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Florida judge sets June trial date in Trayvon Martin killing

Undated handout photo shows George Zimmerman shortly after he killed Trayvon Martin, in Sanford, Florida. REUTERS/George Zimmerman Legal Cas
Undated handout photo shows George Zimmerman shortly after he killed Trayvon Martin, in Sanford, Florida. REUTERS/George Zimmerman Legal Cas

By Barbara Liston

ORLANDO, Florida (Reuters) - A Florida judge set a tentative date of June 10 next year for the second-degree murder trial of George Zimmerman, the former neighborhood watch captain who killed unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin in a gated subdivision near Orlando.

Judge Debra Nelson scheduled the trial during a brief hearing on Wednesday morning, according to court spokeswoman Michelle Kennedy.

Zimmerman said he acted in self-defense on February 26 when he shot 17-year-old Martin, who was walking back from a convenience store to the townhome where he was staying with his father.

Zimmerman's lawyer, Mark O'Mara, said on Twitter shortly that he will seek to have the murder charge dismissed in a hearing in April or May under Florida's Stand Your Ground law, which allows persons in fear for their life to use deadly force in self-defense.

However, prosecutors argue that Martin would be alive if Zimmerman had followed instructions from a police dispatcher not to pursue Martin and instead wait for officers to arrive. Prosecutors contend Zimmerman profiled Martin and then pursued, confronted and killed him.

The lawyers will be back in court Friday to argue over the release of evidence in the case, including Martin's school and social media records requested by the defense.

Prosecutors want the judge to seal any records obtained by the defense until the court decides whether the defense is entitled to those records, and whether those records should be made public.

(Editing by David Adams and Jackie Frank)

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