Transcript for Digital Special Report: George Zimmerman Trial
This is a special report from ABC news. Good afternoon I'm Dan Butler New York with this ABC news digital special report on a George German trial in Sanford Florida. Right now the six person jury is deliberating the fate of George -- after closing arguments wrapped up today. And they were given lengthy instructions by judge Deborah Nelson who told them they can't consider manslaughter. As they make their decision though not to include sympathy. Nor anger ABC's Martha Gonzales outside the courthouse from Central Florida and joins us now with more are -- At -- after weeks of being banned from discussing this case that is exactly what the jury is doing right now. Six women working to determine -- government's fate. It is decision time the jury giving their instructions. You're burning should not be influenced by doing the president's buyers and the thing. And after fourteen days listening to attorneys and witnesses taking notes about evidence and testimony. They're finally deliberating over whether George Zimmermann is innocent or guilty. The defense presented their closing arguments this morning maintaining the 29 year old -- trade on -- in self defense using computer animation to demonstrate government's claim that Martin I tapped him. The system. To the news seeing the seventeen year old slammed in Farmington head onto the concrete leaving the former neighborhood watch volunteer with no actual but to -- But that's cement and that is not -- or blue tinted. With nothing but skills. Trying to get who. The prosecution firing back given one hour to rebut -- In try to convince the jury one last time that there -- being targeted -- and that he is guilty. The defendant. Didn't she trailer -- -- because he had to. -- -- -- -- -- That's -- -- six women are deciding if the state proved their case this is -- -- Today that it took -- -- were down. And now for the past hour and a half or so the jury has been discussing the case and their options that they can -- George -- They can convict him of manslaughter. Or they can convict him of second degree murder. Stand back to you. Tonight ABC's Martha Gonzales outside of the courthouse in Sanford Florida Martha thank you that -- want to bring in ABC's Nightline anchor Dan Abrams along with our legal expert as well. Here are New York studios Dan a lot of questions today the first one really who gave the stronger closing argument. -- -- I think purely on the closing arguments I think the prosecution. Gave a stronger closing argument from the defense. I think the prosecution as an uphill battle here legally. The -- that's that I think there was more passion more emotion I think they hit the exact right notes meaning for the prosecution the right notes are emotion. And George Zimmermann inconsistencies. In his statements. For the defense. It should have been the law -- regard to reasonable doubt. Certainly some of the facts as they laid them out. But you know I thought that there was a little bit of overconfidence. On the part of defense attorney -- -- almost seemed so sure. That he's going to win this case that he kept focusing on the fact that he believes Zimmerman is actually innocent. Which is fine to say and you know make a quick argument on it but a good amount of his closing argument was focused on this issue. Actual innocence which which makes the standard then for the defense far higher than it needs to be. With all they have to do is -- aides say you have to prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt. Two very different styles clearly in those closing statements and I wanted to ask you about the significant about this of the closing arguments and the rebuttal. Of all the witnesses that we've heard from forty by the prosecution nineteen by the defense how much of a lasting impression. Are those closing arguments. Put the closing arguments are are an effort to basically package what you've hurt. My guess is that most of the jurors had a strong opinion. Before the closing arguments one way or the other. It is possible that closing arguments can make some of them questioned that point of view or solidify it. But I don't think it's gonna make someone -- was thinking not guilty suddenly go to guilty or vice Versa. But as the final words before the judge's instruction that these jurors here before they go back and that jury room closing arguments. Are always viewed as extremely important in a case like this and let me ask you about this about the prosecution's strategy didn't they change up their game plan from yesterday's closing arguments to today's -- in the style. In the tone. Well you know not really mean there were two different people doing the first part of it in the second part of it you know there are some people saying the prosecution has shifted its strategy. To whether they were arguing that trade bond Martin was the one on top beating George -- or whether George Zimmermann. Because initially it seemed that the prosecution was arguing the trade bond Morton was yelling for help. It seems that they've kind of backed off that and are conceding that at some point. George Zimmerman was on the bottom during this fight of course he's got those injuries. And then there asking jurors to sort of speculate about what else could it happen. The defense saying you're not allowed to speculate you're not allowed to speculate so look if this jury decide this based on -- -- right and wrong. They'll be a manslaughter conviction I think if they decide -- based on the letter of the law. I think they'll -- be an -- second degree off the table I don't think second degree I mean you never know look I've been wrong in cases before and I will be wrong again. But I would be very surprised if there was a second degree murder conviction I want to talk a little bit about the instruction that the judge gave the jury because those six women listening to that set 27 page instruction. Included some of the restrictions of what they can do with the notes that they took throughout the trial why is that significant. Well because what they don't want them to do is use the notes instead of their memory right because some people take bad notes. And the last thing they want the jurors to do is start fighting with each other -- my notes say this -- -- notes say. -- what they want the notes to be just started to jog their memories about what happened in fact in some courtroom they don't let your first take notes. Because of that but now they do in most courtrooms. So I think the judge was just telling inserted be careful with -- regard to how you use your notes. You know -- you're not court reporters you're not synod refers. Just use them to -- to remember things to jog your memory its -- And a little bit about the makeup of the jury six women five of whom are mothers. In those closing arguments in that rebuttal who had the stronger connection with -- look you know I've never been one needed to believe that because -- six women that means they'll be more blank or something or other you know who knows what these six women. You know could be very very different kinds of women inside that jury room. But -- I think that that there's no question that the prosecution in particular was trying to appeal to them as as mothers because there are five mothers. On that jury and if there were fathers and accurately could -- be a similar type of appeal. But they were really trying to say this kid. Didn't deserve to die and he kept hearing the prosecutor referred to trade on -- as a child. And technically is a seventeen year old he's -- child. But I was sort of uncertain if I thought that that was a good strategy or not and LI -- set it on Twitter and a lot of people responded to me. Mothers saying look. My seventeen year old I still think of them as a child. So I think that that that may have been -- thing. Where the goal was to sort of speak to these mom's. Parents on the jury to say. This boy ABC young boy against child etc. didn't need to die. And that is that that is the strongest argument the prosecution had not really -- legal argument. It's an emotional argument that says that something has to be done here and we'll just see if the jurors. Except that. So it's a Friday afternoon the jury has just been charged with the case and I know this is the impossible question to answer but if you take -- all the factors that's gone into this case. What are we look at is potential timetable for -- -- -- this is the beauty of me is that I will speculate -- you know even know I should end up being which is why I ask you exactly -- can be absolutely wrong about a look. In an ordinary case I would tell you we see a lot of Friday verdicts right. You jurors want to get home -- -- these jurors have been sequestered now. Four. Couple weeks here so -- I think that that they know that they can deliberate tomorrow and Sunday if need be it's not like a typical case where they want to get away for the weekend. -- I think that the jurors are gonna say they want to continue deliberating tomorrow if there's no one who's hanging the jury. Meaning if they're basically in agreement. From the beginning and they're just going through the facts in confirming their views and AB someone's a little uncertain. But there's no wonder a few people who really dividing that jury I'd expect a verdict tomorrow afternoon. Dan I appreciate that someone finally gives them some relief to that question that we. I didn't qualify -- a lot like a lawyer right get a gift this then this and you know pats and listen we can all follow that train of yeah exactly what that Nightline anchor Dan Abrams give us some insight this afternoon thank you down a Baghdad. A complete report on abcnews.com. As the jury -- now been charged with a case of George Zimmermann. On abcnews.com. For now I'm Dan -- New York with this ABC news digital special report. This has been a special report from me.
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