Digital Report: George Zimmerman Opening Statements Begin

ABC News' Aaron Katersky discusses the first day of opening statements in George Zimmerman trial.
13:30 | 06/24/13

Coming up in the next {{countdown}} {{countdownlbl}}

Coming up next:



Skip to this video now

Now Playing:


Related Extras
Related Videos
Video Transcript
Transcript for Digital Report: George Zimmerman Opening Statements Begin
This is a special report from ABC news. Contact Hernandez in new York and this is an ABC news digital special report. It took some time -- opening statements are now underway the George -- murder trial. And have been completed the former neighborhood watch captain shot and killed unarmed black teen -- on Martin last February. Now it's up to the state to prove it was murder and not just self defense as a government argues. It is -- Marcy Gonzales is in Sanford Florida with the latest on this controversial case. Strong opening words from the prosecution. And pops. He's the rules they always get away. Those little worse and that won't -- and it's not. As he followed in the door a seventeen. Year old boy. And -- start to the murder trial against George Zimmerman charged with shooting and killing seventeen year old trade on -- In -- Sanford Florida neighborhood sixteen months ago the prosecution alleging the former neighborhood watch volunteers intentionally targeted -- Next up the defense claiming that Zimmerman acted in self defense maintaining that the 28 year old had the injuries to prove that -- attacked him. I think. The evidence will show. That this is a sad case. That there are no monsters. What -- the key pieces of evidence this 911 call in which someone is heard screaming for help in the background. -- So let me yeah. The judge making a pivotal ruling this weekend not to allow audio experts to testify about coolest voice they believe that is. The determination will be up to the jury of six women it will hear from as many as 200 witnesses in this trial including -- his family. Forced to leave the courtroom today. Any potential witnesses. That they're not to listen to. Any portion of the trial. Whether they be at home -- here at the courthouse. But Martin's family is -- -- to stay in the courtroom where they say they'll be each day. Government could face a maximum of life in prison if convicted. The trial is expected to last between two and four weeks Martha Gonzales ABC news at Sanford Florida. And now -- joined by ABC's Aaron could -- -- Aaron good afternoon to you. What we heard this very strong words -- Aaron. We've heard that strong language the prosecution -- straight out of the -- what was the jury's reaction. -- they did they were forced to pay rapt attention from the moment. That John got the prosecutors started using. The obscenities quoting directly from the phone call that George Zimmermann made to the non emergency line of the police department. That night February 262012. And from there on -- he said that those were the words that were in George Zimmermann is mind. When he. Confronted -- -- -- Martin again using the prosecution's version of events and initiated a confrontation that ultimately led. To Martin's shooting death -- and he said that this was not self defense. The -- on Martin was shot not because George Zimmerman had to do it but because prosecutors said -- he wanted to do it. Now by contrast when George -- defense attorney. Had his turn he tried to -- ever to play this sound now. To show you that contrast. I think the evidence will show. That this is a sad case. That there are no monsters. You. Sometimes. You have to laugh. To keep from crying. So let me. -- -- several risk let me let me say. Like to tell you little joke I know how that -- sounded weird in this context under these circumstances. But I think -- the perfect audience for it. As long as you. Don't if you don't like it we don't think it's funny and appropriate that you don't hold it against mr. Zimmerman you can hold it against me. Enough systems and I have your assurance. He won't. -- so goes. -- -- Who's there. George Zimmermann. George Zimmermann who. All right good. You're on the jury. Nothing. That's funny. After what you folks have been through the last two or three weeks. Let's get on to however this serious business -- why we're here. Let's take a look. -- we're all of this. Story. George Zimmermann is not guilty. That's murder. An interesting approach -- government's defense attorney there at trying to make a joke. Clearly recognizing that it was a chance he was taking because he gave this jury the preamble about the joke had an -- -- It didn't seem to go over terribly well as you could hear there was silence in the courtroom after he finished. Been telling this knock knock joke jurors apparently he's sure whether to laugh or not it is after all a second degree. Murder trial and then of of the followed the got a little bit of a chuckle but it did seem to make some of the jurors -- comfortable. Nonetheless they paid. The same rapt attention to Don west -- least at the outset of his opening statement. Which is still ongoing -- in between -- lunch break right now al-Qaeda and he's nearly two hours into an opening statement. That couldn't be more different in style and substance to what the prosecutor delivered John Guy being quick and sharp. His voice rising and falling in different cadences and tones and using that very explicit language. Don west -- showing charts and graphs and maps and going through why he believes the evidence will show Jordan Zimmerman did in fact -- save on Martin self defense and crucially. He showed a couple of pictures of George Simmons bloodied head. He said that Jordan Zimmerman tells quite a wallop that night. Interesting that the prosecution. Did not mention race in its opening statements shied away from that issue. And they were instructed not to date they were told by the judge they could suggest you say that -- -- on Martin. Was profiled back on February 26 when he twelve by toward Zimmerman but not profile based on race so they were prohibited from it. They in estimated that that perhaps he was profiled for the way he looked. But they did not get into the race to judge the prosecution trying to. Remove the very issue that made this case so crucial -- so pivotal in and to hear. -- on -- Stanley's attorney say making the civil rights case of the century. Now -- prosecution was described as aggressive at one point staring down George -- pointing at him. Is this a sign of things to come with this prosecutor. -- we've seen the prosecutors be lively and and seem somewhat bombastic at least and in contrast to how George -- attorneys are. Zimmerman didn't appear to flinch at all through the prosecution's opening statement he maintained a rather stone faced expression a couple of times he appeared to shift in his chair may be. Read a bit heavier than -- ordinarily would but impossible to discern. His full and true reaction to this opening statement by prosecutors that included his own words -- back to him. -- with a much perhaps more different intent and George Zimmermann. What would argue. The prosecutors effectively saying this is what was in his head. These. Honks and you heard that the explicit language these and they get away with -- and this is someone that prosecutors said had in his mind that. He didn't want to save on -- in his neighborhood and he acted on that feeling. -- you touched on George Zimmer miss demeanor in the courtroom what about -- on Martin's parents. There they are today there -- expected to stay for the jury duration how did they respond. To what we've seen so far opening -- Vote was clearly very difficult for Sabrina Fulton and Traci -- to hear the opening statement especially by the prosecutor when he described -- -- on Martin's final moments. In the indignities that his body suffered. At the end of this life and at that point you could see both father and mother dabbing their eyes would -- Tissues -- -- -- and at one point Sabrina Fulton had to leave the courtroom was one of the 911 calls was. Played but the family says they are committed to staying throughout they were here for all nine days of jury selection and they say they will be here in court for the entire length of it. 24 week trial who -- the Stanley said by memories of trade -- Martin's mile. -- prosecutors reiterated this is not an accidental shooting. As far as their case goes that this is murder what is the burden of -- for the prosecution because no one's disputing that Zimmerman -- -- No not at all but the prosecutors say its second degree murder. And that's a rather high bar in Florida requires a jury to believe that George -- acted with depraved mind and that's part of the reason why prosecutors started with the -- quoting from that phone call. Showing in their estimation what was in George -- mind. The night he encountered save on Martin for the first time. And it and the defense attorneys are are already suggesting. That there is beyond reasonable doubt that -- it's impossible to know for sure what was in George Simmons mind and they also say they have the the injuries to show that the jury to prove -- he was not the aggressor that night and they started to show that one picture of George -- With a with a fat -- but some abrasions on his head and as I say the defense saying. He took quite a -- and they hope that convinces the jury that this was not someone in -- out looking for a fight. But rather as someone who was confronted by the seventeen year old. Who refuse to run away refuse to go home even though he knew he was being followed. Aaron there -- some pretrial decisions by the judge that could have an impact. On the way this goes for this weekend the judge said there will be no expert witness allowed to help the jury determine. Police -- in the background of that 911 call was a trade Martin wasn't George Zimmermann. Is that evidence that compromise now. Well it's not necessarily compromised but -- the -- isn't going to have any assistance in helping them figure it out that the lawyers are obviously going to try and presented in a particular fashion. Was it George Zimmerman was a -- on Martin screaming for help that night. The jury is going to have to be its own expert and decide for itself and and that may go a long way toward convincing them who truly was the aggressor that very boring night of -- -- twelve. But did the judge ruled. That the evidence itself the witness testimony that those audio experts weren't exactly scientifically sound and their conclusions at -- were inconclusive. And so she said of those experts could not testify. Before the jury it's going to be up to those six women to decide for themselves. Who is heard screaming and and ultimately tie -- of it may not matter there may be other evidence presented that is more compelling but for now many legal analysts here in court. Say this is a blow to the prosecution because. Had they been able to show that it was in fact the seventeen year old screaming for help -- truly would have undercut George -- claim of self defense. I want is this case expected to last partners to the jury. Should -- two to four weeks and and were awaiting the answer to a crucial question for many here tonight -- will George -- take the stand on his own behalf. Not many legal experts here say it's crucial for the jury to hear from the horse's mouth. To hear George Zimmerman say. He shot -- -- on -- and self defense that he is not as his defense lawyers sent a monster but somebody who was just out looking for his neighborhood. And encountered an aggressive team but. The defense attorneys say this will be a game time decision and they have not yet fully decided whether George -- will test of Aaron we -- outside the courtroom DC any visible support for either Zimmerman or the Martin family out there. Has there been any. Not really did. They've been there there's been some over the course of the last couple of weeks and and each family has relatives there to support them but there's a separate area. Designated by fences for as a protest -- and is not a one person in there as as polarizing as this case was and -- is and it's heated. As exchanges became the -- in the initial outset has angriest people were. -- George Zimmerman was not arrested immediately. Not until six weeks later that there's no sign of that night here at court at least not yet but the judge seems to be preparing Ford once the verdict comes in. We're told judge Deborah Nelson's going to -- to hold onto it for a little while give police all around the state of Florida time to prepare. Right Eric -- -- outside the courtroom in Sanford Florida. Giving us the latest on the trial still an opening statements and thanks again. This has been an ABC news digital special report now back to our regularly scheduled programming. This has been a special report from me.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

{"id":19475787,"title":"Digital Report: George Zimmerman Opening Statements Begin","duration":"13:30","description":"ABC News' Aaron Katersky discusses the first day of opening statements in George Zimmerman trial.","url":"/US/video/george-zimmerman-trial-trayvon-martin-death-update-abc-19475787","section":"US","mediaType":"default"}