:09 to report his suspicions....