George Zimmerman

Zimmerman portrayed as vigilante in Fla. shooting

George Zimmerman Sanford Fla. Trayvon Martin Photo / AP - Orlando Sentinel Joe Burbank  - PoolSANFORD, Fla. (AP) – George Zimmerman was fed up with “punks” getting away with crime and shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin “because he wanted to,” not because he had to, prosecutors argued Monday, while the neighborhood watch volunteer’s attorney said the killing was self-defense against a young man who was slamming Zimmerman’s head against the pavement.

The prosecution began opening statements in the long-awaited murder trial with shocking language, repeating obscenities Zimmerman uttered while talking to a police dispatcher moments before the deadly confrontation.

The defense opened with a knock-knock joke about the difficulty of picking a jury for a case that stirred nationwide debate over racial profiling, vigilantism and Florida’s expansive laws on the use of deadly force.

“Knock. Knock,” said defense attorney Don West.

“Who is there?”

“George Zimmerman.”

“George Zimmerman who?”

“Ah, good. You’re on the jury.”

Zimmerman, 29, could get life in prison if convicted of second-degree murder for gunning down Martin on Feb. 12, 2012, as the unarmed black teenager, wearing a hoodie on a dark, rainy night, walked from a convenience store through the gated townhouse community where he was staying.

The case took on racial dimensions after Martin’s family claimed that Zimmerman had racially profiled Martin and that police were dragging their feet in bringing charges. Zimmerman, whose mother is Hispanic and whose father is white, has denied the confrontation had anything to do with race.

Prosecutor John Guy’s first words to the jury recounted what Zimmerman told a dispatcher in a call shortly after spotting Martin: “F—— punks. These a——-. They always get away.”

Zimmerman was profiling Martin as he followed him, Guy said. He said Zimmerman viewed the teen “as someone about to a commit a crime in his neighborhood.”

“And he acted on it. That’s why we’re here,” the prosecutor said.

Zimmerman didn’t have to shoot Martin, Guy said. “He shot him for the worst of all reasons: because he wanted to,” he said.

The prosecutor portrayed the watch captain as a vigilante, saying, “Zimmerman thought it was his right to rid his neighborhood of anyone who did not belong.”

West told jurors a different story: Martin sucker-punched Zimmerman and then pounded the neighborhood watch volunteer’s head against the concrete sidewalk, and that’s when Zimmerman opened fire.

Showing the jury photos of a bloodied and bruised Zimmerman, the defense attorney said, “He had just taken tremendous blows to his face, tremendous blows to his head.”

West said the story that Martin was unarmed is untrue: “Trayvon Martin armed himself with a concrete sidewalk and used it to smash George Zimmerman’s head.”

The prosecutor, however, disputed elements of Zimmerman’s story, including his claim that Martin put his hands over Zimmerman’s mouth and reached for the man’s gun. Guy said none of Zimmerman’s DNA was found on Martin’s body, and none of the teenager’s DNA was on the weapon or the holster.

But West said that doesn’t prove anything, arguing that crime-scene technicians didn’t properly protect Martin’s hands from contamination.

Two police dispatch phone calls that could be important evidence for both sides were played for the jury by the defense. Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, left the courtroom before the second recording.

The first was a call Zimmerman made to a nonemergency police dispatcher, who told him he didn’t need to be following Martin.

The second 911 call, from a witness, captures screams in the distant background from the struggle between Zimmerman and Martin. Martin’s parents said the screams are from their son, while Zimmerman’s father contends they are his son’s.

The judge ruled last weekend that audio experts for the prosecution won’t be able to testify that the screams belong to Martin, saying the methods used were unreliable.

Randy McClean, a criminal defense attorney in Florida with no connection to the case, called the prosecution’s opening statement “brilliant” in that it described Zimmerman’s state of mind. But he described the knock-knock joke as less than stellar.

“If you’re defending your client for second-degree murder, you probably shouldn’t start your opening with a joke,” McClean said.


Source: AP

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

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Emeraldeyes says:

So, please educate this nieve Canadian where no one owns guns or feels the need to own guns. Florida law allows: 1 black underaged teen innocently walking along the street going to a store for candy + 1 hoodie + 1 creepy guy with a gun and the legal right to defend his property = state sanctioned murder of said child. Do I understand that correctly?

Julia says:

Did you all watch the same day of opening statements/testimony that I watched (I’d venture to guess that most of you didn’t watch/listen to any at all)? Take a minute, or a few hours, to actually listen to the day’s testimony. While Mr. West’s opening statement was horribly boring & useless, the testimony of the day was surprisingly pro-defense. Contrary to reports, Zimmerman sounded calm throughout the 911 call & was asked more than once by the 911 operator what the unidentified male [later known to be Williams] was doing. He was not told not to follow him but rather the 911 operator said “we don’t need you doing that.” Day 1 – Defense.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I think Zimmerman is probably somewhat of a slimy individual. But, his fate should not be determined by the court of public opinion, but rather by the laws of our country. So, don’t be so quick to jump on the “he had a gun, he must be guilty” bandwagon until you’ve heard ALL of the testimony. I listened to the entire day’s statements/testimony yesterday & will do my best to listen to every day. I entered this with a completely open mind & was very surprised with how yesterday went.

Happy listening, folks!

FrouFrou says:

The coward that thinks he is king just because he has a gun ends up killing an innocent person. No matter how you spin it, this is the bottom line.

LoveBunny says:

Looks like GZ baited TM into a fight on purpose because GZ wanted to be a neighborhood “hero” who “got” the perpetrator.

LoveBunny says:

The knock knock joke was just stupid. . .

Patricia Nelson says:


Maria says:

The question here is: who started the fight? It seems to me that the one with the loaded weapon, the one who chose to profile and then follow is the one with the power here. Even if GZ was walking back to his car, he was the aggressor. It is a whole more probable that when GZ and TM met, GZ was the one asking something like “what are you doing here?”, and when TM responded “what do you care?” with some foul tone (as he should), that would trigger (pun intended) GZ’s anger to escalate the situation. The bottom line is: the aggressor is GZ, the murderer is GZ. This crime falls in his shoulders. No doubt.


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