AFRICANGLOBE – A prosecutor began opening statements in George Zimmerman’s trial in Sanford, Fla., with obscene words that the neighbourhood watch vigilante whispered under his breath while following 17-year-old Trayvon Martin one evening in February 2012.
The trial began Monday, after almost two weeks of picking a jury. Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Black teenager.
“F—— punks,” prosecutor John Guy said to six female jurors, quoting Zimmerman from a call he made to a police dispatcher shortly before his fatal confrontation with Trayvon Martin. “These a——-. They always get away.”
Guy told the jurors that Zimmerman profiled Trayvon Martin “as someone about to commit a crime in his neighbourhood.
“And he acted on it. That’s why we’re here.”
Zimmerman followed Trayvon Martin through his neighbourhood, confronted him and then fatally shot him during a fight, Guy said.
“George Zimmerman didn’t shoot Trayvon Martin because he had to,” Guy said. “He shot him for the worst of all reasons: because he wanted to.”
No Zimmerman DNA on Trayvon’s Body
The prosecutor described Zimmerman as someone who wanted to be a police officer, and he dismantled the story Zimmerman has told investigators about what happened during the fight between the neighbourhood watch volunteer and the Miami-area teen that left Trayvon Martin dead from a bullet to his chest.
Zimmerman’s claim that Trayvon Martin had his hands over the neighbourhood watch volunteer’s mouth is false since none of Zimmerman’s DNA was found on Trayvon Martin’s body, Guy said. The prosecutor also said Zimmerman’s claim that he had to fire because Trayvon Martin was reaching for his firearm is false since none of Martin’s DNA was on the gun or holster.
Zimmerman is pleading not guilty to second-degree murder, claiming self-defense. His defence attorney was to present his opening statements following those of the prosecution.
On Feb. 26, 2012, Zimmerman spotted Trayvon Martin, whom he did not recognize, walking in the gated townhome community where Zimmerman and the fiancee of Trayvon Martin’s father lived. There had been a rash of recent break-ins and Zimmerman was wary of strangers walking through the complex.
The two eventually got into a confrontation and Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin in the chest with his 9mm handgun. He was charged 44 days after the shooting, only after a special prosecutor was appointed to review the case and after protests. The delay in the arrest prompted protests nationwide.
911 Calls to Be Entered as Evidence
Two police dispatch phone calls will be important evidence for both sides’ cases.
The first is a call Zimmerman made to a non-emergency police dispatcher, who told him he didn’t need to be following Trayvon Martin.
The second 911 call captures screams from the confrontation between Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin. Trayvon’s parents said the screams are from their son while Zimmerman’s father contends they belong to his son.
Nelson ruled last weekend that audio experts for the prosecution won’t be able to testify that the screams belong to Trayvon Martin, saying the methods the experts used were unreliable.
A few minutes before opening statements got underway, Trayvon Martin’s mother asked for members of the public to pray for her family, saying she didn’t want any other mothers to have to go through what she is experiencing.