There have been surprising events and remarks made by both sides during the trial of neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman.
The jury in the trial of George Zimmerman began its deliberations on Friday after the prosecution issued a short rebuttal to the defense’s closing remarks. A jury of six women will determine the fate of Zimmerman, who was charged with second-degree murder in the February, 2012, shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
Zimmerman, 29, has pleaded not-guilty to the charges, claiming he acted in self-defense in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Martin. The jury may also consider the lesser charge of manslaughter.
June 24: The prosecutor’s blunt—and surprising—opening statements:
“F***ing punks,” and “These a**holes always get away,” Prosecutor John Guy quoted Zimmerman as saying on a tape of a call he made to a non-emergency police number after he spotted Martin walking around a gated community on Feb. 26, 2012.
A knock-knock joke referring to the jury selection process:
“Sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying,” Don West, defense lawyer, said as he set up a joke.
“Knock, knock. Who’s there? George Zimmerman. George Zimmerman who? All right, good. You’re on the jury,” he said.
West later apologized for his remarks and said he wouldn’t make any other jokes.
A parade of witnesses:
June 28: Defense attorney Mark O’Mara pressed John Good, a neighbor and prosecution witness, for specifics of the confrontation:
“The person who you now know to be Trayvon Martin was on top, correct?” O’Mara asked.
“And he was the one who was raining blows down on the person on the bottom, George Zimmerman, right?”
“That’s what it looked like,” Good said.
June 26 and 27: The exchanges between defense attorney West and Rachel Jeantel, one of the prosecution’s key witnesses who was on the phone with Martin moments before he was shot, seemed tense at times. He picked apart some discrepancies between past depositions and her court testimony. She blurted out, “That’s retarded, sir,” after the defense suggested Martin attacked Zimmerman.
According to Jeantel, Martin allegedly told her that he was being chased by a “creepy-a** cracker.”
“Do people that you live around and with call white people, ‘creepy-a** crackers’?” West asked.
“Not creepy. But cracker, yeah,” Jeantel said.
“You’re saying that in the culture that you live in, in your community, people there call white people crackers?”
“Yes, sir,” she said.
July 1: Police Officer Christopher Serino, the lead investigator of the case who initially recommended manslaughter charges against Zimmerman, testified about trying to catch Zimmerman in a lie by pretending the incident had been taped.
“I believe his words were, ‘Thank God, I was hoping somebody would videotape it,’” Serino said.
Asked by defense lawyer O’Mara what he thought of that comment, Serino said, “Either he was telling the truth or he was a complete pathological liar. One of the two.”
When questioned further, Serino said he thought Zimmerman was telling the truth and was not a pathological liar.
July 3:Pranksters interfere with Skype testimony from Zimmerman’s former criminal justice professor:
When viewers saw the prosecutor’s Skype ID displayed while Professor Scott Pleasants testified, they bombarded the screen with their incoming call requests.
“There’s now a really good chance that we’re being toyed with,” defense lawyer O’Mara said.
“Hang up the phone,” the judge ordered.
Ultimately, the professor continued his testimony by speaker phone.
Martin’s grieving parents took the stand:
July 5: “I heard my son screaming,” Sybrina Fulton, Martin’s mother, said while testifying about the screams for help heard in the background of the 911 call.
July 8: “My world has just been turned upside down,” Tracy, Martin’s father, said while testifying.
July 10: The defense and prosecution got physical:
Prosecutor Guy used a foam mannequin to question where Zimmerman’s gun was located:
“If this person, this mannequin, were carrying a firearm on their waist,” he asked while straddling the dummy, “where would the gun be right now, in relation to me?”
“It would be at your left inner thigh,” said Dennis Root, a use-of-force expert, during the trial.
“Right here, right?”
Later, defense attorney O’Mara used the same mannequin to give jurors an alternate view:
“How about this?” O’Mara said as he slammed the mannequin on the ground. “How about somebody resisting the attempt, the injuries–the two lacerations–could that have come from cement, if somebody was resisting me, pushing down like this?”
“I believe so,” Root said.
Conflicting testimony from the mothers of both Zimmerman and Martin in identifying the voice screaming on the 911 call moments before the fatal shot:
“I heard my son screaming,” Sybrina Fulton said of Martin.
“My son, George,” said Zimmerman’s mother, Gladys.
June 24, Prosecutor Guy: “We are confident that at the end of this trial you will know, in your head, in your heart, in your stomach, that George Zimmerman did not shoot Trayvon Martin because he had to. He shot him for the worst of all reasons: because he wanted to.”
Defense attorney West: “George Zimmerman is not guilty of murder. He shot Trayvon Martin in self-defense after being viciously attacked.”
This report was compiled by Stefanie Cargill and written by Michele Richinick.
Editor’s note: George Zimmerman has sued NBC Universal for defamation. The company strongly denies the allegation.