George Zimmerman

The jury weighing the guilt or innocence of the man accused in the shooting death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin can consider convicting George Zimmerman on a lesser charge of manslaughter, the judge ruled Thursday morning.

The defense is expected to wrap up its case Wednesday afternoon at the murder trial of George Zimmerman, the Florida neighborhood watch volunteer accused in the February 2012 shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin.

Update at 4:50 p.m. ET: Defense Rests Case

John Minchillo / Associated Press

Editor's note: This article originally appeared on NPR's Code Switch blog, which explores race, culture and ethnicity.

One gray spring afternoon last year, thousands of people descended on Manhattan's Union Square for a rally to call for the arrest of George Zimmerman, the man who shot and killed Trayvon Martin. It had been several almost four weeks since Martin, an unarmed black 17 year-old, was killed by Zimmerman, then 28, who identifies himself as Hispanic, after a confrontation one Sunday night in a gated housing community where both Zimmerman and Martin's father resided.

The police in Sanford, Fla., held Zimmerman for a night and released him after deciding he'd acted in self-defense.

Zimmerman Attorneys Say They May Finish Wednesday

Jul 9, 2013
Joe Burbank / Orlando Sentinel

SANFORD, Fla. -- George Zimmerman's attorney says the defense will likely wrap up its case in the neighborhood watch volunteer's second-degree murder trial on Wednesday.

Defense attorney Mark O'Mara told the judge presiding over the case on Tuesday that his team needs only one more day.

Zimmerman, so far, hasn't testified. But jurors saw repeated video recordings of Zimmerman telling his side of the story to police investigators.

The key takeaway from Monday morning's testimony at the trial of George Zimmerman for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin is that the defense produced three people to say they're convinced it is Zimmerman's voice that can be heard calling for help on the recording of a 911 call.

Social Media Infiltrates Zimmerman Trial

Jul 7, 2013
Jacob Langston / Orlando Sentinel/Pool

SANFORD, Fla. — Trayvon Martin's fatal shooting garnered worldwide attention when the man who fatally shot him wasn't arrested for weeks – a backlash fueled largely by social media. Now, social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook have permeated George Zimmerman's trial both inside and outside the courtroom.

Zimmerman Jury To Ponder Conflicting Testimony

Jul 6, 2013
Gary W. Green / Orlando Sentinel

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) — Jurors in the George Zimmerman trial are heading into their weekend with a lot of courtroom drama and conflicting testimony to digest.

Friday's action-packed session saw the prosecution rest its case, and the judge reject a defense request to acquit Zimmerman of second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin last year.

The mothers of both Martin and Zimmerman listened to the same 911 recording of someone screaming for help, and each said she was convinced the voice was that of her own son.

Update at 5:50 p.m. ET. The prosecution concluded its case Friday in the trial of George Zimmerman. Afterward, the judge denied a request by the defense to acquit Zimmerman of second-degree murder. The defense had argued that the prosecution had failed to prove its case against him.

Our original post:

Jacob Langston / Orlando Sentinel/Pool

After a week and a half of testimony, prosecutors in George Zimmerman's second-degree murder trial are close to resting their case. The court heard Wednesday from Zimmerman's former criminal justice professors and forensic experts, in what was likely the last full day of evidence from the prosecution.

In the weeks after Travyon Martin's death, the hooded sweatshirt the teen wore during the deadly confrontation became a symbol for protesters calling for George Zimmerman's arrest.

Jacob Langston / Orlando Sentinel

Today prosecutors presented evidence about George Zimmerman's work in a college criminal justice course, which they say shows the neighborhood watch volunteer knew about Florida's self-defense law and had aspirations of becoming a police officer.

Zimmerman had maintained in an interview with Fox News last year that he did not know about the law. Prosecutors say he did have knowledge of it, however, because the subject was covered in the college class.

Medical Examiner in Zimmerman Trial: Injuries Were "Not Life Threatening"

Jul 2, 2013
Joe Burbank / Orlando Sentinel/Pool

A medical examiner testifying in George Zimmerman's second-degree murder trial Tuesday described Zimmerman's injuries from the night he shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin as "very insignificant" and "not life threatening." The testimony comes as state attorneys continue their bid to undermine Zimmerman's claim of self-defense.

Jurors in Zimmerman Trial Hear Testimony from Voice Expert, Sanford Police

Jul 1, 2013
Joe Burbank / Orlando Sentinel

Jurors in George Zimmerman's second-degree murder trial heard testimony Monday from the first investigator to interview him after he fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin last February. Prosecutors played a recording of that interview, which took place just a few hours after the shooting.

iStockphoto.com

Editor's note: This article originally appeared on NPR's Code Switch blog, which explores race, culture and ethnicity.

Last week, Rachel Jeantel took the stand in the murder trial of George Zimmerman, who shot and killed Trayvon Martin after an altercation. Jeantel was on the phone with Martin moments before the fateful encounter.

Jeantel said that Martin told her that a "creepy-ass cracker" was following him. She told Don West, George Zimmerman's attorney, that she didn't think the phrase was racist; West argued that it was.

Hold up a second. Cracker? In 2013?

CNN, HLN Televising Dueling Zimmerman Trial Shows

Jul 1, 2013
Joe Burbank / Orlando Sentinel

HLN network chief executive Scot Safon resisted any impulse to call his boss, Jeff Zucker, to say "What are you doing to me?" when he learned that CNN scheduled a nightly hour on the George Zimmerman murder trial for the same time HLN was airing one.

So far, the call hasn't been necessary.

Witness: Martin Rained Blows While Zimmerman Cried for Help

Jun 28, 2013
Joe Burbank / Orlando Sentinel/Pool

A witness in George Zimmerman's second-degree murder trial told jurors Friday he saw Trayvon Martin on top of Zimmerman during the deadly scuffle. Neighbor John Good testified Zimmerman was calling for help.

Good said he went outside when he heard the tussle. He saw someone dressed in dark clothing on top of someone else in light or red clothing.

Martin wore a gray hoodie, Zimmerman a red jacket.

Defense attorney Mark O'Mara asked Good to explain what he saw.

"The person who you now know to be Trayvon Martin was on top, correct?" O'Mara asked.

Jacob Langston / Orlando Sentinel

George Zimmerman's defense attorneys pointed to several inconsistencies Thursday in the story of a friend who was on the phone with Trayvon Martin at the time of his shooting. Among the inconsistencies was the woman's name.

Rachel Jeantel, 19, told the court she signed her name as Diamond Eugene in a letter to Martin's mother about the shooting. She told a reporter her name was Didi.

Jacob Langston / Orlando Sentinel

Jurors in George Zimmerman's second-degree murder trial will hear more Thursday from the friend who was on the phone with Trayvon Martin right before he was shot. Rachel Jeantel, 19, testified Wednesday that when Martin said he was being followed, she told him to run.

Jeantel is a key state witness.

She said Martin told her Zimmerman was watching him, so he ran.

Jeantel then said Martin spotted Zimmerman again near the townhome where he was staying with his father.

UPDATE: July 9, 2013: It was brought to our attention that in the second paragraph, "While Zimmerman's attorneys said the calls were irrelevant, prosecutors argued that they showed Martin's state of mind" should instead read "...Zimmerman's state of mind." It has since been corrected, and we apologize for the error.

Gary W. Green / Orlando Sentinel

Jurors in George Zimmerman's second-degree murder trial got their first glimpse of the crime scene Tuesday. It was an emotional moment in the courtroom when prosecutors showed photos of teenager Trayvon Martin, who was fatally shot in a scuffle with Zimmerman.

One photo showed Martin's body, dressed in a hoodie, lying face-down in the dark and illuminated by a flashlight. Other photos showed his face and chest wound.

Some jurors and on-lookers were visibly upset; Martin's father Tracy Martin walked out of the courtroom.

Joe Burbank / Orlando Sentinel/Pool

Attorneys in George Zimmerman's second-degree murder trial will have to wait to learn whether his previous calls to police will be admissible.

In the months before he fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, Zimmerman made a series of calls reporting black males in his neighborhood as suspicious for various reasons. 

Prosecutors argue the calls indicate Zimmerman’s state of mind on the night of the shooting. 

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