Zimmerman Trial: 5 questions jurors sorting out in deliberation - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Zimmerman Trial: 5 questions jurors sorting out in deliberations

Posted: Updated:
FILE -This combo image made from file photos shows Trayvon Martin, left, and George Zimmerman. (AP Photo, File) FILE -This combo image made from file photos shows Trayvon Martin, left, and George Zimmerman. (AP Photo, File)

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) — The six female jurors who will determine whether George Zimmerman committed second-degree murder when he fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin last year entered a second day of deliberations Saturday.

During almost three weeks of testimony, they listened to 56 witnesses — 38 for the prosecution and 18 for the defense. A number of items have been the source of conflicting testimony, and jurors will have to sort out those contradictions in the deliberation room.

Zimmerman is pleading not guilty to second-degree murder. He says he fatally shot Martin in a scuffle at the townhome complex where Zimmerman was a neighborhood watch volunteer and where Martin was visiting his father's fiancee. Martin was black and Zimmerman identifies himself as Hispanic. Some civil rights activists argued that the delay in charging Zimmerman was influenced by Martin's race, and protests were held around the nation in the 44 days before Zimmerman was arrested.

Here are five questions jurors have to sort out.

George Zimmerman arrives in the courtroom for his trial at the Seminole County Criminal Justice Center, in Sanford, Fla., Friday, July 12, 2013. Zimmerman is charged in the 2012 shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Joe Burbank, Pool)

WHOSE SCREAMS ARE ON 911 CALLS?

Convincing jurors about whose voice is screaming for help on 911 calls that captured audio of the fight was the primary goal of prosecutors and defense attorneys. Martin's mother, father and brother testified it's the Miami teen screaming for help on recordings of the 911 calls made by Zimmerman's neighbors. Zimmerman's mother, uncle, father and five friends told jurors it was the neighborhood watch volunteer's voice. One of Zimmerman's neighbors, Jayne Surdyka, says the screams were those of a boy.

___

WHO WAS ON TOP?

Zimmerman was wearing a red jacket, and Martin had on a dark hoodie. Zimmerman's former neighbor Jonathan Good, perhaps the witness with the best view of what happened, says he saw a person in dark clothing straddling someone in red or white clothing and making downward movements with his fists in a mixed-martial arts maneuver known as "ground and pound." Neighbors Selma Mora and Surdyka say the person on top got up after the shooting. Zimmerman's attorneys say Zimmerman had been on the bottom but got on top of Martin after he fired his gun.

___

HOW DID POSITION OF MARTIN'S ARMS CHANGE?

Zimmerman told investigators that Martin was on top of him, pounding his head into the pavement. After he fired his gun, he says, he got on top of Martin and spread his arms. However, a photo taken moments later by Zimmerman's neighbor shows Martin's arms under his body. Defense expert Vincent DiMaio testified Martin could have moved his arms in the 10 to 15 seconds he would have been conscious after being shot in the heart.

___

DID ZIMMERMAN ACT IN SELF-DEFENSE?

Zimmerman has argued all along he acted in self-defense, although he passed up chance for a self-defense "stand your ground" hearing in which a judge could have thrown out the case without it going to a jury if the judge was convinced there was enough evidence to support it. Zimmerman's community college instructor, Alexis Francisco Carter, told jurors that a person can claim self-defense if they have a reasonable fear of death or great bodily harm. In their jury instructions, jurors were told self-defense is justified in using deadly force if Zimmerman reasonably believed that such force was necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself.

___

DID ZIMMERMAN ACT WITH ILL WILL, HATRED, SPITE OR EVIL INTENT?

To get a second-degree murder conviction, prosecutors must show that Zimmerman acted with ill will, hatred, spite or evil intent. Prosecutors argued that profanities Zimmerman uttered under his breath while he watched Martin walk through his neighborhood were evidence of ill will and hatred. But when asked by prosecutors and defense attorneys, no witness said Zimmerman acted with these traits. The judge presiding over the case also is letting jurors consider the lesser charge of manslaughter. To get a manslaughter conviction, prosecutors must show only that Zimmerman killed without lawful justification.

___

Follow Mike Schneider on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MikeSchneiderAP

  • Central Alabama NewsMore>>

  • Fridays to Go, August 1 - 3

    Fridays to Go, August 1 - 3

    Friday, August 1 2014 7:55 AM EDT2014-08-01 11:55:25 GMT
    Some of the area events for August 1 thru 3More >>
    Some of the area events for August 1 thru 3
    More >>
  • Lethal injections on hold in Alabama

    Lethal injections on hold in Alabama

    Thursday, July 31 2014 9:19 PM EDT2014-08-01 01:19:47 GMT
    16 Alabama death row inmates have exhausted their appeals and are waiting to be executed. But, lethal injections will not be performed in the state at least until next spring. Republican state Senator Cam Ward says that will be the earliest lawmakers will be able to pass new legislation that will allow Alabama to get the drugs used for executions.Ward says that pharmaceutical companies are refusing to sell Alabama more drugs until they can get some type of protection or immunity. It's because...More >>
    16 Alabama death row inmates have exhausted their appeals and are waiting to be executed. But, lethal injections will not be performed in the state at least until next spring. Republican state Senator Cam Ward says that will be the earliest lawmakers will be able to pass new legislation that will allow Alabama to get the drugs used for executions.Ward says that pharmaceutical companies are refusing to sell Alabama more drugs until they can get some type of protection or immunity. It's because...More >>
  • Judge delays decision on abortion law

    Judge delays decision on abortion law

    Thursday, July 31 2014 1:54 PM EDT2014-07-31 17:54:07 GMT
    A federal judge is delaying his decision on an Alabama law that could close some abortion clinics. U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson told attorneys in June that he hoped to rule by the end of July. But Thompson notified attorneys Thursday that he needs extra time and will have a ruling by Monday. Thompson said he needs time to consider a federal appeals court ruling Tuesday that blocked a similar Mississippi law. Alabama's law requires doctors at abortion clinics to have approval to admit pa...More >>
    A federal judge is delaying his decision on an Alabama law that could close some abortion clinics. U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson told attorneys in June that he hoped to rule by the end of July. But Thompson notified attorneys Thursday that he needs extra time and will have a ruling by Monday. Thompson said he needs time to consider a federal appeals court ruling Tuesday that blocked a similar Mississippi law. Alabama's law requires doctors at abortion clinics to have approval to admit pa...More >>
Most Popular
Stories
Videos
loading...