George Zimmerman case goes to jury Friday

George Zimmerman case goes to jury Friday

George Zimmerman case goes to jury Friday

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by SENI TIENABESO (@seniABC) and MATT GUTMAN (@mattgutmanABC)

WHAS11.com

Posted on July 12, 2013 at 9:36 AM

(ABC News) --  A jury will soon decide to either make George Zimmerman a convicted murderer or let him leave court a free man.


Mark O'Mara, the lead attorney on the Zimmerman team, will present his pitch to the all-female jury of six today that the former neighborhood watch captain shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in self defense after he was brutally assaulted.

Using a motion-capture animation of Zimmerman's version of events that night, and pictures of a bloodied and bruised Zimmerman, O'Mara is expected to say that Zimmerman shot the teenager in an effort to save himself.

 

Read the Judge's Instructions to the Jury

The defense's closing argument follows a fiery one by prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda, who told the Florida jury Thursday that Zimmerman is a "liar" who should be convicted of second-degree murder or manslaughter.

"A teenager is dead and he is dead through no fault of his own. He is dead because another man made assumptions," said de la Rionda.

De la Rionda told the jury that Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch captain, was an aspiring police officer who assumed incorrectly that Martin was a criminal.

"What was his crime?" de la Rionda asked the jury about Martin. "He bought Skittles?"

Zimmerman, 29, if convicted of the top charge, could face up to life in prison. The racially charged case began on Feb. 26, 2012 when Zimmerman called police to report what he said was a suspicious person in his neighborhood on a rainy night. He got out of his car to follow Martin, but claims he stopped when police asked him not to follow, but wanted to get an address for police.

Zimmerman told police that Martin confronted him, knocked him down and banged his head on the sidewalk and then started to reach for Zimmerman's gun. Zimmerman grabbed the gun and shot Martin once in self defense, he said.

The prosecutor attacked Zimmerman's credibility and his version of the confrontation, repeatedly saying Zimmerman had lied, and scoffed at his claim of self-defense. He said that Zimmerman "profiled" Martin and concluded he was a criminal.

Catch up on all the details from the George Zimmerman murder trial.

De la Rionda said Zimmerman "lied" when he told law enforcement that he got out of his car to find an address to give police. The prosecutor pointed out that a visible address was right in front of where Zimmerman parked his car.

De la Rionda questioned Zimmerman's version of being able to quickly pull out his gun while allegedly pinned to the ground on his back. He noted that Zimmerman had told police his gun was behind his hip.

The prosecutor said Zimmerman exaggerated his injuries.

"The defense is going to argue that this is self defense…but you can't take that in a vacuum," said de la Rionda. "It's not like this defendant was walking home and somebody just started beating him up."

Jurors looked away at times as the prosecutor showed autopsy photos of Martin. De la Rionda recounted the testimony of several witnesses including Rachel Jeantel, a woman of Haitian descent whose testimony was laced with some street slang.

Jeantel, one of the prosecution's key witnesses, was on the phone with Martin up to the moments before he died and she told the court that Martin was scared by a man who was following him.

She told the court she heard Martin yell, "Get off" before the phone cut off.

 "I had a dream that today a witness would be judged not on the color of her personality but the content of her testimony," said de la Rionda. "On the content of her testimony. Just because she's got a colorful personality…that doesn't mean that her story, her statements aren't accurate."

In a moment of theatrics de la Rionda skipped across the courtroom imitating Zimmerman's claim to Fox's Sean Hannity that Martin was not running -- as he told a police dispatcher -- but was skipping away. Zimmerman turned his head in disapproval.

The parents of Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman both watched as de la Rionda urged the jurors to convict Zimmerman.

Zimmerman is worried as his murder trial draws to a close, fearing that he could spend the rest of his life in prison if found guilty or in hiding if acquitted, his lawyer said. Zimmerman has spent the last few days huddling with family, ABC News has learned.

 Lead defense attorney O'Mara says Zimmerman is concerned that even if he is acquitted, he would spend the rest of his life locked in the confines of his security regimen – hiding from the public and concealing his identity.

"He's very worried about his safety, personal safety going forward," O'Mara said. "Because those same people who portended the fear and hatred leading up to this trial probably are not going to accept an acquittal."

If Zimmerman is found guilty he will immediately be remanded into custody and escorted into Seminole County Jail. If exonerated he will be immediately released.

O'Mara says any conviction would be met with an appeal, and hinted he could decide to use a Stand Your Ground immunity hearing during an appeal. Zimmerman's defense team elected not to apply Zimmerman's right to a stand your ground hearing during the trial because the immunity hearing can only be invoked once.

Jurors are expected to begin deliberating Friday afternoon.

Click here for more from ABC News.
 

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