Prosecutor Presents Closing Argument in George Zimmerman Trial

For two hours Thursday, jurors heard the prosecution summarize their case against George Zimmerman.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    For two hours Thursday, jurors heard the prosecution summarize their case against George Zimmerman. Assistant State Attorney Bernie de la Rionda delivered a fiery closing argument, emphasizing how he says Zimmerman was in the wrong when he shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman, who is charged with second-degree murder, has pleaded not guilty, and says he shot Martin in self-defense. Zimmerman's attorney Don West disagreed when prosecutors asked the judge to give jurors the option to convict Zimmerman on lesser charges if they did not believe he committed second-degree murder.

    For two hours Thursday, jurors heard the prosecution summarize their case against George Zimmerman.

    Assistant State Attorney Bernie de la Rionda delivered a fiery closing argument, emphasizing how he says Zimmerman was in the wrong when he shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

    “Why does this defendant get out of the car and he thinks that Trayvon Martin is a threat to him. Why, why? Because he’s got a gun. He's got the equalizer. He's gonna take care of it. He's a wannabe cop,” said de la Rionda.

    Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the February 2012 shooting of Martin, of Miami Gardens. He has pleaded not guilty.

    Zimmerman says he shot Martin in self-defense. De la Rionda told jurors that's just not true.

    “He had to exaggerate what happened. That's why he had to at some point had to say oh, he was threatening me, it was almost like the levels of fear escalated,” de la Rionda said.

    Before their closing argument, prosecutors asked the judge to give jurors the option to convict Zimmerman on lesser charges if they did not believe he committed second-degree murder.

    Zimmerman’s attorney Don West disagreed.

    “The state has charged him with second-degree murder. They should be required to prove it if they can, and if they can't prove it then that is the failing of the prosecution,” West said.

    And when prosecutors tried to include a charge of child abuse, based on Martin being a minor, 17 years old, West said: “Oh my god, just when I thought this case couldn’t get any more bizarre the state is seeking third-degree murder based on child abuse?”

    Circuit Judge Debra Nelson ultimately decided jurors can consider first-degree manslaughter, in addition to the second-degree murder charge.