June 24th, 2013
01:45 AM ET

The Zimmerman trial: What you need to know

Opening statements begin Monday in the trial of George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain accused of fatally shooting 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012, in Sanford, Florida.

Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder. He says he shot the unarmed teen in self-defense.

A jury of six women will decide Zimmerman's fate, which has already drawn some scrutiny from the public about whether he will get a fair trial.

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Filed under: Crime • Justice • U.S.
soundoff (260 Responses)
  1. Pete

    Boy you moderators just love deleting me don't yah!!

    July 10, 2013 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  2. Pete


    July 10, 2013 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  3. phil warner

    It just occured to me that Zcould have pulled that gun right off the git go. Because he could not of gotten it after the murdered boy got on top.

    July 10, 2013 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Portland tony

    Everyone seems to forget......it's Florida's "Stand your ground" law that has allowed this case to be in court at all. I believe in the law, if it's your "ground" you are standing on. Self defense.laws shouldn't apply in this case!

    July 10, 2013 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • flamespeak

      Incorrect, SYG has nothing to do with this case. According to Zimmerman and all physical evidence, the assualt was already in progress and there was no avenue for escape, meaning that SYG laws don't even need to be considered and it is instead a regular self-defense claim. SYG would come into play if Zimmerman shot Martin before Martin even laid a hand on him.

      July 12, 2013 at 1:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Pete

      @flamespeak,you better read the law bud..SYG law is a form of self defense being loosely used in Florida statewide..If you threaten me and I feel that my lifes in danger I can use it yes after all avenues are used..But in Trayvons case he was only two doors down from his house and did Zimmerman identify himself,probibly not ...

      July 12, 2013 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Pete

      @flamespeak,being one who's organized community watch programs I know from prior experience that Zimmerman also is at fault for carrying a concealed weapon as a community watch volunteer ,not being insured liability wise by said community to carry one and that alone should carry some negetive weight in this case.All volunteers are to have are a flashlight,mace and a cell phone to contact police their superiors..All volunteers are only the eyes ,ears of this community and Zimmerman in getting involved crossed over many lines instead of simply sitting by as told and letting police do their jobs!!Self defense or not flamespeak Zimmerman should of never been there legally or not being a volunteer ..This is another problem that responsible gun owners have to put with in ignorents like Zimmerman who think they're cops and should know better because they're not!!

      July 12, 2013 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Portland tony

      @flamespeak: When stalking, for what ever reason, does self defense come into play?

      July 12, 2013 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pete

      @Portland tony,flamespeak or someone mentioned that there's no stalking laws in Florida which indeed there is..And remember Trayvon was a minor really only 16 so that should count as well in Trayvons death..Better hope Zimmerman goes to a prison that'll give him some protection because kid killers in prison don't last long just ask Jeffrey Dahmer who had his skull crushed not long after being put in prison,he most certainly deserves it ruining a life over a bag or skittles and ice tea...

      July 12, 2013 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • flamespeak

      @PT, in order for stalking to be considered it has to be habitual or occurring over a relatively long spanse of time. Following someone is not illegal and never has been. Following someone every day when they get off work for a month or so? That is stalking.


      SYG laws means that you DON'T have to use an avenue of escape. As long as you have a right to be where you are, you don't have to run from an aggressor at all, hence the phrase 'Stand Your Ground'. It is a more aggressive stance in regards to self-defense. Like I said earlier, if Zimmerman was on the ground with Martin on top of him, there was no avenue of escape and the assault was underway.

      July 13, 2013 at 1:42 am | Report abuse |
    • flamespeak


      You are also incorrect about Zimmerman not being allowed to carry a firearm. It is heavily advised not to do so, but it is not illegal or wrong to carry one if you are part of the Neighborhood watch.

      July 13, 2013 at 1:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Pete

      @flamespeak,on your comment yesterday it is against all watch laws to carry a concealed weapon and like I stated before ,maybe you missed it most communities can't afford the liability insurance involved with a volunteer having a gun while on watch,check it out...And now that Zimmermans been acquitted this goes to show how acquittals since this SYG law and selfdefense claims have rose over 300% since 2005 the first year of the laws inception...Zimmerman isn't out of the woods yet he won round one but Martins family might take him to civil court like Simpson and Zimmerman if he loses he'll be working for the Martin family till he dies just like Simpson,remember karma takes its time and most times isn't nice either...

      July 14, 2013 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
  5. BOMBO

    "We the TJI jury find the defendant guilty based purely on emotion and with complete disregard of the facts. So say us all."

    July 11, 2013 at 1:18 am | Report abuse |
    • George Patton

      Bombo, good post. Pete, bad post.

      July 12, 2013 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pete

      @George,don't care what you think,ignorent!!

      July 14, 2013 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  6. BOMBO

    Can someone please tell me what the persecution's case actually is? As near as I can tell, they haven't presented one. Their arguements have not matched impartial forensic evidence. They haven't even matched their own opening. An objective juror would be hard pressed to know what a guilty vote would actually be based on.

    July 11, 2013 at 1:22 am | Report abuse |
  7. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©™

    Now, even CNN reports Sanford police statements that the case was taken away from them. I think that Sharpton, Jackson, and Corey may reappear to cause a "directed" verdict that Zimmerman is guilty of something, attempting to avoid riots.

    July 11, 2013 at 5:47 am | Report abuse |
  8. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©™

    The jury probably won't dare to vote "not guilty." Special Prosecutor Angela Corey certainly doesn't anticipate a not-guilty verdict based on a mere absence of proof: a mother lost a child.

    July 11, 2013 at 6:51 am | Report abuse |
  9. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©™

    Yes, somebody who lives in south Florida, and who saw the fight and shooting, would be likely to know more about it that we do in New York, but then that person might not have seen the fight clearly. I trust the scientific evidence.

    July 11, 2013 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
  10. Portland tony

    If Zimmerman were a law enforcement officer and he identified himself as such, there would be no case and probably no shooting. Florida law gives any yahoo bully with a gun to instigate an argument and altercation wiith any law abiding citizen and then shoot the guy citing "stand your ground" when he starts losing the fight. Vigilante justice at its worst.

    July 11, 2013 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pete

      @Portland Tony,you're right especially if the guy that's shot can't argue against those lies because he's dead..That's Floridas SYG law put in place by money from the NRA,ALEC to Gov.Jeb Bush to sign and the latter has employees that are KKK,white supremisist in its corporation and if that ain't racist I just don't know what is !!!

      July 11, 2013 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • flamespeak

      Once again, this isn't a SYG law case. The defense isn't even using it, just the media is harping on it to try and make more of a big deal out of nothing. This is a regular self-defense claim as an assualt was in progress and there was no avenue of escape.

      July 12, 2013 at 1:54 am | Report abuse |
  11. Jamie

    Its understood that George was concerned for residents that he called authorities, THE BIG QUESTION IS IF TRAVON WAS SCARED WHY DID'NT HE CALL 911 ALSO?

    July 11, 2013 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Portland tony

    Well, it's all over except the verdict. But no matter, there will be outrage no matter what the outcome.
    But of one thing I'm sure. Everyone involved who can make a buck has a book in final draft with a publisher lined up.
    Additionally, Florida may want to examine their SYG laws which essentially gives you at least one legal killing.

    July 12, 2013 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Shelley

    Oh and another thing, I'm sick of the media showing pictures of a small 12 year old Trayvon! Post the ones of him giving the finger on both hands. That still doesn't give the right for someone to shoot you but the media needs to be straight up. If it were George Zimmerman in photos like like they would be all over the news! 2 months after Trayvon was killed there was the hammer beating of Slavin by two African American boys. It was an out right hate crime on a 50 year old white man. Why hasn't anyone taken that seriously and why hasn't the media blown that case out of the water? As a matter of fact look up all of the hate crimes that have been committed on white people all because of this Trayvon case and Zimmerman is Hispanic and White. Most of the hate crimes that have been committed, the attackers were screaming "This is for Trayvon! Trayvon lives on!, etc." what about all of those cases?

    July 13, 2013 at 3:54 am | Report abuse |
  14. BOMBO

    Everyone should also look up the ingredients for purple drank, keeping in mind TM had Skittles and Arizona watermelon punch (not tea) that night. He talks about making purple drank multiple times on facebook. Still an innocent little kid?

    July 13, 2013 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Portland tony

      @BOMBO Please put it aside. It's over. Picture yourself walking home from a bar in the rain after one too many and someone decides to follow you home because you are acting strange i.e.. walking (or weaving) in the rain. What would you do as an upstanding citizen?

      July 13, 2013 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Norma Susan

    The Jury found Zimmerman not guilty because Zimmerman was only guilty of poor judgement and trying to defend himself – unless you pick and choose what to believe. I am impressed that the Legal System in America stood its ground.

    July 13, 2013 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
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