Prosecutor Calls Zimmerman ‘Liar’ Who Should Be Convicted of Murder
(SANFORD, Fla.) -- George Zimmerman stared straight ahead for most of the afternoon as a prosecutor told the Florida jury that Zimmerman is a "liar" who should be convicted of second degree murder for shooting Trayvon Martin.
"A teenager is dead and he is dead through no fault of his own. He is dead because another man made assumptions," said prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda.
De la Rionda told the all-female jury that Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch captain, was an aspiring police officer who assumed incorrectly that Martin, 17, was a criminal.
"What was his crime?" de la Rionda asked the jury about Martin. "He bought Skittles?"
Zimmerman, 29, faces second degree murder and manslaughter charges. If convicted of the top charge he could face up to life in prison. The case began on Feb. 26, 2012 when Zimmerman called police to report what he said was a suspicious person in his neighborhood on a rainy night. He got out of his car to follow Martin, but claims he stopped when police asked him not to follow, but wanted to get an address for police.
Zimmerman told police that Martin confronted him, knocked him down, punched him in the face and banged his head on the sidewalk and then started to reach for Zimmerman's gun. Zimmerman grabbed the gun and shot Martin in self defense, he said.
The prosecutor attacked Zimmerman's credibility and his version of the confrontation, repeatedly saying Zimmerman had lied and scoffing at his claim of self-defense. He said that Zimmerman "profiled" Martin and concluded he was a criminal.
De la Rionda said Zimmerman "lied" when he told law enforcement that he got out of his car to find an address to give police. The prosecutor pointed out that a visible address was right in front of where Zimmerman would have parked his car.
De la Rionda also questioned Zimmerman's version of being able to quickly pull out his gun while allegedly pinned to the ground on his back. He noted that Zimmerman had told police his gun was behind his hip.
The prosecutor said Zimmerman also exaggerated his injuries.
"The defense is going to argue that this is self defense…but you can't take that in a vacuum," said de la Rionda. "It's not like this defendant was walking home and somebody just started beating him up."
Jurors looked away at times as the prosecutor showed autopsy photos of Martin. De la Rionda recounted the stories of several witnesses including Rachel Jeantel, a woman of Haitian descent whose testimony was laced with street slang and racial slurs for white people.
Jeantel, one of the prosecution's key witnesses, was on the phone with Martin up to the moments before he died and she told the court that Martin was scared by a man who was following him.
She told the court she heard Martin yell, "Get off" before the phone cut off.
"I had a dream that today a witness would be judged not on the color of her personality but the content of her testimony," said de la Rionda. "On the content of her testimony. Just because she's got a colorful personality…that doesn't mean that her story, her statements aren't accurate."
In a moment of theatrics de la Rionda skipped across the courtroom imitating Zimmerman's claim to Fox's Sean Hannity that Martin was not running -- as he told a police dispatcher -- but was skipping away. Zimmerman turned his head in disapproval.
The parents of Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman both watched as de la Rionda urged the jurors to convict Zimmerman.
Zimmerman is worried as his murder trial draws to a close, fearing that he could spend the rest of his life in prison if found guilty or in hiding if acquitted, his lawyer said. Zimmerman has spent the last few days huddling with family, ABC News has learned.
Lead defense attorney Mark O'Mara says Zimmerman is concerned that even if he is acquitted, he would spend the rest of his life locked in the confines of his security regimen – hiding from the public and concealing his identity.
If Zimmerman is found guilty he will immediately be remanded into custody and escorted into Seminole County Jail.
O'Mara says any conviction would be met with an appeal, and hinted he could decide to use a Stand Your Ground immunity hearing during an appeal. Zimmerman's defense team elected not to apply Zimmerman's right to a stand your ground hearing during the trial because the immunity hearing can only be invoked once.
If exonerated he will be immediately released; law enforcement sources have revealed they are preparing for civil unrest in the event the public lashes out after the verdict.
Jurors are expected to begin deliberating Friday afternoon.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio