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(SANFORD, Fla.) — The trial of George Zimmerman for the killing of teenager Trayvon Martin began in a Florida courtroom with an emotional statement by Martin’s mother and the judge sending Zimmerman’s family out of the courtroom.

The case opened Monday in Sanford, Fla., 16 months after Martin was shot dead by Zimmerman.

Before opening statements could be introduced, Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, gave a statement.

“I’m here today as Trayvon Martin’s mom as I have been every day.  I will be attending every day to get justice for my son,” Fulton said moments before she and Martin’s father entered the court.  “I ask that you pray for me and my family because I don’t want any other mother to have to experience what I am going through now.”

Benjamin Crump, a lawyer for the family, also summed up the arguments prosecutors may make.

“We think this is a simple case.  There are two important facts.  Number one, George Zimmerman was a grown man with a gun.  And number two, Trayvon Martin was a minor who had no blood on his hands,” Crump said.

Once inside the courtroom, the families of Martin and Zimmerman settled into their seats, but Judge Debra Nelson ordered Zimmerman’s family to leave the room since they are on a list of possible witnesses who might be called.

Martin’s parents were allowed to stay and watch the proceedings.

According to Florida law, a victim’s family can stay inside a courtroom and watch the proceedings.  However, no such rule covers family rights for the accused.

Crump was also kicked out of court.

Prosecutors will begin opening statements in the second-degree murder trial against Zimmerman by trying to paint the former neighborhood watch captain as a “wannabe cop” who over-stepped his role in the community.  

They will argue that he profiled, followed and, ultimately, killed a 17-year-old high school student who was innocently walking to his father’s girlfriend’s home after leaving a convenience store on Feb. 26, 2012.

Zimmerman’s team might counter by highlighting the medical reports, photographs and relatively “consistent” statements he made to police immediately after the shooting that Martin aggressively confronted him and banged his head on the sidewalk several times, and that the two struggled over Zimmerman’s gun until he pulled the trigger.  They will assert he killed the teen while trying to defend his own life.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


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