Global Com Essay

Submitted By Stejhan1
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Defense attorney Mark O'Mara pleaded with the all-female, six-member jury to not “fill in the gaps” or “connect the dots” while considering a verdict in the case. O’Mara said Zimmerman, 29, acted in self-defense when he fatally shot Martin on Feb. 26, 2012.

"You can't help but have a first impression," O'Mara told jurors, who could begin deliberating later Friday. "What you have to do is be vigilant, diligent in deciding this case."

O'Mara told jurors that prosecutors had not proven Zimmerman's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, saying their case was built upon a series of hypothetical premises.

"If it hasn't been proven, it's not just there," O'Mara said. "You can't fill in the gaps. You can't connect the dots. You're not allowed to."

Evidence in the case only proves Zimmerman's "pure, unadulterated innocence," O'Mara said.

“He’s not guilty of anything but protecting his own life," O'Mara said of Zimmerman.

ZIMMERMAN JURY INSTRUCTIONS

On Thursday, a prosecutor closed out court proceedings by attempting to paint Zimmerman as an angry vigilante who "tracked" Martin through a gated community and provoked the confrontation that claimed the teenager's life

"A teenager is dead," prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda said. "He’s dead not just because the man made those assumptions, but because he acted on those assumptions and unfortunately, because his assumptions were wrong, Trayvon Benjamin Martin no longer walks on this Earth."

De la Rionda told the jury Thursday that Zimmerman wanted to be a police officer and that's why he followed Martin through his neighborhood even though the teen wasn't doing anything wrong.

"He assumed Trayvon Martin was a criminal. That is why we are here," de la Rionda said.

Zimmerman showed ill-will and hatred when he whispered profanities to a police dispatcher over his cell phone while following Martin, said de la Rionda as he urged jurors to hold Zimmerman accountable for his actions. In order to get a second-degree conviction, prosecutors must show Zimmerman showed ill-will, hatred or spite.

"The law doesn't allow people to take the law into their own hands," de la Rionda said.

De la Rionda dismissed defense claims that Zimmerman acted in self-defense, accusing the neighborhood watch volunteer of lying about what happened. The prosecutor also showed jurors a headshot photo of Martin taken from his autopsy. Jurors trained their eyes on de la Rionda, barely taking notes.

"The truth does not lie," De la Rionda said.

GAVEL-TO-GAVEL COVERAGE: ZIMMERMAN TRIAL

Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, claiming Martin was slamming his head into a sidewalk when he shot Martin.

The prosecutor's closing arguments came after Judge Debra Nelson ruled jurors can consider manslaughter in addition to the second-degree murder charge, but stopped short at granting the prosecution's bid to include felony murder — based on child abuse — in the jury instructions.

Nelson ruled against the prosecution's request that jurors be able to consider a third-degree felony murder charge based on child abuse. Under felony murder statutes, a defendant can be charged with murder if he or she causes someone's death while committing a felony, in this case, according to the prosecution, child abuse. At 17, Trayvon Martin was a minor when he was killed.

"I just don’t think that the evidence supports that," Nelson said of the felony murder charge. "And if I’m not sure about that, I’m not going to charge the jury on that."

Zimmerman could face up to life in prison if convicted of second degree murder using a firearm. A manslaughter conviction in the case could result in a maximum sentence of 30 years.

O’Mara told reporters Wednesday after resting his case that the jury’s only option should be the second-degree murder charge brought by prosecutors. If jurors are unable to convict Zimmerman of murder, then he should be acquitted, O’Mara said, because the shooting was…