The murder trial of George Zimmerman, who claims he shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in self-defence last February, has been set for June 10.
In her first hearing since taking over the case, Judge Debra S. Nelson warned the date could change as both sides get prepared for what is expected to be a three-week process.
Zimmerman's defense team indicated after the hearing on Wednesday that they will likely ask for a "stand your ground" hearing in April or May next year.
The controversial law allows the use of lethal force if a person feels seriously under threat.
Under Florida law, Zimmerman can request the hearing and argue his self-defence case before the trial.
If the judge sides with Zimmerman, the second-degree murder charge against him would be dismissed and there would be no trial.
Judge Nelson took over the case in August after an appeals court said the previous judge should be removed for making disparaging remarks about Zimmerman's character.
Zimmerman, who is free on bail, was not at the hearing Wednesday. His legal team is due back in court Friday to argue several motions.
They have said in court documents that prosecutors have not turned over information they requested in a timely manner.
Zimmerman says he shot the teenager in self-defence during a fight in Sanford in Florida.
Zimmerman claimed he grabbed his gun from a holster on his waist before Trayvon could get it, and shot Trayvon once in the chest as they fought on the ground in a gated community.
Florida police did not arrest Zimmerman until six weeks after the shooting.
The case provoked weeks of angry protests and outrage across America.
It prompted a furious debate on issues that included race relations, racial profiling and Florida's notorious gun laws.