George Zimmerman trial: Six women weigh a silent man’s future
The George Zimmerman jury has resumed deliberations in Sanford, Fla. Six women have an unenviable task: Measure justice in the case of a neighborhood watch captain who kills an unarmed teenager.
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The defense says it was Martin who stalked Zimmerman after Zimmerman got out of his car to look for an address, sucker punched him, and then beat his head on a concrete sidewalk. Though he had gone to a boxing gym for 18 months, Zimmerman, who had 40 pounds on the 158 pound Trayvon, didn’t have the physical ability or technical prowess to fight back, witnesses said.Skip to next paragraph
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“How many ‘coulda beens’ have you heard from the state in this case,” defense attorney Mark O’Mara queried the jury. “Do not give anybody the benefit of the doubt except for George Zimmerman.”
Trayvon Martin, of course, could not testify, as the prosecutors maintained more than once. Zimmerman chose not to testify, allowing previously recorded interviews with police and media to speak for him in the courtroom. Judge Debra Nelson told jurors that they could not allow Zimmerman’s decision to remain silent sway their verdict.
That left jurors to wade through an avalanche of emotional and often contradictory testimony, ranging from the identity of a desperate scream for help caught on a 911 recording to the meaning of Zimmerman’s observations on a 911 nonemergency call about “[expletive] punks” who “always get away.”
Other open questions for the jury include trying to determine who actually started the fight and whether Zimmerman, as the prosecution contends, consistently lied to police about the sequence of events.
The jurors have been engaged. When Guy showed, not for the first time, an autopsy picture of Trayvon’s face, one of the youngest jurors cried. When prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda straddled a man-sized felt dummy to illustrate what he saw as inconsistencies in Zimmerman’s explanation of what happened, all the jurors stood up to see better, with one juror stepping slightly out of the jury box to get a closer look.
The women of the jury include a Hispanic nursing home nurse, a 30-something parrot owner, a middle-aged woman who told the judge she “wants a fair trial,” and another middle-aged white woman who told the judge she’ll urge jurors to only consider introduced evidence, but also noted that, “You have a responsibility if you bear arms.”
The defense wants the jury to focus only on Zimmerman’s story of how he was attacked and beaten. The prosecution wants the jury to look at Trayvon’s death in its totality, and to consider what a not guilty verdict would mean.
Guy told the jury that if Zimmerman is acquitted it will signal to society that it’s okay for grown men to follow and chase children, and kill them if they put up a fight.