The Ottumwa Courier

AP National

July 12, 2013

Defense begins closings in George Zimmerman trial

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) — George Zimmerman's defense attorney began his final arguments Friday, trying to convince six jurors that the neighborhood watch volunteer acted in self-defense when he fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

Attorney Mark O'Mara told jurors the burden was on prosecutors, and they hadn't proven Zimmerman's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. He said prosecutors built a case on a series hypothetical "could've beens" and "maybes."

"If it hasn't been proven, it's not just there," O'Mara said. "You can't fill in the gaps. You can't connect the dots. You're not allowed to."

The six jurors could begin deliberating later Friday.

A day earlier, prosecutors made said Zimmerman assumed Martin was a criminal who was up to no good when he confronted him in his neighborhood. A scuffle followed, and Zimmerman fired his gun.

"A teenager is dead. He is dead through no fault of his own," prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda told the jurors during closing arguments. "He is dead because a man made assumptions. ... Unfortunately because his assumptions were wrong, Trayvon Benjamin Martin no longer walks this Earth."

Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder, but the jury will also be allowed to consider manslaughter. Because of the way Florida law imposes sentences for crimes committed with a gun, the lesser charge could also carry a life sentence.

Judge Debra Nelson's ruling to allow consideration of the manslaughter charge came despite the objections of Zimmerman's lawyers. The jurors will have three options for their verdict: guilty of second-degree murder, guilty of manslaughter and not guilty.

Zimmerman attorney Don West had argued an all-or-nothing strategy, saying the only charge that should be put before the jury is second-degree murder.

"The state has charged him with second-degree murder. They should be required to prove it," West said. "If they had wanted to charge him with manslaughter ... they could do that."

Text Only
AP National
  • A year after background check defeat, modest goals WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic worries about this November's elections, a lack of Senate votes and House opposition are forcing congressional gun-control supporters to significantly winnow their 2014 agenda, a year after lawmakers scuttled President Ba

    April 16, 2014

  • Court to weigh challenge to ban on campaign lies WASHINGTON (AP) — Negative campaigning and mudslinging may be a fact of life in American politics, but can false accusations made in the heat of an election be punished as a crime? That debate makes its way to the Supreme Court next week as the justi

    April 16, 2014

  • College Board provides a glimpse of new SAT WASHINGTON (AP) — Anxious students — not to mention their parents — can get a heads-up for how the redesigned SAT might look in two years. Sample questions for the new version of the college-entrance test were released on Wednesday by the College Boa

    April 16, 2014

  • End of NYPD Muslim surveillance program applauded NEW YORK (AP) — Muslim groups and civil liberties advocates applauded the decision by New York Police Department officials to disband a controversial unit that tracked the daily lives of Muslims as part of efforts to detect terrorism threats, but the

    April 16, 2014

  • 10 Things to Know for Today Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today: 1. NEARLY 300 PEOPLE ARE MISSING AFTER KOREAN BOAT SINKS The accident involving a ferry that was headed to a tourist island killed three passenger

    April 16, 2014

  • Dress codes: Where should schools set limits? EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) — They're called leggings — popular fashion items that are tight-fitting pants to some, and glorified tights to others. Younger girls often wear them as pants with little fuss. But as those same girls approach middle school, leggi

    April 16, 2014

  • People with old Social Security debts get reprieve WASHINGTON (AP) — People with old Social Security debts are getting a reprieve — for now. The Social Security Administration had been participating in a program in which thousands of people were having their tax refunds seized to recoup overpayments

    April 15, 2014

  • Russia tests Obama's ability to stop its advances WASHINGTON (AP) — With the White House asserting that Russia is stoking instability in eastern Ukraine, President Barack Obama is once again faced with the complicated reality of following through on his tough warnings against overseas provocations.

    April 15, 2014

  • Tributes planned to mark Boston Marathon bombing BOSTON (AP) — The anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings started with a solemn wreath-laying ceremony Tuesday morning at the site of the twin explosions, the first tribute in a day dedicated to honoring the three people who died, the more than 2

    April 15, 2014

  • Police: Suspected killers wore GPS devices ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Two convicted sex offenders dutifully checked in with police every month and wore their GPS trackers around the clock — the rules of parole that are designed to tip off authorities if a freed felon backslides. Yet for at least

    April 15, 2014

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National