SANFORD, Fla. – “7:11:47, keep that number in mind,” George Zimmerman attorney Mark O’Mara told the jury during his closing arguments Friday morning in Zimmerman’s second-degree murder trial.
O’Mara took off his watch, asked the jury to sit still, and sat quietly for four minutes at his bench with co-counsel Don West and Zimmerman in the courtroom here in Sanford.
“He had four minutes,” O’Mara said of Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old shot and killed by Zimmerman in February 2012.
O’Mara wanted to show the six-person, all-female jury that Martin had four minutes to make it home after Zimmerman told non-emergency dispatch that Martin began running.
State prosecutors have tried to show that Zimmerman hunted and stalked Martin, evincing a depraved mind with ill-will and hatred shown by the expletives “fucking punks” and “assholes” which Zimmerman used while observing Martin that night.
The jury will also be allowed to consider a manslaughter charge against Zimmerman.
“Somebody did decide it wasn’t over with the running,” said O’Mara of Martin. The defense’s theory is that Martin doubled back to confront Zimmerman, punching him in the nose and bashing his head on a concrete sidewalk, and that Zimmerman had “no choice” but to pull his gun and shoot Martin.
Police records show that Zimmerman told non-emergency dispatch “oh shit, he’s running” at 7:11:40. Rachel Jeantel, the friend of Martin’s who was the last one to speak to him, testified that she could hear an altercation between Martin and Zimmerman shortly before the phone cut off at 7:15:43.
Martin’s decision to run — but not go home — was evidence that he was not afraid of Zimmerman, O’Mara argued, noting that Jeantel had testified that Martin called Zimmerman a “creepy ass cracker” who was following him.
“Really?” O’Mara exclaimed several times during the presentation. “Is there any piece of evidence in this case to support the contention that George Zimmerman ran…after Trayvon Martin?”
O’Mara began his final push Friday by explaining to the jury the elements of reasonable doubt. “You don’t know how to apply a standard of reasonable doubt, you just don’t,” he said.
O’Mara cited Founding Fathers John Adams and Thomas Jefferson at the beginning of his statement saying, “You are living the Constitution.”
O’Mara focused on Jeantel, the state’s key witness in their case. “She didn’t want to be involved in the case,” said O’Mara. He questioned her ability to remember the conversation she had with Martin leading up to the altercation with Zimmerman. “I can give you the idea,” O’Mara said of remembering a phone conversation, “ no way do you have the recall.”
Besides the timeline of the non-emergency call, O’Mara reviewed other witnesses who could either provide no evidence that Zimmerman was the aggressor or supported the contention that Zimmerman was likely underneath Zimmerman screaming for help before the shooting.
Nine witnesses testified on behalf of the defense that they thought Zimmerman was screaming in the background of a 911 phone call that also captured the fatal gunshot. Three witnesses testified that Martin was screaming, though O’Mara pointed out that Martin’s father and half-brother had indicated at one point that they weren’t sure who was screaming.
World-renowned forensics expert Vincent di Maio testified, O’Mara reminded the jury, that the pattern of the bullet holes in Martin’s clothes and his chest suggested that Martin was leaning over Zimmerman at the time of the shooting.
“You got two dots and they’re this far away,” the tall and lanky O’Mara said of the state’s case against Zimmerman, with his wingspan expanded. “Just draw me a line.”
Jurors may begin deliberating as early as Friday afternoon. The trial began with jury selection on June 10.
If Zimmerman is convicted of second-degree murder, he faces a minimum of 25 years in prison. If convicted of manslaughter, his maximum sentence will be 30 years.
“Let him go back and get back to his life,” O’Mara asked the jury.