SANFORD, Fla. (AP) — George Zimmerman was fed up with “punks” getting away with crime and shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin “because he wanted to,” not because he had to, prosecutors argued Monday, while the neighborhood watch volunteer’s attorney said the killing was self-defense against a young man who was slamming Zimmerman’s head against the pavement.

The prosecution began opening statements in the long-awaited murder trial with shocking language, repeating obscenities Zimmerman uttered while talking to a police dispatcher moments before the deadly confrontation.

The defense opened with a knock-knock joke about the difficulty of picking a jury for a case that stirred nationwide debate over racial profiling, vigilantism and Florida’s expansive laws on the use of deadly force.

“Knock. Knock,” said defense attorney Don West.

“Who is there?”

“George Zimmerman.”

“George Zimmerman who?”

“Ah, good. You’re on the jury.”

Zimmerman, 29, could get life in prison if convicted of second-degree murder for gunning down Martin on Feb. 26, 2012, as the unarmed black teenager, wearing a hoodie on a dark, rainy night, walked from a convenience store through the gated townhouse community where he was staying.

The case took on racial dimensions after Martin’s family claimed that Zimmerman had racially profiled Martin and that police were dragging their feet in bringing charges. Zimmerman, whose mother is Hispanic and whose father is white, has denied the confrontation had anything to do with race.

Prosecutor John Guy’s first words to the jury recounted what Zimmerman told a dispatcher in a call shortly after spotting Martin: “F—— punks. These a——-. They always get away.”

Zimmerman was profiling Martin as he followed him, Guy said. He said Zimmerman viewed the teen “as someone about to a commit a crime in his neighborhood.”

“And he acted on it. That’s why we’re here,” the prosecutor said.

Zimmerman didn’t have to shoot Martin, Guy said. “He shot him for the worst of all reasons: because he wanted to,” he said.

The prosecutor portrayed the watch captain as a vigilante, saying, “Zimmerman thought it was his right to rid his neighborhood of anyone who did not belong.”

West told jurors a different story: Martin sucker-punched Zimmerman and then pounded the neighborhood watch volunteer’s head against the concrete sidewalk, and that’s when Zimmerman opened fire.

Showing the jury photos of a bloodied and bruised Zimmerman, the defense attorney said, “He had just taken tremendous blows to his face, tremendous blows to his head.”

West said the story that Martin was unarmed is untrue: “Trayvon Martin armed himself with a concrete sidewalk and used it to smash George Zimmerman’s head.”

The prosecutor, however, disputed elements of Zimmerman’s story, including his claim that Martin put his hands over Zimmerman’s mouth and reached for the man’s gun. Guy said none of Zimmerman’s DNA was found on Martin’s body, and none of the teenager’s DNA was on the weapon or the holster.

But West said that doesn’t prove anything, arguing that crime-scene technicians didn’t properly protect Martin’s hands from contamination.

Two police dispatch phone calls that could be important evidence for both sides were played for the jury by the defense. Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, left the courtroom before the second recording.

The first was a call Zimmerman made to a nonemergency police dispatcher, who told him he didn’t need to be following Martin.

The second 911 call, from a witness, captures screams in the distant background from the struggle between Zimmerman and Martin. Martin’s parents said the screams are from their son, while Zimmerman’s father contends they are his son’s.

The judge ruled last weekend that audio experts for the prosecution won’t be able to testify that the screams belong to Martin, saying the methods used were unreliable.

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. But he described the knock-knock joke as less than stellar.

“If you’re defending your client for second-degree murder, you probably shouldn’t start your opening with a joke,” McClean said.

(Photo: AP)

11 thoughts on “Zimmerman Portrayed as Vigilante in Fla. Shooting; Attorney Does Knock-Knock Joke (VIDEO)

  1. JEFFREY on said:

    QUESTION WHY DIDN’T GZ STAY IN HIS AUTO UNTIL THE POLICE CAME? WHY DID HE NOT TAKE THE ODER OF THE DISPATCH NOT TO FOLLOW THE PERSON-TM- AND WAS SAID THAT HE WOULD WAIT AT THE MAIL PLACE LOCATED NEAR THE FRONT OF THE COMPLEX’S. IF GZ WAS ON THE BOTTOM THEN WHY WASN’T HIS SHIRT FRONT FILLED WITH TM’S BLOOD?

    • JanCorey on said:

      Thank God Mr. Zimmerman got out of his truck to protect the housing community from that thug who was high on illegal drugs trespassing the complex. Wonder why he only shot him once, I know I would have emptied the full clip into that gangsta.

  2. the prosecution also pointed out that trayvon’s dna was not on zimmerman’s gun holster, which he claimed trayvon attempted to grab or on zimmerman’s face. i believe this creep slammed his head on the side walk,after killing trayvon, to provide the lying alibi that he was attacked and shot in self- defense.

    • JanCorey on said:

      SB, you feeling alright? Facts in this case appear to confuse you as the testimony is that dope-head-Trayvon attempted to get to his holster, not that he did. Get ready for the soon-to-be-acquittal. Try, instead SB, to just use the facts of the case instead of your speculations.

      • Little nasty pink face pig has nothing to do so he go hang out on the black site because his own don’t acknowledge trailer trash meth addicts. Well we will welcome your punk b(itc)h as right on in. But you must know that if you’re gonna play you need better material because that sh(it) you’re typing now is old, tired and lame. I know a young racist coward like yourself can do much better. Janie I do agree with you we should have a shoot a hoodie day. I’m sure the boys in the hood would love to see your cunt face in the place!

  3. julia2 on said:

    If you think Steve`s story is flabbergasting,, last pay-cheque my cousins boyfriend basically also recieved a check for $6732 workin a ninteen hour week at home and they’re co-worker’s step-aunt`s neighbour did this for nine months and actually earned over $6732 in there spare time On there computer. applie the information on this link…… http://tiny.cc/ydi7yw

  4. JanCorey on said:

    Who knows? Maybe this trial will lead to a National-Shoot-A-Hoodie-Day where there will be no prosecution to any shooter of a hoodie if the shooter can prove they had any fear of the hood-ster. That would be fantastic and the result will make more bed-space for other criminals like Trayvon Martin and Travis Alexander, you know, those types of criminals. Fortunately, both Trayvon and Travis have both received Justice for their crimes. Now, it’s time to go after the parents of those drug-heads and pedophiles. Make good use of the available jail/prison space.

    • Torey on said:

      You really must be the stupidest person in the world!!! Your comments are only to make people upset!! I won’t degrade myself to your Level!! Justice will prevail and if it doesn’t Gods justice will be far worse!!! Goodnight!!

      • JanCorey on said:

        No, Torey, not the stupidest person in the world as you claim. My level is something you clearly will never achieve in ten-life-times-imo, according to your latest rant. Facts should not continue to scare you, and you can overcome your dilemma if you were to only do some basic research. I agree with you that Justice will prevail in this case as Mr. Zimmerman gets a full acquittal and sues that county into bankruptcy.

      • Torey on said:

        It seems to me you’re the one who’s ranting!! I will not go back and forth with you if I wanted to argue with a child I would wake my 12 year old up goodnight!!! I won’t respond again!!!

      • JanCorey on said:

        I agree with you Torey, you are the one who’s ranting. No charge for the lesson. Why you desire to torment children makes no sense, you sound as intelligent as Trayvon Martin or Travis Alexander, the pot-head and pedophile. Thank God they are both dead. True-justice has prevailed.

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