The Commercial Appeal
5 key moments in the Zimmerman trial last week
SANFORD, Fla. — The first week of George Zimmerman’s second-degree murder trial closed Friday. At the start of the week, prosecutors and defense attorneys outlined their cases for the jury of six women. Then prosecutors began putting on their case.
Zimmerman is pleading not guilty. He has said he fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in February 2012 in self-defense.
Beginning Monday, prosecutors will continue presenting their case for a second week. They are likely to call forensic experts and other investigators before defense attorneys get a chance to put on their witnesses.
Here are five key moments from the past week.
EXPLETIVES AND A KNOCK-KNOCK JOKE
Both came in opening statements. Prosecutor John Guy repeated words Zimmerman had uttered under his breath to a police dispatcher as he followed Martin. In the courtroom, jaws dropped and spectators looked around at one another. Defense attorney Don West began his statement with a knock-knock joke about the difficulty of picking a jury in the case. Even he admitted the joke sounded weird.
RACHEL JEANTEL VS. DON WEST
Jeantel was on the phone with Martin moments before his confrontation with Zimmerman and is considered a key prosecution wit- nesses. She testified that Martin told her he was being followed by “a creepyass cracker.” But it was her testy cross- examination exchanges with West that commanded the most attention. Each asked the other to repeat what they were saying many times. At one moment, Jeantel urged West to move on to his next question: “You can go. You can go.” On her second day on the stand, she seemed more subdued. West asked her, “You feeling OK today? You seem different than yesterday.”
“GROUND AND POUND”
Even though he was called Friday by the prosecution, John Good, a former neighbor of Zimmerman, gave testimony that seemed to bolster the defense contention that Martin was on top of Zimmerman in the fight. Good said he saw Martin straddling Zimmerman in manner similar to a mixed-martial art maneuver known as “ground and pound.”
The 911 calls made by neighbors were repeatedly played for jurors. Neighbors asked police to respond as moans for help followed by a gunshot are heard. A series of neighbors testified about what they heard of the fight, and then prosecutors played corresponding 911 calls as witnesses sat on the stand. Some neighbors teared up as they heard their panicked voices.
MARTIN’S PARENTS ON RACE
Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, Martin’s parents, held a news conference Thursday in which their attorney said they didn’t want race injected into the trial. Some reporters asked why the nation’s most prominent black civil rights leader had been invited to Sanford to demand Zimmerman’s arrest if race wasn’t an issue. But attorney Daryl Parks said at this stage of the case, it shouldn’t be a factor.