The George Zimmerman Trial
When the prosecution began its case with the expletives uttered by George Zimmerman during the 911 call it was a win for them. " f---ing punks, these a----les always get away" seemed to show discouragement and slight anger in Zimmerman's demeanor. The state contends that Zimmerman did not shoot Trayvon because he had to, he shot him because he wanted to. After a strong opening statement the prosecution has slipped a bit and we will discuss this later.
Defense attorney Don West began his statement with a knock-knock joke.
"George Zimmerman who?"
"Good you're on the jury"
This failed to garner a laugh even though West said he is sure it was the delivery. He regrouped after the bad joke to deliver a strong opening statement.
The first witness in this trial was the dispatcher who answered George Zimmerman's initial call to police, Sean Noffke. The prosecution emphasized the point that Zimmerman was told not to follow Martin yet he continued to follow him leading to the confrontation that ended Trayvon's life.
Defense attorney Mark O'mara countered by explaining that during the conversation the dispatcher had informed Zimmerman to "let me know if he does anything else". He asked Noffke if it was possible that someone could think he meant to keep an eye on the suspect. He answered yes it is possible that someone could take that to mean keep an eye on the suspect. Once Zimmerman informed the dispatcher that Martin was running, Noffke asked which direction he was running. O'mara then asked if he thought someone might actually go and look to see which way he was running. Noffke again answered yes. It was only then that Noffke asked Zimmerman if he was following him. Once Noffke informed Zimmerman that they did not need him to follow, Zimmerman agreed then asked to meet with police officers back at his truck first, then finally they agreed to meet by the mailboxes. This witness was a win for the defense it showed that Zimmerman could have interpreted the dispatcher's statements to mean keep an on him and let me know what he's doing and where he is going. The only way to physically keep an eye on someone who is moving away from you is to follow.
Several other state witnesses took the stand this week describing the sounds they heard prior to the shooting and anything they may have seen that night. None of the witnesses could determine who was who during the scuffle in the dark. Selma Mora one of the witnesses that claim Zimmerman was on top testified that the man on top spoke to her and the one on the bottom was not moving. She only went outside after she heard the "thump" which was later discovered to be the sound of the fatal gunshot. The defense claims that after the shot Zimmerman got up and spread Martin's hands which is what she may have saw. She agreed that was possible in another win for the defense.
The two most intriguing witnesses in this case have to be Rachel Jeantel and John Good. Jeantel was the last person to speak to Trayvon just moments before he died, and John Good was the closest eye witness to the fight before the fatal gunshot.
Did this witness help or hurt the prosecution? First of all she showed an extreme lack of respect for our justice system with her attitude and admitting that she lied in her statement to the Martin family attorney. This statement was later used to formerly charge Zimmerman with 2nd degree murder. She was inconsistent in her story repeatedly looking to Sabrina Fulton (Trayvon Martin's mother) in the audience. She also testified to the fact that Trayvon was the first person to use racially offensive language by calling Zimmerman a "creepy ass cracker". When asked by the defense Jeantel explained that calling white people "crackers" was not racist. Where in the history of the world calling a white person a "cracker" not racist? The prosecution contended that "it's just the way people in her neighborhood talk". What if the people in my white neighborhood just went around using the "n" word all day would that be ok because "it's just the way we talk"? She said she heard Trayvon "get hit" but attorney Don West accosted her by saying "but you don't know that now do you?", "you don't know that if at that moment Trayvon took his fist and drove into George Zimmerman's nose, now do you?". Jeantel answered that no she did not know. This witness was the star witness for the prosecution and she was a total trainwreck in terms of consistency and the fact she previously lied. When she admitted that she did not know for sure that if the sound she heard was Zimmerman hitting Trayvon or Trayvon attacking Zimmerman it was another huge win for the defense.
John Good is the only actual eyewitness that says he could positively identify which man was on top during the struggle before the gunshot. His house was the closest to the fight and he could see that someone in a black hoodie was on top of a man in a red shirt in a ground and pound style fight, with Trayvon straddled Zimmerman raining blows down upon him. He stated that the first time he saw them they were on the sidewalk in a prone position and they moved during the scuffle evebtually ending up a few feet off of the sidewalk where Trayvon was shot and killed. He was consistent in his story and only testified to what he could see and appeared to have no bias in his testimony. He was a powerful witness called by the prosecution that gave the defnse a huge win in this case far.
Zimmerman Trial Analysis
The trial to this point has failed to prove who was the aggressor in this altercation leading to Trayvon's death. We can all speculate on what happened or what we believe happened but not one of us can say beyond the shadow of a doubt this was not self defense based on the testimony so far in this trial. The one eyewitness that can positively identify which man was on top during the struggle was John Good and he says it was Trayvon Martin. Nothing in his demeanor or attitude hinted that he was being dishonest. He was a very credible witness who crushed the prosecution in court today.