After two weeks of prosecution testimony in the case against George Zimmerman, the defense is now going to present its case.
At issue, whether Zimmerman, 29, was acting in self-defense when he shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26, 2012.
In the small courtroom in Florida’s Seminole County, the six jurors – all female – listened to 10 days of prosecution testimony from police, witnesses and family members of the slain teenager. Paying constant close attention, the jurors have taken copious notes during the most riveting testimony.
Martin’s parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, have sat through all the testimony, only leaving their front-row seats when their son’s autopsy photos are shown.
On Friday, the prosecution concluded its case with testimony from Martin’s mother and brother, both of whom testified that it was Trayvon’s voice calling for help on the 911 call.
But the defense sought to blunt the testimony by presenting Zimmerman’s mother, Gladys, as its first witness late Friday afternoon. Upon listening to the 911 call, Mrs. Zimmerman identified the screams as coming from her son.
Defense attorney Mark O’Mara told reporters that he’s “just getting started” in presenting his self-defense case. In court on Friday, he told the judge that “Trayvon Martin did, in fact, cause his own death.”
Lengthy Witness List
So what’s next in the case? The defense has filed a witness list with more than 200 names – including cops, forensic experts and character witnesses for Zimmerman.
“He has to plug the holes of the prosecution’s testimony,” says Florida legal analyst Richard Hornsby, who has followed the case since the beginning.
“There was no DNA on the gun,” says Hornsby. “They’ll have to explain that. They’ll have to explain how it’s impossible to identify a voice under duress. And they’ll have to address the fact that George Zimmerman had MMA training, but also explain Trayvon’s physical abilities.”
And the big question: Will George Zimmerman take the stand?
Although O’Mara says he’s “undecided,” most legal experts think it won’t happen.
“There’s a zero percent chance that Zimmerman will testify, unless he goes against his lawyers’ wishes,” says Hornsby. “His own words have come in through his police interviews, and an interview with Sean Hannity. He doesn’t need to testify.
“But if you look at his body language, he seems inconvenienced to be there, so I could see him thinking he should testify. But I wouldn’t advise it.”
Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder. He pleaded not guilty.
He faces life in prison if he’s convicted.