The prosecutor in the George Zimmerman murder trial went for shock value in his opening utterance today, saying the word “F***ing punks” to remind the jury of what Zimmerman said during his phone call to police in describing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin just moments before his encounter with Martin resulted in Zimmerman blasting him in the chest.
Prosecutor John Guy continued his quoting of Zimmerman’s phone call with this: “These a**holes always get away.”
“Those were the words in the defendant’s head just moments before he pressed the pistol,” the prosecutor told the jury of six women.
It was only appropriate that a case with such monumental national implications commence with such fireworks as the two sides made their opening statements in front of the si-member jury and Judge Debra Nelson.
For his part, defense lawyer Don West was more soft-spoken and subdued as he told the court this was a “sad case” but that “there are no monsters here.”
West used a map of the Twin Lakes Retreat Subdivision to paint the picture of the events leading to Martin’s death, telling the five white women and one Hispanic in the jury about recent crime in the community—surely a loaded issue when it comes to whites and black youth—and how Zimmerman and others in the neighborhood were instructed to report suspected crime.
“Residents would ask him to phone in something and to report something,” said West. “There was an attempted break-in just a couple weeks before.”
Playing the Zimmerman call to police when he said he saw a “suspicious” teenager, West said Zimmerman’s statement that “these a**holes always get away” were not the words of a man consumed with ill intent, but of someone who had been the point person in a community dealing with rising crime.
In the call to police, Zimmerman said Martin stared at him, approached him, had his hands on his waist band and then ran off.
“You will see the evidence proves at least one thing. Trayvon Martin hadn’t gone home,” said West. “He had plenty of time, but choosing not to do that he either left or just hid in the darkness to see about this guy who was following him and turned out of the darkness and said why are you following me.”
As the prosecutor described Martin as an innocent victim minding his own business when the 29-year-old Zimmerman confronted him, Martin’s parents wept and Zimmerman sat stoically.
The prosecutors said Zimmerman overstepped his role as a neighborhood watch captain and that he profiled, followed and, ultimately, killed a 17-year-old high school student who was walking to his father’s girlfriend’s home with Skittles and Arizona iced tea after leaving a convenience store.
Guy also pointed out that in the days after the shooting, Zimmerman lied to police—as some of the jurors often listened with their hands clasped together over their mouths.
Before she and Trayon’s father went into court, Trayvon’s mother Sybrina Fulton said, “I’m here today as Trayvon Martin’s mom as I have been every day. I will be attending every day to get justice for my son. I ask that you pray for me and my family because I don’t want any other mother to have to experience what I am going through now.”
In his analysis of the proceedings to ABC News, criminal defense attorney Mark Eiglarsh, who has no connection to the case, said, “To prove second-degree murder, prosecutors must prove that Zimmerman was filled with ill-will, hatred or spite. Jurors can consider a lesser charge of manslaughter if they think what Zimmerman did was unlawful but didn’t contain those necessary elements.”