Zimmerman declines to testify in trial for murder of Trayvon Martin

The neighbourhood watch volunteer is accused of second degree murder for shooting an unarmed teenager

George Zimmerman, the neighbourhood watch volunteer who last year shot and killed an unarmed African American teenager, has declined to testify on the final day of his trial for the murder of Trayvon Martin.

Lawyers for the defendant rested their case this afternoon without calling on Mr Zimmerman, who has previously told his story of the night on national television.

Speaking directly to Seminole County Judge Debra Nelson, he said: "After consulting with counsel, (I have decided) not to testify, your honor."

Following requests by prosecution after a devastating defence, the judge will now consider whether she will allow the jury to consider lesser charges to second degree murder – manslaughter and aggravated assault – when they begin deliberations on Friday afternoon.

Prosecutors will conclude closing arguments this afternoon and the defence is due to finish on Friday morning.

While the defendant did not take the stand, his recollection of events has been heard by the jury via a filmed interview with police investigators, an official re-enactment video recorded by police and his public interview with Fox News presenter Sean Hannity.  

The prosecution has spent nine days building its case for Mr Zimmerman’s conviction, while the defence has used less than four days of testimony to present its case that 17-year-old Trayvon attacked him and he shot in self-defence.

And however terse, defence attorneys have been praised, namely for their use of well-known forensic pathologist Vincent DiMaio to support Mr Zimmerman’s claims that he was struck repeatedly in the head before firing. Though they were unsuccessful yesterday in their bid to have text messages about guns and violence sent by Trayvon introduced to the jury.

According to reports, the neighbourhood watchman considered the 17-year-old suspicious after spotting him on February 26, 2012 in the gated community in Florida where he volunteered. Mr Zimmerman called police but before officers arrived, a confrontation led to Mr Zimmerman drawing his Kel Tech 9mm pistol and shooting Trayvon once through the heart.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test