George Zimmerman

George Zimmerman’s attorney: case full of gaps

Mark OMara  Don West George Zimmerman July 10, 2013PhotoAP Orlando Sentinel Gary W. Green PoolSANFORD, Fla. (AP) – George Zimmerman’s defense attorney began his final arguments Friday, telling jurors he will show them the neighborhood watch volunteer’s “pure, unadulterated innocence” of second-degree murder when he fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

Attorney Mark O’Mara told jurors the burden was on prosecutors, and he said they hadn’t proven Zimmerman’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. O’Mara said prosecutors built a case on a series hypothetical “could’ve beens” and “maybes.”

“If it hasn’t been proven, it’s just not there,” O’Mara said. “You can’t fill in the gaps. You can’t connect the dots. You’re not allowed to.”

The six jurors could begin deliberating Friday. Because there were no eyewitnesses, the panel of six women will likely rely heavily on testimony – which was often conflicting – from police, neighbors, friends and family members. They will have to decide if they can determine who was yelling for help on a 911 call that recorded the shooting, and whether Zimmerman was a wannabe cop who took the law into his own hands or someone who was in a fight for his life, with his head being repeatedly slammed into the ground.

Zimmerman, 29, is charged with second-degree murder in the February 2012 shooting, but the jury will also be allowed to consider manslaughter. Under Florida’s laws involving gun crimes, manslaughter could end up carrying a penalty as heavy as the one for second-degree murder: life in prison.

O’Mara dismissed the prosecution’s contention that Zimmerman was a “crazy guy” patrolling his townhome complex and “looking for people to harass” when he saw Martin, an unarmed black teenager. O’Mara also disputed prosecutors claim that Zimmerman snapped when he saw Martin because there had been a rash of break-ins in the neighborhood, mostly by young black men.

Zimmerman at no point showed ill will, hate or spite during his confrontation with Martin, which is what prosecutors must prove for second-degree murder, O’Mara said.

“That presumption isn’t based on any fact whatsoever,” O’Mara said.

O’Mara also told jurors to ask themselves what Martin was doing during the four minutes from when he started running at the urging of a friend he was talking to on a cellphone to when he encountered Zimmerman. Martin was planning his attack instead of going back to the townhome where he was staying, O’Mara said. The defense attorney let four minutes of silence pass to emphasize the amount of time.

“The person who decided … it was going to be a violent event, it was the guy who decided not to go home when he had a chance to,” O’Mara said.

The defense attorney bolstered his arguments with a poster-board timeline of events, a power point-presentation showing witnesses who had testified and a computer-animated depiction of the fight based on Zimmerman’ account. O’Mara also placed two cardboard cut-outs of Zimmerman and Martin in front of jurors to show Martin was considerably taller than Zimmerman, although Zimmerman was much heavier.

To invoke self-defense, Zimmerman only had to believe he was facing great bodily harm, O’Mara 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.”

O’Mara’s conversational style contrasted prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda’s booming presentation a day earlier.

De la Rionda said in his closing argument that Zimmerman assumed Martin was a criminal who was up to no good when he confronted him in his neighborhood. A scuffle followed, and Zimmerman fired his gun.

“A teenager is dead. He is dead through no fault of his own,” de la Rionda said. “He is dead because a man made assumptions. … Unfortunately because his assumptions were wrong, Trayvon Benjamin Martin no longer walks this Earth.”

Judge Debra Nelson’s ruling to allow consideration of the manslaughter charge came despite the objections of Zimmerman’s lawyers.

To win a second-degree murder conviction, prosecutors must prove Zimmerman showed ill will, hatred or spite – a burden the defense has argued the state failed to meet. To get a manslaughter conviction, prosecutors must show only that Zimmerman killed without lawful justification.

Allowing the jurors to consider manslaughter could give those who aren’t convinced the shooting amounted to murder a way to hold Zimmerman responsible for the death of the unarmed teen.

It is standard for prosecutors in Florida murder cases to ask that the jury be allowed to consider lesser charges that were not actually brought against the defendant. And it is not unusual for judges to grant such requests.

As the nation awaits a verdict in the trial, police and city leaders in Sanford and South Florida say they have taken precautionary steps for the possibility of mass protests or even civil unrest if Zimmerman, who identifies himself as Hispanic, is acquitted, particularly in African-American neighborhoods where passions run strongest over the case.

There were massive protests in Sanford and other cities across the country when authorities waited 44 days before arresting Zimmerman.

Zimmerman has claimed he fired in self-defense after Martin sucker-punched him and began slamming his head into the pavement. Prosecutors have disputed his account and portrayed him as the aggressor.

De la Rionda argued that Zimmerman showed ill will and hatred when he whispered profanities to a police dispatcher over his cellphone while following Martin through the neighborhood. He said Zimmerman “profiled” the teenager as a criminal.

“He assumed Trayvon Martin was a criminal,” de la Rionda said. “That is why we are here.”


Source: AP

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Jimmyboi says:

George Zimmerman created the situation and Trayvon perceived him as a threat and he had every right to defend himself from this stranger who may be attempting to cause him bodily harm bottom line . It doesnt matter what the outcome is if not guilty zimmerman will have to go into hiding for life he will be in danger and his family also we all know it.

RF says:

It all lies in the fact that Trayvon had FOUR minutes to get to his house (which was approximately 75 yards away). According to Jeantel and Zimmerman, he was running during that time. How long does it take to run a football field? Four minutes?! If he was “scared”, he would have continued heading home. The fact that an altercation occurred during that time, only shows that he circled back around (which was proven with countless testimony, especially from his conversation with Jeantel, and evidence) to and started the altercation. And no, Zimmerman didn’t kill him because of racial profiling or thinking he was “up to no good,” he killed him after his head had been bashed into the ground time after time and his nose had been broken.

Whether or not you believe Zimmerman’s story (which he passed the lie detector test), there IS reasonable doubt, and there’s NO way he could possibly be convicted. The prosecution simply didn’t prove their case.

peter g says:

They will try to convict for spitting on the sidewalk next.

LoveBunny says:

The prosecution is beyond desperate! They are really reaching because they know that they can’t prove their case.

Dee says:

GZ will be found not guilty for sure!

Betty tapper says:

I hope George zimmerman goes down for at least twenty years

Colete says:

Convicted of what? Martin was on top of Zimmerman beating his head into the concrete. GZ was calling for “help”. How much longer could Zimmerman have survived that kind of a brutal head beating? Without a doubt it was self defense.

mufngruf says:

this is all good ONLY if you believe one/some/many or all of George Zimmerman’s many and varied stories.. to any reasonable person, he’s a serial liar who profiled, stalked, accosted and killed and innocent man, walking home, talking on the phone and minding his own business.

Elena McAneny says:

I hope Zimmerman gets convicted with either second degree murder or manslaughter. He can’t get away with shooting Treyvon just because Zimmerman thought Treyvon was up to no good.

rk says:

prosecution seems desperate..they want jury to convict GZ on something..anything..

Dennis says:

Omg, child abuse charge, are you kidding me? Even though the State can’t prove their case beyond reasonable doubt, but they will do whatever it takes in their power to make sure Zimmerman will be locked up in jail. This is America!

marcus says:

Is there any chance G.Zimmerman could be convicted on 3rd degree murder and then hit with the 10 20 life rule?

MD says:

Shame on the prosecutors. They realized that the second degree charge which they were so confident in the beginning isn’t going to work, so they added another lesser charges expecting the jury to somehow consider one of the charges to put GZ in jail in order to keep some people happy. What a BS!

E.T. says:

Sounded like a frowny kid who asked his mom if he can’t have ice cream, he can have candy or something else instead!


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