The second-degree murder trial of George Zimmerman for killing unarmed African-American teenager Trayvon Martin has opened in Florida. During opening statements Monday, attorneys on each side cast conflicting views of Zimmerman’s motives on the night of the shooting last February. Prosecutor John Guy said Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, had profiled the 17 year-old as suspicious and chose to assume the role of a police officer and follow him. He quoted Zimmerman’s own expletive-laced words to a dispatcher.
John Guy: “Good Morning. ‘F—ing punks. These a—holes always get away.’ Those were the words in that grown man’s mouth as he followed, in the dark, a 17-year-old boy who he didn’t know. Excuse my language, but those were his words, not mine.”
These were prosecutor John Guy’s concluding remarks at the end of his opening statement Monday.
John Guy: “We are confident that at the end of this trial you will know in your head, in your heart and your stomach that George Zimmerman did not shoot Trayvon Martin because he had to. He shot him for the worst of all reasons: because he wanted to.”
Defense lawyer Don West argued that Zimmerman killed Martin because he feared for his life after the teenager smashed Zimmerman’s head on the sidewalk, which he suggested constituted a deadly weapon. West told a knock-knock joke toward the beginning of his remarks, a move for which he later apologized.
Don West: “Knock, knock, who’s there? George Zimmerman. George Zimmerman who? All right good, you’re on the jury. Nothing? (audience laughs) That’s funny.”