New judge sets start date for George Zimmerman murder trial

Neighborhood watch leader charged in death of Trayvon Martin

George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin.

SANFORD, Fla. - The new judge in the case of George Zimmerman, the former neighborhood watch volunteer accused of shooting and killing Trayvon Martin, declared June 10 as the start date in his murder trial.

Zimmerman, charged with second-degree murder in the teen's death, wasn't in court Wednesday for the procedural hearing.  Attorneys estimated that the murder trial would last about three weeks.

Judge Debra S. Nelson was appointed to the case in late August after an appeals court found that the former judge made disparaging remarks about Zimmerman's character and advocated for additional charges against him during a bond hearing.

Zimmerman's defense team tweeted after the hearing that they will likely ask for a "stand your ground" hearing in April or May. If the judge were to side with Zimmerman at the hearing, the murder charge would be dismissed and there would be no trial.

The 29-year-old is charged with shooting Martin, 17, in February in a gated Sanford community.  Zimmerman has claimed self-defense and has pleaded not guilty.

Zimmerman is expected to be in court Friday for arguments over several motions, including the defense asking for more time to interview state witnesses.

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