SANFORD, Fla. — George Zimmerman's defense attorney began his final arguments Friday, telling jurors he will show them the neighborhood watch volunteer's "pure, unadulterated innocence" of second-degree murder when he fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
Attorney Mark O'Mara told jurors the burden was on prosecutors, and he said they hadn't proven Zimmerman's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. O'Mara said prosecutors built a case on a series hypothetical "could've beens" and "maybes."
"If it hasn't been proven, it's just not 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 Friday. Because there were no eyewitnesses, the panel of six women will likely rely heavily on testimony — which was often conflicting — from police, neighbors, friends and family members. They will have to decide if they can determine who was yelling for help on a 911 call that recorded the shooting, and whether Zimmerman was a wannabe cop who took the law into his own hands or someone who was in a fight for his life, with his head being repeatedly slammed into the ground.
Zimmerman, 29, is charged with second-degree murder in the February 2012 shooting, but the jury will also be allowed to consider manslaughter. Under Florida's laws involving gun crimes, manslaughter could end up carrying a penalty as heavy as the one for second-degree murder: life in prison.
O'Mara dismissed the prosecution's contention that Zimmerman was a "crazy guy" patrolling his townhome complex and "looking for people to harass" when he saw Martin, an unarmed black teenager. O'Mara also disputed prosecutors claim that Zimmerman snapped when he saw Martin because there had been a rash of break-ins in the neighborhood, mostly by young black men.