George Zimmerman anticipated trial began this week covering gun laws and race relations. Zimmerman is accused of second-degree murder in the shooting of 17-year old Trayvon Benjamin Martin In February 2013 in Sanford, Florida.
Prosecutor John Guy began his statement by addressing to the six-women jury with “Good morning F*****g punks, these a******s all get away.” According the Guy these were the words used by Zimmerman as he followed the boy he did not know. That night Zimmerman got out of his car with a pistol and two flashlights to follow Martin who was walking home from a 7-Eleven, carrying a fruit drink and a bag of candy.
According to Guy the two became entangled on the ground in a fight. One witness said he saw Martin on top of Zimmerman, but according to the defendant Zimmerman told Martin while he was on top that he was going to die that night.
Martin’s father began to cry as Guy detailed how officers attempted to save his son’s life. Defense attorney Don West on the other hand began addressed the jury with a knock-knock joke. “Knock knock, Who’s there? George Zimmerman. George Zimmerman Who? Good, you’re on the jury.” he said. West made a case that Zimmerman was forced to act in self-defense to save his own life.
West broke down Zimmerman’s non-emergency 911 call in which he first reported seeing Martin and told officials he was following him. West also presented a 911 call a neighbor made, in which it is possible to hear screams and a shot in the background. While the recording audio filled the courtroom, Zimmerman showed no emotion. According to Zimmerman he was being beat up by Martin when he shot him.
Martin was black, and Zimmerman identifies himself as Hispanic. Martin was born on February 5, 1995, to Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin who divorced in 1999. Before the shooting, Martin was living with his mother and his older brother in Miami Gardens, Florida where he was a student at Dr. Michael Krop Senior High School. Martin had been suspended from school three times: once for writing graffiti on a door and another for missing school, and the last time after marijuana residue was found in his book bag. After his 10-day suspension Martin went to Sanford to visit his father at the home of his father’s girlfriend, who lived in the Retreat at Twin Lakes. Martin was there for seven days before his death.
Zimmerman, was a neighborhood watch captain in the gated community where Martin was staying temporarily. In July 2005, Zimmerman was arrested for an assault on an officer and resisting arrest after an incident at a bar. Before his marriage to Shellie Nicole Dean in 2007, Zimmerman and his then-fiancee filed domestic violence protection orders against each other. He was then arrest on one count of second-degree murder on April 11, 2012 for killing Martin. If convicted of second-degree murder, Zimmerman could face 25 years to life in prison.
Zimmerman had reported suspicious activity in neighborhood starting from August 4, 2011 when he first reported to the Sanford Police Department about a suspicious black male walking around in the Retreat at Twin Lakes neighborhood. The next day August 5, Zimmerman called the department again reporting another suspicious black male lurking in the area. On October 6. 2011, Zimmerman called in a third report again alerting authorities to a suspicious black male. On February 2, 2012, Zimmerman calls in for a similar report. According to the Sanford Police Department all the records checks of Zimmerman’s suspicious persons calls while residing in the Retreat at Twin Lakes neighborhood have been identified black males as the subjects.
On February 26, 2012, Zimmerman left his home in his car to go to a store. On his way to the store he called the department’s non-emergency line to report a suspicious person in his neighborhood. Officials had told him not to get out of his car or approach the person. Martin was walking back from a nearby 7-eleven, headed back to his father’s girlfriend’s home. Once authorities arrived Zimmerman admitted to authorities that he shot Marin, but it was in self-defense.
In the police report, officer Timothy Smith noted that Zimmerman was bleeding from the nose and back of his head. Officers were not able to identify Martin when they arrived since he was not carrying identification. His body was then transported to the morgue.
In early May, Zimmerman’s defense lawyers and prosecutors faced off in a pivotal hearing. A judge declared that most of the information regarding Martin’s and Zimmerman’s backgrounds would be barred from trail, including Martin’s school suspension history.