Jurors in the Zimmerman trial heard opening statements from the prosecution and defense Monday, as lawyers outlined what they asserted happened on Feb. 26, 2012, when the defendant, George Zimmerman, allegedly shot the unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin.
Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain for the gated community in Sanford, claimed self-defense on the charge of second-degree murder, and could face life in prison if convicted in the Florida courtroom.
Defense attorney Don West argued that Zimmerman had "shot Trayvon Martin in self-defense after being viciously attacked," adding that while "a young man lost his life," Zimmerman "is fighting for his."
Prosecutor John Guy began his argument with, "F---ing punks," citing the words Zimmerman used to characterize Martin in his call to police prior to the shooting.
Zimmerman "didn't see a young man walking home," Guy said. Instead, "he profiled him as someone who was about to commit a crime in his neighborhood, and then he acted on it, and that's why we're here."
The case has drawn national attention to Florida's controversial and heavily debated self-defense laws. There were numerous civil rights protests staged last year against what many saw as racial bias and unjust treatment of the case, especially when police did not arrest Zimmerman for 44 days after the incident.