The George Zimmerman trial got started with opening statements on Monday, proceedings that are being broadcast live on the internet.
George Zimmerman has been charged with murder in the death of Trayon Martin, though the jury is considering if it would be second-degree murder, manslaughter, or self defense. To prove second-degree murder, the jury must find that Zimmerman “was filled with ill-will, hatred or spite.”
On Monday jurors heard opening statements, with attorneys for both sides trying to paint their own account of what happened to the 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in February 2012. The defense claims that Martin attacked Zimmerman, who shot the teen in self-defense.
“This is a sad case, of course… a young man lost his life” and Zimmerman “is fighting for his,” said defense attorney Don West.
He said Trayvon’s parents have the right to grieve over their son’s death but said there were no “monsters.” He then told an odd knock-knock joke: George Zimmerman who? “All right, good. You’re on the jury.”
West claimed it was Travyon Martin who confronted Zimmerman, pulling the older man to the ground and pummeling him.
But the prosecution claims that the self-appointed neighborhood watch captain wrongly targeted Martin, whom he believed was a burglar, and attacked the teen. Prosecutor John Guy told jurors that Zimmerman decided to target Martin as soon as he say him.
“He profiled him as someone who was about to commit a crime in his neighborhood, and then he acted on it, and that’s why we’re here,” Guy said.
Guy claimed that Zimmerman “pressed that gun into Trayvon Martin’s chest” and pulled the trigger.
The case has already become complicated, even as it starts. The judge has already ruled that 911 audio testimony would not be allowed. The call had been in contention as prosecutors claimed a frightened voice heard pleading on the audio belonged to Trayvon Martin, while the defense tried to argue it was Zimmerman.
Earlier the judge kicked George Zimmerman’s family out of the trial, as they could be called as potential witnesses. Trayvon Martin’s family has been allowed to stay, and made a statement that they plan to attend the duration of the trial.
Trayvon Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, said at the opening of the George Zimmerman trial:
“I’m here today as Trayvon Martin’s mom as I have been every day. I will be attending every day to get justice for my son. I ask that you pray for me and my family because I don’t want any other mother to have to experience what I am going through now.”
The opening statements in the George Zimmerman trial can be found live online.