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. bobcat (in a hat)©

    Good morning Pete and chrissy
    Well I see CNN was good enough to leave us the same storylines.
    Could you good people please tell me how there can be any witnesses in this trial ? It would seem to me that since Martin and Zimmerman were the only two people present, everything anyone has to say about it is purely speculative.
    Am I looking at this wrong ?

    June 25, 2013 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  2. BOMBO

    Pete, several things.

    You and several others keep saying it is illegal for Zimmerman to have been carrying the gun that night, however I have searched and found no indication that he is on trial for any gun offence. Please provide a specific source if you know otherwise. My understanding is that he had a valid carry permit.

    You keep talking about roasting him. Certainly you must be aware if you are following this case closely that the DA is NOT seeking the death penalty.

    Like all criminal trials, the prosecution MUST prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Defense does NOT need to prove innocence. They just need to convince the jury of reasonable doubt. Zimmerman is claiming self defense and has injuries and at least one credible eyewitness to support that claim. Prosecution needs to completely blow that claim out of the water and I honestly don't see how that's possible.

    June 25, 2013 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Ok. Maybe this will explain it to you, Bombo.
      Neighborhood Watch rules forbid carrying a handgun. The official organization, that is. Which there is some doubt that Z even belonged to, since he also broke the rule of patrolling alone.
      That being said, Florida law supersedes NW rules, so he was not charged with a gun offense. Get it? This will aall be brought yup in court, and we will see what we will see.

      June 25, 2013 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  3. BOMBO

    Oh, and there are NO racial slurs on that recording. Not even the prosecution is claiming that.

    June 25, 2013 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  4. banasy©

    As usual this site is blocking me. FO.

    June 25, 2013 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  5. chrissy

    @ BOMBO, the public will never know for certain if there were or werent racial slurs because the judge ruled that recording inadmissable!

    June 25, 2013 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • BOMBO

      The specific alleged racial slur was "F c00ns, these aholes always get away." The prosecuter in opening statements, quoting Zimmerman's call, said "F PUNKS, these aholes always get away." As I've said, the prosecution has not claimed any racial slur. The earlier misquote comes from media and Martin lawyers.

      June 25, 2013 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • BOMBO

      Response blocked. I'll try again. The specific misquote in popular media is from Zimmerman's call. Not only has it been admitted, the prosecuter quoted Zimmerman in his opening statement. He used the word "punks" not a racial slur.

      June 25, 2013 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. BOMBO

    There has been a lot of misinformation surrounding this case. I can't wait for people to get upset at the prosecuter for not challenging Zimmerman's injuries, based on that bogus surveillance video.

    June 25, 2013 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  7. chrissy

    Lol BOMBO, im thinking you would feel quite different if this was YOUR community and /or YOUR child! Zimmerman is a grown man who is SUPPOSED to know better! And one who has tried to portrayed himself as a rational responsible adult who is trying to make his community a safer place. His actions prove otherwise! And they WERE his actions and he and only he, is responsible for his actions!

    June 25, 2013 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  8. chrissy

    He was specifically told to NOT pursue that boy and he made a conscious decision to ignore those instructions! THAT makes him the one accountable!

    June 25, 2013 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pete

      @chrissy,good mornin to you and all.I'm in Florida and have heard,read all the ill remarks from commentors the supposid lawyers of CNN..I've been blocked by our gracious moderators here at CNN you know chrissy the ignorent ones even after posting intelligent responsible comments while other scribble chicken feed that's all...Zimmerman as you've said was told after calling in to dispatchers with racial slurs to stay put in his car,he didn't..Police didn't know Zimmerman stalked Trayvon from the gated community they both lived in to the store where Zimmerman watched Trayvon purchase his brothers tea,skittles and followed Trayvon back home without Trayvon knowing it...Zimmerman was armed which is against all community watch program guidelines because most communities can't afford the liability insurance involved with anyone holding a gun,guard or not...He went after Trayvon and obviously didn't identify himself upon catching up with Trayvon or this would've never happened..Zimmerman was only supposed to have a flashlight,mace and a police walkie talkie to be the eyes,ears of the community ,nothing more!!And Zimmerman if properly trained in using a firearm shouldn't have had to shoot Trayvon in his chest,why not shoot just to disable him...Too many negetive facts against Zimmerman no matter who comments here and women were put on this panel just because most don't know gun laws or anything else related to them but again they screwed up the process because women have that maternal instinct about them mother or not and this deal just might come back to bite Zimmerman in his backside if he doesn't watch out...Hopefully the NRA will stayout of this incident as they've infused over 100 gran to help Zimmerman with attorneys fees most here didn't know about for publizing for their group...Take care all and see if my facts don't come back to get Zimmerman that guilty ruling he dearly deserves for trying to be a community hero at a young kids expense!!

      June 26, 2013 at 8:58 am | Report abuse |
  9. chrissy

    Also @ BOMBO im relatively certain you are a wise man. And being a wise man you know the brain of a 17 year old boy is not a rational brain generally. And no way should people think he shouldve been smarter and more rational than this ADULT man who had chosen to be a protector of his community!

    June 25, 2013 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  10. BOMBO

    Popular media likes to inflame racial tension in cases like this. It's been going on for years. Here's an example. Bernard Goetz is in the process of shooting four black youths on a New York subway. He walks up to one who is already wounded and says "You don't look so bad, here's another one" before shooting him a second time. Shocking. But there's just one problem. Goetz NEVER SAID THAT. Not a single witness, not even the youths who were shot claim Goetz said that. All witnesses agree, Goetz said nothing during the shooting. But because of the popular media's constant repeating of the "quote" most people believe he said it.

    June 25, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  11. BOMBO

    So, the popular media now like to say Zimmerman used racial slurs on his 911 call. That's been debunked. The popular media will often suggest Zimmerman was not injured. That's been debunked. In fact, if you believe Zimmerman was not injured then you are calling several police, paramedics, and hospital staff liars. The popular media like to portray Martin as a shy skinny 12 year old kid. That's been debunked. He was almost an adult, much bigger and stronger than Zimmerman. Well, these myths will likely survive long after Zimmerman is found not guilty.

    June 25, 2013 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  12. chrissy

    Ok @ BOMBO. But if you scroll thru MY posts on this topic, i have not said ANYTHING about race. I've talked about the difference in rational behaviour between a 17 year old BOY and a GROWN MAN! And taking responsibility for ones OWN actions. Neither you nor i were there.

    June 25, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  13. BOMBO

    I'm not saying you did Chrissy. I'm saying the popular media has. I'm also not saying Zimmerman acted properly. There is a strong possibility he committed murder. But you can't convict based on strong possibility. There is ample evidence to support a self defense claim, reasonable doubt.

    June 25, 2013 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pete

      @Bombo,Zimmermans guilty on one fact,he was armed and shouldn't have been is that enough to prosecute I think so and why didn't Zimmerman identify himself or this would've never happened..Bombo ,own a gun I bet you don't because if you do like I do owning many you don't shoot to kill an intruder ,you disable him especially one that wasn't obviously armed...Too many things against him and yes it was racially charged because Zimmerman made that clear to police dispatchers he wasn't going to be taking anymore crap from these you know who's again and you can fill in the blanks ,I won't!!Bombo you and all here may or may not live in an area like some in Florida but either way you have to be responsible if you own a firearm and Zimmerman wasn't...So you tell me as I've stated was he innocent to carry a firearm as a volunteer and after stalking Trayvon was he innocent on tracking him down and confronting him obviously not identifying himself as well..Bombo you be the judge just too many wrongs against Zimmerman to make anything right ,just add them up and you'll agree he's guilty that's all,murder one,premeditated if you ask me in trying to be a community hero at Trayvons expense!!

      June 26, 2013 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
  14. banasy©

    Given the unpredictability that we have seen of FL in the past, who knows what the outcome will be?

    June 25, 2013 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
  15. chrissy

    Ok no problem @ BOMBO. I personally believe he committed murder. I do not believe for one second that Zimmerman was defending his self. In fact i believe any injuries he recieved were probably self inflickted. But again that is only my opinion, however it is shared by many. But even so given location, in all likelyhood he will get away with murder just as Casey Anthony did.

    June 25, 2013 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rascal Rabble

      hear! hear!

      June 25, 2013 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pete

      @chrissy,good evening to all here..(1)Zimmerman is guilty of stalking Trayvon from the community to the store watching him buy the tea,skittles and back to the gated community where this incident tool place..(2)He called the police and made racial comments to the dispatcher and was told by that dispatcher as you said chrissy to stay put and wait for police to arrive,he didn't...(3)He was armed with a gun,concealed or not its against volunteer community watch programs to carry and all he was to have was mace,flashlight and a police walkie talkie.That community didn't have liability insurance because its much too expensive for someone like him to carry a gun..(4)Did he try first to identify himself to Trayvon..(5)And if he was properly trained which he wasn't why at point blank range shoot Trayvon in his chest killing him,not in the leg,arm or foot disabiling him .Please explain how you just with my facts say he isn't guilty and why because you know if you're intelligent enough to assemble these facts you'd listen to authority and stay put and that would've been the end of it having Trayvon questioned by police that's all,no kid killed for just going to the store on a rainy night with his hoody on and a delushional nitwit trying to make a name for himself killing him basicly for no reason but to make himself out to be a community hero at Trayvons expense...

      June 25, 2013 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
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