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Jury in George Zimmerman trial dismissed for the day

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Updated: 7/11/2013 7:40 pm
SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- Prosecutors have ended closing arguments in George Zimmerman's second-degree murder trial.  The defense will start Friday morning.  The jury has been dismissed for the day.

Prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda on Thursday started summing up the state's case that Zimmerman committed murder when he fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin during a fatal fight last year.

Prosecutors allege Zimmerman was profiling Martin as he followed the Miami teen through the central Florida gated community where Zimmerman lived and Martin was visiting.

Prosecutors say Zimmerman confronted Martin and during a fight fired his gun.

Zimmerman is pleading not guilty to second-degree murder, claiming he shot Martin in self-defense.

A judge earlier in the day ruled jurors may also consider manslaughter as a lesser offense during deliberations.

SANFORD, Fla. -- George Zimmerman's attorney strongly objected to a prosecution proposal that third-degree murder be included in the jury instructions.

Defense attorney Don West on Thursday called the proposal "outrageous," given that it is premised on the idea that Zimmerman committed child abuse since 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was underage when he was fatally shot.

[Special coverage: George Zimmerman trial]

Judge Debra Nelson says she will rule on the proposal later. The judge, however, agreed with the prosecution that jurors could consider manslaughter as a lesser charge.

West said he wanted the six jurors to only consider the second-degree murder charge or not guilty, but the jury will now have three options, second-degree murder, manslaughter, or an acquittal.
Zimmerman is pleading not guilty to second-degree murder. He claims he shot Martin in self-defense last year.

Zimmerman's defense attorneys rested Wednesday after calling 18 witnesses over four days.

Defense attorney Mark O'Mara told CNN there's "overwhelming evidence" that Zimmerman acted in self-defense when he fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, but he worries about jurors returning "a compromise verdict." Some legal analysts have suggested the jury could convict him of the lesser offense of manslaughter.
WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer is leaning toward a not guilty verdict -- his opinion.

Late Wednesday, the defense team rested its case, bringing Zimmerman a step closer to knowing his fate.

"And what is your decision?" Judge Debra Nelson asked Zimmerman.

"After consulting with counsel, not to testify, your honor," Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman opted to stay away from the stand.

Before his decision -- an exchange erupted between attorney Don West and Judge Debra Nelson.

"I object to the court inquiring to Mr. Zimmerman as to his decision about whether or not to testify," Don West said.

"Your objection is overruled," Nelson said.

Police and city leaders in Florida say they've taken precautionary steps for possible protests or civil unrest if George Zimmerman is acquitted.

For months, officials have been working with pastors, youth coaches and community activists to stress a non-violent approach once a verdict is announced. But police also have quietly been making plans to deal with potential violence.

In South Florida where the 17-year-old Martin was from, police may set up "First Amendment Zones" in the Miami area for peaceful rallies. Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel also is airing TV ads stressing non-violence.

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nativejax - 7/12/2013 4:17 PM
1 Vote
Can't have it both way's as 'irresponsible' people want us to. He's he was an NEGLECTED 17 YEAR OLD CHILD THAT NEEDED CLOSE GUIDANCE because he was messing up. OR a 17 year old thug already on his own that his parents kicked to the curb and gave up on. MOMMY here knew this, she got her $millions$, now she is waiting for her NEXT $millions$ if he's convicted. THUGS KNOW HOW TO PLAY THE SYSTEM BY PLAYING ON NAIVE PEOPLE., they were not there for him when he was alive but they are here now for them for the money and hatred he can bring dead. SAD BUT TRUE

nativejax - 7/12/2013 3:53 PM
1 Vote
You are absolutely right tlynn and that makes the PARENTS completely responsible for their child that was ALREADY messing up his life. MY sons skittles and coke or whatever would be right here in the fridge at age 17 and he was already 'acted up' and getting in trouble. Or it would be MY fault for allowing his hothead to get into WHATEVER outside my door.

tlynn - 7/12/2013 12:34 PM
0 Votes
Thug or not…At the age of 17 you are still considered a child.

Mimi47 - 7/12/2013 12:26 PM
1 Vote
The state keeps calling Martin a ''child' for sympathy!!! A 17 yr old thug is NOT a child!!! He could have kept on walking, instead turning around and confronting GZ!

doug1 - 7/11/2013 8:05 PM
2 Votes
NOT GUILTY. but, the martins don't care they got their swag. doug1.

Gunny48 - 7/11/2013 5:19 PM
3 Votes
Might as well let the jury consider charges against Zimmerman for anything else that occurred that day within 50 miles of Sanford - why waste a good lynching?

bill o rights - 7/11/2013 4:56 PM
4 Votes
1) Local politicians brought the case to the DOJ's attention, a few days later the national media blew the story wide open with the same bullet points 2) The former Sanford police chief indicates that outside pressure caused the probe to be taken away from him and he was fired, after he indicated he couldn't charge Zimmerman based upon a clear lack of evidence. 3) The DOJ used taxpayer dollars to send a representative down who, instead of investigating, helped organize an anti-Zimmerman demonstration. 4) The President inserts himself into the case by indicating that if he had had a son, his son would 'look like Trayvon'. 5) The State of Florida refused to allow a grand jury when the indictment was handed down. 6) The indictment withheld key evidence, such as witness claims that the screaming voice sounded like George Zimmerman, while including witness claims that the screaming voice sounded like Trayvon Martin. Gee, isn't it great to live in a country where you can have a fair trial?

nativejax - 7/11/2013 2:09 PM
2 Votes
That's right...WHY isn't big mouths Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson screaming about the total injustice of Black woman who just fired a warning shot and got 20 years...If EVER there was corruption in Corey's office it was this case. Why arn't they trying to help her? Is it because she a woman, and to try to get back at the white MAN she doesn't count?

Chip6323 - 7/11/2013 1:18 PM
4 Votes
If George Zimmerman is convicted of any charge, I can say that I finally lost all and complete trust in our judicial system. This was clearly self defense and not proved beyond a reasonable doubt otherwise. First the Anthony case which was a travesty, (she did it) then the case where a 20 year old woman fires a warning shot and gets 20 years, (she should be applauded) and now this? Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and Angela Corey… SHAME ON YOU!

nativejax - 7/5/2013 8:24 PM
2 Votes
She claims her child is an 'Angel'? He may be now, but NOT while he was living and thugging with his dope and gang signs.
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