State Hammers Zimmerman’s Stories In Closing Arguments

     SANFORD, Fla. (CN) – “Is it really self defense when you follow somebody?” a prosecutor asked in closing arguments in George Zimmerman’s murder trial Thursday. “If he was scared, why did he get out of the car? Because he had a gun, an equalizer.”
     Seminole County Judge Debra Nelson allotted each side three hours for closing statements. The state may divide its time between its argument and rebuttal.
     Closing arguments are expected to conclude today.
     Judge Nelson ruled Thursday that the six-woman jury may consider a lesser charge of manslaughter in addition to the second-degree murder charge. She denied an alternative charge of third-degree felony murder with child abuse.
     Zimmerman is charged with the second-degree murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in February 2012.
     Zimmerman, 29, claims he killed Martin in self-defense under Florida’s “stand your ground” law. If convicted of second-degree murder he could face life in prison.
     Prosecutor Bernie De La Rionda began the state’s closing arguments Thursday.
     “A teenager is dead. He is dead through no fault of his own. He is dead because a man made assumptions. Not just because he made those assumptions, but because he acted upon those assumptions. This individual made the wrong assumption. He profiled him as a criminal.”
     De La Rionda pointed at Zimmerman. He said Zimmerman did not try to resuscitate Martin after he shot him.
     “Is it really self defense when you follow somebody?” De La Rionda asked. “If he was scared, why did he get out of the car? Because he had a gun, an equalizer. Why did he deny that he followed him? Because it shows ill will.”
     De La Rionda said the law does not allow people to take the law into their own hands. He reminded the jury of the testimony of Rachel Jeantel, who was speaking with Martin by cell phone during his encounter with Zimmerman.
     De La Rionda asked if she should be disregarded because she’s not sophisticated or educated.
     “I have a dream that she would be judged not by the color of her personality but by the content of her testimony,” De La Rionda said. “Does the victim have a right to self-defense when he was being chased?
     “Now he wants you to let him off because he killed the only eyewitness,” he told jurors.
     He played a video of a re-enactment of the incident that Zimmerman gave to police.
     De La Rionda said Zimmerman lied about following Martin, and told police he was only trying to find a street name.
     He said that Zimmerman, a Neighborhood Watch captain who had been living in the community for four years, should have known the street name.
     “There are only three streets in the Retreat at Twin Lakes, and he didn’t know the street name?” De La Rionda asked. “He told lie after lie after lie.”
     De La Rionda said Zimmerman showed what he was thinking when he described Martin as a “fucking punk,” and said, “these assholes, they always get away,” in his non-emergency call.
     “What was his crime?” De La Rionda asked. “He had Skittles and a fruit drink that he bought. He had $40 and some change. It was only 7 o’clock at night.”
     He said Martin should not have looked “up to no good” because he wore a hoodie in the rain.
     He played an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, in which Zimmerman said that the incident was “all God’s plan,” for which he had no regrets.
     De La Rionda said the lack of Martin’s DNA on Zimmerman’s handgun rebuts the claim that Martin went for Zimmerman’s gun.
     He attacked the defense claim that rain washed the blood off Martin’s hands but did not wash the blood off Zimmerman’s scars.
     “You can’t have it both ways,” he said.
     He cited discrepancies in Zimmerman’s that he was afraid of Martin.
     “He said Martin jumped out of the bushes and circled his truck, but Zimmerman got out of the truck anyway.”
     The six-woman jury listened intently with little note-taking or reaction.
     Prosecutors left themselves 45 minutes for rebuttal after the defense’s closing argument today.
     Court was to resume at 8:30 a.m.

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