Saturday, April 19, 2014
The Associated Press
(Continued from page 1)
George Zimmerman wipes his face after arriving in the courtroom for his trial at the Seminole County Criminal Justice Center, in Sanford, Fla., Friday, July 12, 2013. Zimmerman is charged in the 2012 shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Joe Burbank, Pool)
Demonstrators hold banners and signs and shout outside the Seminole County Courthouse, while the jury deliberates in the trial of George Zimmerman, Friday, July 12, 2013, in Sanford, Fla. Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder for the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
The defense attorney said Zimmerman at no point showed ill will, hatred or spite during his confrontation with Martin — which is what prosecutors must prove for second-degree murder.
"That presumption isn't based on any fact whatsoever," O'Mara said.
In contrast, prosecutors argued Zimmerman showed ill will when he whispered profanities to a police dispatcher over his cellphone while following Martin through the neighborhood. They said Zimmerman "profiled" the teenager as a criminal.
Guy said Zimmerman violated the cornerstone of neighborhood watch volunteer programs, which is to observe and report, not follow a suspect.
Zimmerman's account of how he grabbed his gun from his holster at his waist as Martin straddled him is physically impossible, Guy said.
"The defendant didn't shoot Trayvon Martin because he had to; he shot him because he wanted to," Guy said. "That's the bottom line."
But to invoke self-defense, Zimmerman only had to believe he was facing great bodily harm, his attorney said. He asked jurors not to let their sympathies for Martin's parents interfere with their decision.
"It is a tragedy, truly," O'Mara said. "But you can't allow sympathy."
With the verdict drawing near, police and city leaders in Sanford and other parts of Florida said they have taken precautions for the possibility of mass protests or even civil unrest if Zimmerman, whose father is white and whose mother is Hispanic, is acquitted.
Zimmerman's brother, Robert, said in a statement he hoped the public would remain calm.
"Though we maintain George committed no crime whatsoever, we acknowledge that the people who called for George's arrest and subsequent trial have now witnessed both events come to pass," he said. "We hope now that as Americans we will all respect the rule of law, which begins with respecting the verdict.
There were big protests in Sanford and other cities across the country last year when authorities waited 44 days before arresting Zimmerman.
About a dozen protesters, most of them from outside central Florida, gathered outside the courthouse as the jury deliberated. Martin supporters outnumbered those for Zimmerman.
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George Zimmerman arrives in the courtroom for his trial at the Seminole County Criminal Justice Center, in Sanford, Fla., on Friday.
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In this undated photo provided by the Martin family, Trayvon Martin holds an unidentified baby. A jury began deliberating George Zimmerman's fate Friday, July 12, 2013 after hearing dueling portraits of the neighborhood watch captain: a cop wannabe who took the law into his own hands or a well-meaning volunteer who shot Trayvon Martin because he feared for his life. (AP Photo/Martin Family, File)