UPDATE: Opening Statements Begin in George Zimmerman Case

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

UPDATE: 6/24/13 4:03 PM CDT

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- Jurors in the George Zimmerman murder trial have been dismissed for the day after listening to opening statements from the prosecution and the defense.

Judge Debra Nelson had the jurors leave Monday as they were listening to the fourth witness for the prosecution. The witness was a custodian of police dispatch calls.

During her testimony, prosecutors started playing police calls Zimmerman had made in the months before he fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin last year.

Defense attorneys objected, claiming the calls were irrelevant.

The judge said she would address the matter Tuesday and sent the jurors to their hotel where they are being sequestered for the duration of the trial that could last up to a month.

Zimmerman is pleading not guilty to second-degree murder.


UPDATE: 6/24/13 1:29 PM CDT

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- 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.

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.


SANFORD, Fla. (AP) — George Zimmerman's defense attorneys said in opening statements that the neighborhood watch volunteer fatally shot Trayvon Martin in self-defense.

Defense attorney Don West told jurors Monday that Zimmerman was being viciously attacked when he shot the 17-year-old Miami-area teen.

West outlined the defense case moments after a prosecutor said in his opening statements that Zimmerman was profiling Martin shortly before he confronted the teen last year.

Zimmerman is pleading not guilty to second-degree murder, claiming self-defense.

The case attracted worldwide attention following protests that erupted when Zimmerman wasn't arrested for 44 days after the shooting.


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