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Opening Statements in George Zimmerman Trial

A Florida prosecutor is hoping that George Zimmerman’s own words will show that he’s guilty of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

Defendant George Zimmerman, co-counsel Don West and jury consultant Robert Hirschhorn appear in Seminole circuit court
Defendant George Zimmerman, co-counsel Don West and jury consultant Robert Hirschhorn appear in Seminole circuit court (Joe Burbank-Pool/Getty Images)

Prosecutor John Guy began his opening statement today by repeating the words that Zimmerman was heard using to a police dispatcher as he followed Trayvon Martin through the gated community where Zimmerman lived. Using an expletive, Zimmerman refered to “punks” who “always get away.”

Guy told jurors that Zimmerman saw Martin as “someone about to commit a crime.” And, he added, Zimmerman “acted on it.” The prosecutor said, “That’s why we’re here.” He said Zimmerman didn’t have to shoot Martin — but did so “for the worst of all reasons: because he wanted to.”

A judge had ruled earlier that prosecutors could tell the jury that Zimmerman had “profiled” Martin — but that they couldn’t say the profiling was based on race.

Defense lawyer Don West told a different story. He said Zimmerman was being viciously attacked when he shot the 17-year-old. According to West, Zimmerman was sucker-punched by Martin, who then pounded Zimmerman’s head into the concrete sidewalk.

West added that Martin had the chance to go home — but instead confronted Zimmerman.

Zimmerman is pleading not guilty, claiming self-defense. If he’s convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

 

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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