With the murder trial of George Zimmerman possibly headed to the jury this week or next, the consensus among media legal experts seems to suggest there is a strong possibility the Hispanic community watch captain will be acquitted.
Zimmerman is on trial for Second Degree murder after shooting Trayvon Martin after Martin allegedly attacked and assaulted Zimmerman by beating his head against a concrete sidewalk in February, 2012. In the days following the shooting local authorities declined to press charges against Zimmerman, apparently believing his claim of self-defense.
However, following political pressure by black activists such as Rev. Al Sharpton and the New Black Panthers who placed a bounty on Zimmerman’s head, prosecutors decided to charge Zimmerman with second degree murder.
The mainstream media followed a narrative that Zimmerman was the aggressor and that Martin was a young child who was brutally gunned down for simply buying a package of Skittles. In media stories viewers were presented with a picture of a small smiling faced kid that was several years old. MSNBC even went so far as to doctor a 911 tape making it appear as if Zimmerman was stalking Martin because he was black. However, it was later revealed that Zimmerman’s statement that Martin was black was in reference to a question asked by the dispatcher. A person listening to the media version of the event would easily conclude that Zimmerman was a thug.
However, as the prosecution began to present its case a far different picture emerged. Indeed, the prosecution’s witnesses seemed to help the defense team more than the prosecutors. Jonathon Good, a neighbor who witnessed the struggle plainly declared that Martin was on top of Zimmerman and pummeling him martial arts style.
The problem for prosecutors is they must essentially prove a negative, namely that Zimmerman did not fear his life was in danger and thus had no right to claim self-defense when he shot Martin. Under the law Zimmerman’s life does not have to have been in danger, rather the issue is whether he believed his life was in danger. Additionally, prosecutors must prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, therefore if there is any question about whether Zimmerman felt justified in shooting Martin because he believed his life was in jeopardy, the jury must acquit.
After the prosecution rested its case last week, many legal analysts have said prosecutors have not met their burden of proof. Their last witness was Martin’s mother who claimed the voice screaming for help on the 911 tape was Trayvon. However, the defense began its case by presenting six witnesses who swore the voice was Zimmerman’s. This conflicting testimony could sow enough reasonable doubt to result in an acquittal.
The unknown variable is whether the all-woman jury will follow the law or give in to the temptation to surrender to political pressure and return a conviction. Additionally, some have suggested if the jury returns with a not guilty verdict massive race riots could occur around the country. Regardless of the outcome, it seems obvious that the whole case is a tragedy for everyone. It remains to be seen if the tragedy is over or not.
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