When 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot to death in Sanford, Fla., on Feb. 26, 2012, the case was initially ignored by the national media.
But when this photo, believed to have been taken a few years before his death, began to circulate in newspapers and on television, the story made headlines. Unarmed at the time of his death, Martin was carrying a bag of Skittles and a bottle of iced tea when he was shot in the chest by George Zimmerman.
Even President Obama reacted to the growing controversy and the photo of the young boy who had been tragically killed, saying on March 23, "If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon." Some said use of an outdated photo, showing a smiling youngster, contributed to the emotions surrounding the case.
Zimmerman, 28, the son of a Peruvian mother and white father, told police he shot Trayvon Martin in self-defense.
The volunteer neighborhood watchman had called police to report that a suspicious man was walking through the gated community where Zimmerman lived. Zimmerman called 911 as he followed Martin. "We don't need you to do that," the operator can be heard telling Zimmerman on the tape.
At some point, Zimmerman and Martin confronted each other and the teen was killed. Police responded to the scene, but Zimmerman, whose gun was registered, was not charged.
The shooting occurred in the Retreat at Twin Lakes, a gated community in Sanford, Fla. Martin, who had been watching the NBA All-Star game at his father's home, was walking through the community after going out at halftime for snacks.
Although there is no evidence that Martin, shown here with his father, was doing anything illegal, Zimmerman told the 911 operator that there was a suspicious person in the neighborhood, who appeared as though he was on drugs.
As the national media converged on the story, NBC News came under fire for editing the 911 tape in a way that made it appear Zimmerman was racially profiling Martin. The doctored version was aired on the "Today" show.
"This guy looks like he's up to no good … he looks black," Zimmerman says in the version of the tape that aired on NBC. But in the unedited version, Zimmerman only mentioned Martin's race when prompted by the dispatcher.
"This guy looks like he's up to no good. Or like he's on drugs or something. It's raining and he's just walking around, looking about," Zimmerman said.
Only after the 911 dispatcher asks if the person was "black, white or Hispanic?" did Zimmerman reply, "He looks black."
The case shone a spotlight on Florida's "Stand your Ground" law, which states that an individual can use force in self-defense when there is a legitimate belief of a threat, without having to retreat first.
Zimmerman claimed Martin had confronted him, broke his nose with a punch and was bashing his head into the pavement when he fired the deadly shot.
National Rifle Association Chief Executive Officer Wayne LaPierre told NRA members at the organization's annual meeting in St. Louis that the media sensationalized the case while ignoring other crimes that happen across the country every day.
As a Florida grand jury probed the case, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department would take appropriate action if it found evidence that Martin's federal civil rights had been violated.
Verifying Zimmerman's injuries could be crucial to establishing he acted in self-defense.
On April 3, ABC News released a video of Zimmerman being led into the police stationhouse for questioning which did not clearly show marks on his scalp. Days later, the network aired enhanced video that seemed to show a gash on Zimmerman's head.
As the controversy grew, Zimmerman stayed in hiding.
The New Black Panther Party reportedly put a $10,000 bounty on him and he received other death threats.
On April 10, the two attorneys representing Zimmerman, Hal Uhrig, left, and Craig Sonner announced that they withdrew as his counsel because they had not heard from him in days and he took actions related to the case without consulting them.
Meanwhile, the case had drawn the attention of civil rights activists, including Jesse Jackson and the Rev. Al Sharpton.
Both men rushed down to Florida to lead protesters in a demand for justice. Sharpton and Martin's parents, Tracy Martin, left, and Sybrina Fulton, flew to Washington for an April 11 news conference at the Washington Convention Center, where they called for Zimmerman to be prosecuted.
Sybrina Fulton conferred with family attorney Benjamin Crump during the news conference in Washington. Later that day, they would get their wish when charges were filed against Zimmerman.
Florida State Attorney Angela Corey, who Gov. Rick Scott appointed special prosecutor in the case, held a news conference to announce that Zimmerman would be charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Martin.
Martin's parents, Tracy Martin, second from left, and Sybrina Fulton, second from right, along with Rev. Al Sharpton (back center), watched Corey's news conference from the nation's Capitol.
Later that evening, Zimmerman's new attorney, Mark O'Mara, told reporters outside his offices in Orlando that Zimmerman would plead not guilty.
With tensions mounting in the racially charged case, O'Mara called for calm and said his client would turn himself in.
As O'Mara said he would, Zimmerman surrendered to police in Sanford. Pictured is his booking photo provided by the Sanford Police Department.
Agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement head back to their vehicle after delivering Zimmerman to the Seminole County jail on April 11.
Churchgoers at the Allen Chapel, in Sanford, reacted to news of Zimmerman's arrest with jubilation.
The public got its first look at Zimmerman when he appeared shackled in a Seminole County courtroom with O'Mara during a court hearing in Sanford, Fla. on April 12. Zimmerman could get life in prison if convicted of second-degree murder.
Circuit Judge Jessica Recksiedler, here at a status hearing, was initially slated to hear the case. But she recused herself after attorneys complained that she had a conflict of interest. Her husband is a member of a law firm whose founder is a legal analyst on television.
Skittles, the multicolored candy that Martin was carrying when he had his fateful encounter with Zimmerman, became a rallying symbol for protesters.
Here, Jajuan Kelley of Atlanta wears a Skittles wrapper over his mouth during a demonstration.
Supporters, including players from the NBA's Miami Heat, also donned hoodies, like the one Martin was wearing when he was killed.
Zimmerman faced a new judge, Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester, on April 20, when he appeared for a bond hearing. Zimmerman wife and other family members testified to his character by phone after reportedly receiving death threats.
Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton, and family attorney Benjamin Crump attended the bond hearing at the Seminole County Criminal Justice Center.
Zimmerman shared a smile with a member of his defense team after Judge Lester granted his release on $150,000 bail. While free and awaiting trial, Zimmerman must obey a curfew and wear an electronic monitoring device.
On April 22, 2012, in the middle of the night, Zimmerman walked out of the intake building at the John E. Polk Correctional Facility after posting the required 10 percent of his $150,000 bail. His attorney said Zimmerman would waive his right to appear at his May 8 arraignment.
Zimmerman was whisked away moments after walking out of the intake building at the John E. Polk Correctional Facility. Zimmerman's ultimate destination is being kept secret for his safety. His attorney said at the time he will likely remain in hiding until his trial begins sometime next year.
The Trayvon Martin case