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George Zimmerman in court, June 24, 2013
Nearly 16 months after George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin, the prosecution and defense in his second-degree murder trial made their opening statements to the six-member, all-female jury Monday. There were no surprises in the Seminole County, Florida, courtroom. Several television stations in central Florida carried the trial with live feeds. So, by the time the trial is over, presumably some time next month, the faces of these attorneys are going to be forever engraved in the minds of viewers.

Assistant State Attorney John Guy said in a 33-minute statement that evidence would show that Zimmerman had spun "a tangled web of lies" about the shooting that left the unarmed Martin dead on the grounds of a modest, gated apartment complex where he was staying for a few days with his father and father's girlfriend:

As the trial opened in earnest after two weeks of jury selection and evidentiary rulings, the prosecutor opened by bluntly quoting from Zimmerman's call to a police dispatcher after first spotting Martin.

"Fucking punks. These assholes, they always get away," Guy repeated. Guy told the jury those were the "hate-filled words he used to describe a total stranger."

In the defense's opening statement Zimmerman's lawyer, Don West, sought to paint a different picture saying Zimmerman was "viciously attacked" by the teen.

Guy said Zimmerman, a wannabe cop, slew Martin in a vigilante-style killing after profiling him. The judge had earlier forbidden the prosecution from using the term "racial profiling." Zimmerman "did not shoot Trayvon Martin because he had to. He shot him for the worst of all reasons, because he wanted too."

The prosecutor said the "irrefutable physical evidence" would prove that the neighborhood watch volunteer had lied to the police by saying Martin attacked him because none of Zimmerman's blood or DNA was found on Martin's hands or his clothing. Zimmerman told the police that Martin had knocked him down, broken his nose, and covered his face with his bare hands while he slammed Zimmerman's head into a concrete sidewalk.

Guy said Zimmerman's injuries were minor. Please continue below the fold to see what the defense said.

Randy McClean, a criminal defense attorney in Florida with no connection to the case, called the prosecution's opening statement "brilliant" in that it described Zimmerman's state of mind.

Don West, George Zimmerman's attorney
Don West shows the jury photos of his client
 taken the night of the shooting.
But he thought defense attorney Don West screwed up by starting out with a knock-knock joke that made fun of jurors by implying some of them got onto the jury because they didn't know who Zimmerman was.

West spent two-and-a-half hours telling a very different version of events than did Guy, calling Zimmerman's shooting of Martin "self-defense":

Mr. West presented Mr. Zimmerman’s taped conversations with the police dispatcher to provide context for his crude words about the unfamiliar teenager. The neighborhood had experienced burglaries, even a home invasion and attempted rape, and Mr. Martin was walking in an area not often used by residents, Mr. West said. [...]

Although most residents heard only cries, Mr. West said that one witness, John Good, stepped outside and saw someone in black straddling and beating someone in red. The man in red was asking for help, Mr. West said. Mr. Zimmerman was wearing a red jacket that evening. [...]

After a lunch break, and before he continued his chronology, Mr. West told the jury that he was relying on facts and not passion—as Mr. Guy had done—in laying out the case.

“I don’t want that to get in the way, even if it means it’s boring or somewhat technical,” he said. “I want to put the information before you that you can consider.”

West also claimed that the lack of DNA on Martin didn't prove anything because the technicians on the crime scene didn't effectively protect the dead teen's hands from contamination.

The parents of both Zimmerman and Martin were in court when the judge gaveled the trial to order. But Zimmerman's parents were instructed to leave before the jury appeared after the prosecution said it might call on them to testify.

The sequestered jury has been told to expect the trial to last two to four weeks.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 03:04 PM PDT.

Also republished by Trial Watch and Daily Kos.

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