"Common sense" was the phrase prosecutor John Guy repeated in his hour rebuttal. "This isn't a complicated case, it's a common sense case," he said. "It's not a case about self-defense, it's a case about self-denial." And his own discussion of "reasonable doubt" included "common sense" too: "Reasonable doubt must be two things, it needs to be reasonable, common sense reasonable, and it needs to go to an element of the crime." In his closing arguments, O'Mara had noted that "common sense will work against my client."
After a lunch break, Judge Debra Nelson read the instructions to the jurors and, at 2:30 PM ET, they were sent to decide Zimmerman's fate. The instructions included the legal boundaries and definitions affecting the jurors' considerations, including those relating to justifiable homicide as well as the meaning of "reasonable doubt," not doubts that are speculative, or imaginary or forced. If the jury convicts the 29-year-old Zimmerman of second-degree murder, he would spend at least 25 years in prison without chance of parole and could get a life sentence. If convicted of manslaughter, he could be locked up for as long as 30 years.
Highlights from O'Mara for the defense:
• "Do not give anybody the benefit of any doubt except George Zimmerman." With a printed visual aid, O'Mara explained to the jurors that only one circumstance would allow them to return with a guilty verdict, that being if the prosecution proved to a certainty that Zimmerman had not legimately engaged in self-defense. Even if they think it was "less than likely" that he did so or "highly unlikely" that he did, it would still mean they had a reasonable doubt, so the law requires they acquit him, O'Mara said.
• "How many 'could have beens' have you heard from the state in the case?" O'Mara asked. The prosecution is supposed to use words like "definite," "beyond question," "no other explanation," not "maybe," "what if" or "you figure it out."
• The jury should not, O'Mara said, "connect the dots" or "extrapolate" anything that the prosecution itself did not put into evidence. There was no evidence presented, he said, that Zimmerman ran after Trayvon. "Don't let the state make you make assumptions."
• O'Mara played the computer-animated re-inactment Judge Benson would not allow into evidence during the trial but it was shown for "demonstrative purposes." It depicts Trayvon throwing the first punch at Zimmerman. "The animation, of course, is just that, it's somewhat made up," O'Mara said. "But it does give an idea, a perspective, that at least is consistent with the evidence presented in the case."
More highlights from the defense's closing statement and prosecution's rebuttal can be found beneath the fold:
• Zimmerman's desire to be a cop, O'Mara said, is something the prosecution made a big deal out of, something bad, that had spurred him to act inappropriately. But O'Mara said Zimmerman had been on his way to Target when he saw Trayvon behaving suspiciously, in his view. Given that there had been a rash of break-ins and thefts in the neighborhood involving young black men, O'Mara said, the suspicion was not unreasonable. And Zimmerman's actions based on those suspicions were not improper, he added. Zimmerman called police, stayed on the line with them, urged the sending of an officer to meet him, O'Mara said, and it does not make sense that he told the cops to come if he had decided "I'm gonna go track him down and shoot him." When the dispatcher had said "We don't need you to do that" after Zimmerman had said he was following Trayvon, he stopped following, according to O'Mara.
• The prosecution's argument that Zimmerman was "seething with anger" and that he used profanity in describing Trayvon is not borne out by his actions, according to O'Mara. His saying "fucking punks" and "assholes" were reasonable in light of the crimes in the neighborhood, the prosecutor said, and showed no ill will or hatred. "[Trayvon] did match the description [of previous burglars], unfortunately." The fact that Zimmerman said the profanities on a call to law enforcement that he knew would be recorded is "evidence of non-guilt," O'Mara said.
• Trayvon ran away. But the distance from where he started running and his home is less than a football field, O'Mara said. And the timeline shows four minutes elapse between his starting to run and the altercation with Zimmerman. What was Trayvon doing during those four minutes? Planning, O'Mara said. "We know that when he had the opportunity to go home he did not." And: "Somebody did decide that it wasn't over with the running. [...] It had only just begun." Trayvon was the the "guy who decided to lie in wait" and then attack Zimmerman, O'Mara said. The prosecution, he told jurors, wants them to "ignore" those four minutes of planning. "Do you have a doubt as to what happened and what Trayvon Martin was doing, what he must have been thinking" in those four minutes?
• Zimmerman is only guilty of defending himself, O'Mara said. It was he, not Trayvon, who was the victim of ill will, spite and hate that night, the prosecutor argued. If Trayvon had been shot through the hip and survived, he asked jurors, what did they think he would have been charged with: aggravated battery? O'Mara showed the jury two life-size cardboard cut-outs showing that relative heights of the taller Trayvon and Zimmerman.
• O'Mara displayed a photo taken of Zimmerman the night of the shooting showing his bleeding, banged-up nose and the scratches on the back of his head. "This is undeniable. This is significant injury," and the prosecution's attempt to make light these injuries is "disgusting," O'Mara said. But he added that the legal significance of those injuries is zero since the law does not require that there be injuries to justify the use of deadly force. The statute is clear, he said, that all that is necessary is a reasonable fear of bodily harm. "You must judge him by the circumstances he was surrounded by when the force was used," O"Mara said, noting that danger "does not have to be actual." A knife could be rubber but deadly force justified because it was perceived to be steel.
• O'Mara told jurors they could make deliberations simple as soon as they reached the jury room: "Do you have a reasonable doubt that my client might have acted in self-defense? [...] If you reach that conclusion, then you get to stop."
Highlights from John Guy in the prosecution's rebuttal:
• Guy began with a metaphorical take. "The human heart … moves us, motivates us," he said. "Should we not look into the heart of the grown man and the heart of that child? What will that tell us about what really happened out there?" What was in the defendant's heart when he approached Trayvon and said "fucking punks" and "assholes," Guy asked. And: What was that defendant really feeling just moments before he pulled the trigger? "What was in Trayvon Martin's heart. Wasn't it fear?" Isn't being followed by a stranger every child's fear? Guy asked.
• Guy said, "There's an old saying, but it's a great one: 'As a man speaks, so is he.' [...] If ever there was a window into a man's soul, it was the words in that man's mouth on the phone call." Any doubt about what was in Zimmerman's heart that night was "completely removed by what he said afterwards, all the lies he told." Zimmerman, Guy said, didn't lie about little things but about "things that really, truly mattered." And repeatedly. "Why did he have to lie if he had done nothing wrong?"
• "Four minutes was not the amount of time Trayvon Martin had to run home, Guy said. "Four minutes was the time he had to live." And: "Trayvon Martin may not have had the blood of George Zimmerman on his hands. But George Zimmerman will forever have Trayvon Martin's blood on his hands. Forever."
• The Sanford Police Department has a manual for Neighorhood Watch volunteers, Guy said. And the rules are "see and call." Not follow, pursue and apprehend. But that was "not who [Zimmerman] was. not where he was in his heart that night." That, Guy said, is why he got out of his car. If he had wanted the police to come, he said, Zimmerman would have driven to the back gate and waited because that is where he had previously said thieves and those casing houses for burglaries always left the gated community in the past.
• Common sense that tells you that it's the person talking like the defendant who had hate in his heart, not the boy walking home talking on the phone, Guy said. "What is it when a grown man, frustrated, angry and with hatred in his heart, gets out of his car and follows a child and shoots him through the heart? What is that? Is that nothing?" And: "Did he have to shoot Trayvon Martin? No he did not."
• Guy challenged the idea that Zimmerman could have unholstered his gun from inside the waistband at the hip of his pants while Trayvon was straddling him because his waist was covered by the teenager's legs. The defense, he said, had argued that Zimmerman could have gotten the pistol out "somehow." Guy suggested the jurors climb atop each other: "You won't get the gun." He also said that Travyon couldn't have seen the gun, meaning that Zimmerman's claim that he had reached for it or grabbed it is false.
• The prosecutor reminded the jurors that Zimmerman claimed that Trayvon was at one point squeezing his nose, but there was no blood under Trayvon's fingernails when the medical examiner checked him out, meaning that Zimmerman was lying about it. Guy asked why Zimmerman had claimed to have spread Trayvon's arms out looking for a weapon. That, he argued, was because such a statement would increase support for the idea that Trayvon had been threatening, beating him. But his arms and hands were not spread out when the police arrived, Guy said, they were beneath him clutching his chest wound.
• Guy challenged Zimmerman's claims that Trayvon had slammed his head on the concrete repeatedly. If that were true he "wouldn't look like this." And: Was he injured? Yes. Was he injured seriously? Not even close."
• Doing the racial reversal that those who have followed the case from the beginning have also done, Guy asked how different things would be if Zimmerman had been in a hoodie that drizzly night, walking through the community, and Trayvon had followed and shot him. The prosecutor added: "This case isn't about race. It's about right or wrong."