The jury in the George Zimmerman murder trial is likely just hours away from beginning its deliberations to determine whether Zimmerman might spend the rest of his life behind bars for killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
Defense attorney Mark O’Mara is expected to spend most of the morning with his closing statement, making the case why the six women in the jury—five white and one Hispanic—should believe that Zimmerman pulled the trigger because he feared for his own safety.
Prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda will then have a chance to rebut O’Mara’s closing statement, and the case will go to the jury, possibly later this afternoon.
De la Rionda made an impassioned case yesterday in his closing argument that Zimmerman should be convicted of second-degree murder because he profiled Martin, incorrectly assumed he was a criminal, continued to follow him on the night of Feb. 27, 2012, and incited the conflict that resulted in him killing Martin with single gunshot.
De la Rionda presented a powerful, methodical case, pointing out Zimmerman’s lies and contradictions that showed he was the aggressor who initiated the conflict, rather than the vulnerable victim who had to use his gun because he was inexplicably set upon by the unarmed teen.
The prosecutor tried to alter the terms of the case, asking the jury who was more afraid for his life—a 28-year-old man who was carrying a gun, who had had more than a year of martial arts training and who got out of his car to confront the teen, or a 17-year-old boy who actually tried to run away from Zimmerman?
De la Rionda went through the entire case and pointed out the places where Zimmerman had lied or contradicted himself, such as when he claimed that Martin had covered his mouth to prevent him from screaming after the teen had supposedly bloodied Zimmerman’s nose. But De la Rionda pointed out that Martin’s hands had no blood on them.
“His (Trayvon’s) body speaks to you,” de la Rionda said. “It proves to you that this defendant is lying.”
De la Rionda told the jury the key word in the prosecution’s case was “assumptions.”
Zimmerman “automatically assumed that Trayvon Martin was a criminal, and that is why we are here,” de la Rionda said.
De la Rionda also noted that Zimmerman already knew he could ultimately win any confrontation with Martin.
“He’s got a gun; he’s got the equalizer,” de la Rionda said. He asked the six-woman jury to use “your God-given common sense” and find Zimmerman guilty of second-degree murder.
In an illustration of the passions incited across the country by the trial, talk radio host/community activist Derrick Boazman took calls on Thursday at WAOK-FM in Atlanta. While callers were skewed decidedly against an acquittal for Zimmerman, according to the local Fox News affiliate, some callers predicted that a not guilty verdict could spell trouble in communities across America.
“There’s not going to be any rioting or anything like that, but there are going to be problems,” predicted one caller.
Boazman said he was concerned about the future of young African-American men, which is why he’s holding a rally tonight at 7 p.m. at Iconium Baptist Church in Atlanta.
“For all of us to get greater invested in lives of these young brothers and that we are Trayvon Martin and that his life will mean something if some other child will get a break because some adult will invest in their lives,” Boazman said.