Zimmerman Closing Arguments: Detailing What the Mob Ignores
-- O’Mara told the jury he could not have imagined anyone better able than John Donnelly to identify a voice under deadly danger: “a medic in Vietnam,” a man who ran to screaming voices, able to identify them even as they screamed.
-- Forensic and related evidence: throughout the day, two life-size gray fiberboard cutouts of Martin and Zimmerman had been leaning against the far wall of the courtroom, facing the jury. O’Mara stood them before the jury, and the difference was striking. Dressed as he was that night, Trayvon Martin was not only significantly taller than George Zimmerman, he appeared to be substantially larger and heavier as well. The cutouts were returned to the wall, a constant reminder.
-- O’Mara held up the photo of a shirtless Martin from November 2011. He said “autopsy photos are horrific. They’re meant to have negative impact.” He explained that corpses have no muscle tone, in contrast to the muscular, unsmiling Martin three months before his death. He asked the jury to remember that was how Martin looked in February of 2012.
-- Self-defense: O’Mara read the law to the jury, noting that “following someone is not unlawful under Florida law.”
-- What the state hasn’t proven: nearing the end of his closing argument, O’Mara focused on the state’s omissions. He excoriated them for failing to call Tracy Martin, noting that if the state was really seeking justice, why did he have to call Tracy and Officers Serino and Singleton to give the jury the testimony from Tracy, who initially said the screaming voice in the Lauer 911 recording may not be Trayvon?
Why didn’t the state tell the jury about all of the burglaries in the neighborhood?
Why didn’t they produce experts on the use of force?
Why didn’t they produce experts to counter Dr. Di Maio? O’Mara said: “They don’t have to, but it’s their case, their burden.”
Is there one piece of evidence that George Zimmerman landed one blow (there isn’t)?
O’Mara challenged Guy to produce evidence that Zimmerman did anything to cause the attack. He would not.
-- Then, O’Mara carried a large chunk of cement and put it on the floor in front of the jury, pointing out that it was sidewalk concrete, a weapon.
He said: “That is not an unarmed teenager with Skittles trying to get home.” He said the suggestion by the state that such concrete was not a weapon capable of causing great bodily harm “is disgusting.”
O’Mara said: “There was ill will and spite and hatred. The pictures of George Zimmerman [his injuries] are proof.”
O’Mara ended with a powerful point indeed, telling the jury that they must consider reasonable doubt and the evidence, and that if they find that George Zimmerman acted in self-defense, “we are done.” There is no need to consider anything else, because self-defense is an affirmative defense to both charges.
O’Mara’s closing was complete and focused not only on the evidence introduced during the trial, but also on the evidence the state did not introduce or tried to conceal from the jury. He also focused on the law and on asking the jury to decide the case by the law and the evidence.
Ultimately, he succeeded in not only proving reasonable doubt, but in proving Zimmerman’s innocence.
The prosecution rebuttal:
In this backwards trial, the prosecution made a classic defense rebuttal, asking the jury not only to disregard the evidence and the law, but to make its decision based entirely on emotion, and on a medieval conception of anatomy: that the heart is the seat of intellect and reason.
Rather than addressing any of the very damaging points O’Mara made in his closing statement, points that all but disintegrated every prosecution theory, rather than actually offering a rebuttal, prosecutor John Guy launched into a dissertation on the human heart, saying it makes us do things, and if we really want to know what happened, we must “look into the heart of that grown man and that child.”
From de la Rionda’s closing to Guy’s rebuttal that rebutted nothing, Trayvon Martin was transformed from a “17-year-old man” to “a child.”
The jury learned in short order that Zimmerman had “f-ing punks” in his heart, but in Martin’s heart was fear. Then Guy waxed poetic: “As a man speaks, so is he.” He didn’t attribute it. He noted that Martin’s last words were: “What you following me for?”
In so doing, Guy essentially admitted that it was Martin that verbally accosted Zimmerman, thus beginning the confrontation.
He also ignored the testimony that Martin’s last words were actually “You’re going to die tonight mother***er,” and “You got it” or “You got me” after being shot.