Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts

Prosecutor opens with Zimmerman’s obscenity

First Published Jun 24 2013 10:10 am • Last Updated Jun 24 2013 12:56 pm

SANFORD, Fla. • A prosecutor told jurors in opening statements Monday that George Zimmerman fatally shot Trayvon Martin "because he wanted to," not because he had to, while a defense attorney said the neighborhood watch volunteer shot the teen in self-defense to stop him from smashing Zimmerman’s head into a concrete sidewalk.

The opposing attorneys squared off on the first day of testimony in a trial that has attracted international attention and prompted nationwide debates about racial profiling, vigilantism and the laws governing the use of deadly force.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Defense attorney Don West used a joke in his opening statements to illustrate the difficulty of picking a jury amid such widespread publicity.

"Knock. Knock," West said.

"Who is there?"

"George Zimmerman."

"George Zimmerman who?"

"Ah, good. You’re on the jury."

Included among the millions likely to be following the case are civil rights leaders the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, who joined national protests in the weeks before prosecutors filed second-degree murder charges against Zimmerman. The charges came 44 days after the shooting.

Zimmerman, 29, who identifies himself as Hispanic, has denied that his confrontation with Martin before the shooting had anything to do with race. His mother was born in Peru. His father is a white American. Martin was black.


story continues below
story continues below

But just before opening statements began, Martin’s parents sent out an urgent plea to their supporters to pray with them for justice, while their family attorney, Benjamin Crump, described the case as clear cut.

"There are two important facts in this case: No. 1: George Zimmerman was a grown man with a gun, and No. 2: Trayvon Martin was a minor who had no blood on his hands. Literally no blood on his hands. ... We believe that the evidence is overwhelming to hold George Zimmerman accountable for killing Trayvon Martin."

Prosecutor John Guy’s first words to jurors recounted what Zimmerman told a police dispatcher in a call shortly before the fatal confrontation with Martin: "F------ punks. These a-------. They always get away."

Zimmerman was profiling Martin as he followed him through the gated community where Zimmerman lived and Martin was visiting, 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.

West told jurors a different story: Zimmerman was being viciously attacked when he shot Martin, he said. He was sucker-punched by Martin, who then pounded Zimmerman’s head into the concrete sidewalk.

"He had just taken tremendous blows to his face, tremendous blows to his head," said West, after showing jurors photos taken by Zimmerman’s neighbors of a bloodied and bruised neighborhood watch volunteer.

Later, West said it was not true that Martin was unarmed.

"Trayvon Martin armed himself with a concrete sidewalk and used it to smash George Zimmerman’s head," West said.

Next Page >


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.