Prosecution wraps up closing arguments in Zimmerman trial - FOX 13 News

ADVERTISEMENT
Bookmark and Share

Prosecution wraps up closing arguments in Zimmerman trial

Posted: Updated:
Orlando Sentinel / pool photo Orlando Sentinel / pool photo
SANFORD (AP) -

The prosecution has finished its closing arguments in George Zimmerman's second-degree murder trial

Prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda took more than two hours to sum up the state's case against the former neighborhood watch volunteer charged in Trayvon Martin's death.

The prosecutor says Zimmerman profiled Martin as a criminal as he followed the teen through the townhome complex where Zimmerman lived and Martin was visiting.

Zimmerman's defense attorneys will make their closing arguments Friday morning, and then the case will go to jurors.

Zimmerman is pleading not guilty, claiming self-defense.

"A teenager is dead. He is dead through no fault of his own," prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda told jurors. "He is dead because a man made assumptions ... Unfortunately because his assumptions were wrong, Trayvon Benjamin Martin no longer walks this earth."

De la Rionda told the jury that Zimmerman wanted to be a police officer and that's why he followed Martin through his neighborhood even though the teen wasn't doing anything wrong.

"He assumed Trayvon Martin was a criminal. That is why we are here," de la Rionda said.

Prosecutors began their closing arguments after the judge presiding over the trial ruled that jurors can consider the lesser charge of manslaughter, but she denied a request for the jury also to consider third-degree murder after a defense attorney called the proposal "outrageous."

Prosecutor Richard Mantei argued that instructions for third-degree murder should be included on the premise that Zimmerman committed child abuse when he fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin because Martin was underage.

But defense attorney Don West called the proposed instruction "a trick," and he accused the prosecutor of springing it on the defense at the last minute.

"Just when I didn't think this case could get any more bizarre, the state is alleging child abuse?" West said. "This is outrageous. It's outrageous the state would seek to do this at this time."

Judge Debra Nelson denied the third-degree murder instruction, saying she was exercising caution since she was unsure if prosecutors could prove intent.

"I just don't think the evidence supports that," Nelson said.

The judge, however, agreed with the prosecution that jurors could consider manslaughter as a lesser charge.

West said he wanted the six jurors to only consider the second-degree murder charge or not guilty.

"The state has charged him with second degree murder. They should be required to prove it," West said. "If they had wanted to charge him with manslaughter ... they could do that."

Jurors could begin deliberating as early as Friday. Prosecutors were expected to give closing arguments Thursday afternoon, followed by the defense closing on Friday morning.

Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder. On the night of the fatal scuffle in February 2012, Martin was visiting his father and his father's fiancee at the same townhome complex where Zimmerman lived.

Zimmerman observed Martin while driving in his neighborhood, called police and the fight ensued after the neighborhood watch volunteer got out of his vehicle. Zimmerman claims Martin was slamming his head into the concrete pavement when he fired his gun.

Some civil rights activists argued that a delay in charging Zimmerman was influenced by Martin's race, and protests were held around the nation in the 44 days between the fatal fight and Zimmerman's arrest. Martin was black and Zimmerman identifies himself as Hispanic.

Powered by WorldNow

FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
3213 West Kennedy Blvd.
Tampa, Florida 33609
Main: (813) 876-1313
Newsroom: (813) 870-9630
Fax: (813) 871-3135

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices