NBC News' Kerry Sanders sat down for a wide-ranging interview with Trayvon Martin's parents before the George Zimmerman trial began (Interview was on May 9). Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree murder, saying he shot Trayvon Martin in self-defense.
The parents of slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin say they want to see "justice" in the second-degree murder trial of George Zimmerman.
A month before the trial began, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin told NBC News' Kerry Sanders that they believe their 17-year-old son was doing nothing wrong on Feb. 26, 2012—the night he was shot and killed by Zimmerman, 29, who told police he acted in self-defense.
Martin's parents haven't spoken publicly since testimony began, but on May 9 they sat down with NBC News for an extensive interview that lasted over an hour.
"Justice, to me, would be for the person who killed our son to be held accountable and for all the evidence to come out and for, you know, a jury to hear everything that happened that night of February 26," Fulton said.
"We believe that Trayvon did nothing wrong, that he was just walking from the store," Fulton said, referring to the convenience store the teen had visited before he was observed by Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch coordinator. "He wasn't committing any crime. He wasn't bothering anybody. He was minding his own business."
Lawyers for Zimmerman, who has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, have said their client was attacked by Martin during their encounter and that Zimmerman then fired his gun in self-defense.
Fulton, when asked what was "stolen" from her the night of the fatal shooting, said she lost "a precious gem that cannot be replaced, a life of a child that has so much potential."
"We never said that Trayvon was perfect," Fulton said. "Nobody is. But he was ours. And I don't think you can replace that, you know. I mean, you can have other kids and there's other kids in the world, but it's just nothing like your own."
When asked if he was prepared for the prosecution to attack Trayvon's character during the trial, Tracy Martin said he and his ex-wife knew the "truth" about their son.
"One thing I can say about that is you can't tear apart what we know we built," he said. "You can try to demoralize. You can try to assassinate his character. You can try to make him out to be the baddest kid in the world."
"We know our son," he said. "And we know that's far from the truth."
The defense team during pre-trial proceedings asked a Florida judge to allow the admission of evidence they claimed bolstered their theory that Trayvon Martin was the aggressor in his fatal encounter with Zimmerman, including a suspension from school, prior marijuana use, allegedly incriminating text messages and past fighting.
Judge Debra Nelson on June 2 ruled those alleged details of Martin's past are not relevant to the case.
"Did George Zimmerman know anything about Trayvon's school records? He didn't know anything about Trayvon," Tracy Martin said. "So anything prior to February 26, 7:17(p.m.), to me is totally irrelevant. What matters to me is what happened that night he pulled the trigger."
Tracy Martin said that, should the jury acquit Zimmerman at the conclusion of the trial, "we will still put our faith in God."
"My answer to that would be God is in control. You know, we continue to put our faith in God. And God forbid, if acquittal is handed down, we still put our faith in God, you know, it's out of our hands. There's nothing we can do and we'll continue to pray," he said.
"And we'll continue to be the voice of Trayvon whether there's an acquittal (or) whether it's a guilty verdict."
Editor’s note: George Zimmerman has sued NBC Universal for defamation. The company strongly denies the allegation.
This story was originally published on Thu Jul 11, 2013 7:13 PM EDT