George Zimmerman has declined to testify in the second-degree murder trial currently playing out in a Seminole County courtroom.
Zimmerman was expected not to testify, as is frequently the case in cases such as the one sparked by the death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin.
In the past, Zimmerman has given conflicting accounts of the night of the killing but had not unequivocally declined to testify until today, where the decision was revealed in a tense exchange between his defense lawyers and Judge Debra Nelson.
The heated back and forth is one of several that have signaled open hostility in the courtroom in the past few days between Judge Nelson and Zimmerman’s lawyers.
Asked by Nelson whether he planned to take the stand, Zimmerman replied quietly:
Not at this time.
After walking out of the courtroom last night at 10 PM while attorney Don West was still speaking, Nelson again became visibly irritated today in court. During the questioning, West continually objected to the judge’s questioning of Zimmerman, to which she snapped:
I’m asking your client a question. Please, Mr. West. Overruled.
The day was a frustrating one for Zimmerman’s defense overall, as Judge Nelson also ruled that text messages from the last months of Trayvon Martin’s life were inadmissible as evidence.
Also stricken from evidence was an animation commissioned by the defense of Martin attacking Zimmerman, an event not conclusively proven to have occurred.
“The motion-capture animation was a snapshot of what the defense said happened the night Martin died. The animation shows Martin walking up to Zimmerman and punching him in the face, as well as Martin straddling and punching Zimmerman. It was built using Zimmerman’s account of what happened and estimations made by witnesses who called 911 about the confrontation the night Martin died.”
Nelson did, however, rule that Zimmerman’s attorneys could present the animation in closing arguments.