(SANFORD, Fla.) — A jury will soon decide to either make George Zimmerman a convicted murderer or let him leave court a free man.
Mark O’Mara, the lead attorney on the Zimmerman team, will present his pitch to the all-female jury of six on Friday that the former neighborhood watch captain shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in self defense after he was brutally assaulted.
Using a motion-capture animation of Zimmerman’s version of events that night, and pictures of a bloodied and bruised Zimmerman, O’Mara is expected to say that Zimmerman shot the teenager in an effort to save himself.
The defense’s closing argument follows a fiery one by prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda, who told the Florida jury on Thursday that Zimmerman is a “liar” who should be convicted of second-degree murder or manslaughter.
“A teenager is dead and he is dead through no fault of his own. He is dead because another man made assumptions,” said de la Rionda.
De la Rionda told the jury that Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch captain, was an aspiring police officer who assumed incorrectly that Martin was a criminal.
“What was his crime?” de la Rionda asked the jury about Martin. “He bought Skittles?”
If convicted of the top charge, Zimmerman, 29, could face up to life in prison. The racially charged case began on Feb. 26, 2012, when Zimmerman called police to report what he said was a suspicious person in his neighborhood. He got out of his car to follow Martin, but claims he stopped when police asked him not to follow. However, Zimmerman wanted to get an address for police.
Zimmerman told police that Martin confronted him, knocked him down and banged his head on the sidewalk and then started to reach for Zimmerman’s gun. Zimmerman grabbed the gun and shot Martin once in self defense, he said.
The prosecutor attacked Zimmerman’s credibility and his version of the confrontation, repeatedly saying Zimmerman had lied, and scoffed at his claim of self-defense. He said that Zimmerman “profiled” Martin and concluded he was a criminal.
The parents of Martin and 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 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. If exonerated he will be immediately released.
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.
Jurors are expected to begin deliberating Friday afternoon. Click HERE to see a copy of the instructions the jury will receive.
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