News Column

Zimmerman Declines to Testify in His Murder Trial

July 10, 2013
George Zimmerman

Neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman Wednesday declined to testify in his Sanford, Fla., trial for killing an unarmed black teenager.

The decision opened the way for the defense to rest in Zimmerman's trial on a second-degree murder charge in the Feb. 26, 2012, shooting death of Trayvon Martin, 17, who was walking to his father's home in a gated community when Zimmerman began following him and a confrontation ensued.

Asked by Circuit Judge Debra Nelson if he planned to testify, Zimmerman answered, "Not at this time."

Before resting, the defense called Zimmerman's father, who testified the voice on a 911 tape screaming for help was that of his son. Before that, Zimmerman neighbor Olivia Bertalan testified her home had been invaded by a pair of black males who ransacked it as she hid in a closet with her son, armed with a pair of rusty scissors, the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel reported.

The judge earlier refused to allow Zimmerman's lawyers to show a computer animation recreating the shooting. Text messages sent by Martin at the time of the shooting also cannot be entered as evidence, Nelson ruled.

In arguments that went until 10 p.m. Tuesday, the defense had contended the animation was created by established technology from evidence in the case. Nelson said Wednesday the animation, which depicts Zimmerman and Martin as cartoon characters -- Zimmerman as Popeye and Martin as bad-guy Bluto -- could be used as a demonstrative aid in closing arguments.

The case could go to the jury Thursday or Friday, the Sentinel said.

Zimmerman, 29, pleaded not guilty, saying he shot Martin in self-defense after Martin knocked him to the ground, punched him in the nose, straddled him on the ground and repeatedly slammed his head into the concrete pavement.

The prosecution maintains Zimmerman, a volunteer neighborhood watch coordinator, pursued Martin and instigated the confrontation that ended in Martin's death.

Source: Copyright UPI 2013

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