George Zimmerman was the victim in the fateful confrontation between him and Trayvon Martin on a rainy night in Sanford, Fla., that ended with Martin dead, his lawyer argued in closing remarks Friday.
“There was some anger and hostility and ill will and spite maybe that night; it just had nothing to do with George Zimmerman,” said defense attorney Mark O’Mara as he wrapped up a more than three-hour defense of his client. “Well that’s not true. It had something to do with George Zimmerman. He was the victim of it.”
Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the February 2012 shooting of 17-year-old Martin who was unarmed. Zimmerman has said he was acting in self-defense. If the jury does not believe Zimmerman was guilty of second-degree murder, they could convict him of manslaughter or find him innocent of the charges.
The defense’s closing included a succession of colorful charts and dramatic visual aids to persuade the jury that his 29-year-old client acted in self-defense when he shot Martin during a confrontation in a gated community in Florida last year.
O’Mara insisted that the prosecution had failed to prove the charges against Zimmerman. Even if the jury had a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman acted in his own self defense, O’Mara said, they should acquit.
“You don’t have to write innocent at the bottom of the verdict form,” he said.
O’Mara also reminded the jury of testimony from defense witnesses that Zimmerman was a weak man who never learned how to fight despite a year of mixed-martial arts training. O’Mara argued that the evidence showed his client was most likely on the losing end of a brutal fistfight when he fired the fatal shot that killed Martin. Nor was Martin unarmed, O’Mara insisted, hauling a large cement block in front of the jury.
“That is cement. That is a sidewalk. That is not an unarmed teenager with nothing but Skittles trying to get home,” O’Mara said after dropping the slab to the floor and wiping the dust from his hands. “That was someone who used the availability of dangerous items, from his fist to the concrete, to cause great bodily injury.”
The defense presented evidence that showed Zimmerman received injuries to his face and the back of his head, which they said showed Martin was straddling and striking Zimmerman who then acted to save himself.
Gladys Zimmerman, George Zimmerman’s mother, held a rosary necklace as she watched O’Mara deliver his final arguments in her son’s defense.
Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin’s mother, walked out after O’Mara brought out cardboard silhouettes shaped like Martin and Zimmerman in order to contrast their height.
“Self-defense is a defense to everything,” O’Mara said.
“It’s an easy decision,” he later said.
The prosecution issued a short rebuttal after O’Mara’s remarks Friday. The judge then read instructions to the six-woman jury, which is set to begin deliberations on the charges against Zimmerman later today.
NBC News contributed reporting to this article.
Editor’s note: George Zimmerman has sued NBC Universal for defamation. The company strongly denies the allegation.