The Orlando Sentinel reports that opening statements are scheduled to start today in the trial of George Zimmerman, who is accused of second degree murder in the death of Trayvon Martin:
SANFORD – Jurors will hear opening statements at the George Zimmerman murder trial today, as attorneys for both sides begin telling their version of what happened the night Zimmerman killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, a homicide that set of weeks of civil rights rallies.
The six jurors and four alternates seated last week will be presented with starkly contrasting depictions of Zimmerman, 29: The state alleges that he profiled the unarmed teenager, then followed, confronted and killed Trayvon Feb. 26, 2012, in Sanford.
Zimmerman, who is charged with second-degree murder, says he fired the fatal shot in self-defense after Trayvon punched him to the ground and began beating him.
When the trial resumes about 9 a.m. today, prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda is expected to present the state’s opening, followed by defense attorney Don West.
Circuit Judge Debra Nelson ruled late last week that the state can use several phrases in opening that Zimmerman’s defense team had argued were too inflammatory: Prosecutors can say Zimmerman was a “wannabe cop,” or a “vigilante,” the judge ruled. They can also say Zimmerman “confronted” Trayvon.
The judge also ruled the state can say Trayvon, a black teen from Miami Gardens, was profiled by Zimmerman, though she instructed prosecutors to avoid the phrase “racially profiled.”
Opening statements come on the heels of a major victory for Zimmerman’s defense: Nelson ruled Saturday that forensic audio analysts the state hoped to call as expert witnesses will not be allowed to testify at trial.
I’ve wrote extensively about the George Zimmerman case last year, but admittedly have not kept up with the legal wranglings that have taken place this year betweeen the prosecution and defense teams. That being said, I believe this post where I detailed facts not widely known about the case, and deconstructed myths concocted by the mainstream media about the case is one you should probably read before the trial gets underway. In particular, what I feel are the two most important facts about this case is that there were two EYEwitnesses, one a young teenage boy and the other a male resident of the apartment complex who both initially told reporters and/or law enforcement that they saw a man in a red jacket getting beat up on the ground underneath another man, and yelling for help. The last I read, the state had managed to get to these two EYEwitnesses by making them think they “couldn’t be sure” of what they saw and heard, but it will be interesting to see if the defense either calls to the stand or brings up these two during the trial.
You can watch the trial online here.
As they say, stay tuned … and pray that – no matter the outcome – there will be no violent demonstrations as a result.