This June 20, 2013 file photo, George Zimmerman listens as his defense counsel Mark O'Mara questions potential jurors during Zimmerman's trial in Seminole circuit court in Sanford, Florida
SANFORD, Florida (USA TODAY) -- After a fiery and at times odd first day, the trial
of George Zimmerman is focusing Tuesday on whether the neighborhood watch
volunteer targeted others for alleged suspicious activities.
VIDEO: Prosecutors begin opening statement with profanity
MORE: Defense opens with a knock-knock joke
WATCH: Live video of the George Zimmerman Trial
29, is charged with second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of
Trayvon Martin, 17, in a February 2012 confrontation. Prosecutors say
Zimmerman profiled Trayvon, a black teenager; defense attorneys say
Trayvon attacked Zimmerman in a gated community.
to allow jurors to listen to a phone call by Zimmerman to police where
he describes seeing another suspicious black male in his neighborhood.
Defense attorneys have objected to the call, saying it is irrelevant to
Zimmerman's state of mind the night he shot Trayvon.
Circuit Judge Debra Nelson said she would make a ruling after reviewing prior cases.
The recording "is relevant to show the defendant's state of mind," Assistant State Attorney Richard Mantei said.
must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman acted "imminently
dangerous" and demonstrated a "depraved mind without regard for human
life" - Florida's definition of second-degree murder.
Mark O'Mara, Zimmerman's lawyer, argued that the call does not speak to Zimmerman's state of the mind the night of the killing.
FBI report shows Zimmerman had a pattern of calling authorities about
criminal activities and safety issues in his neighborhood. In one of the
calls to Sanford police, Zimmerman complained about children playing
and running in the street.
Four calls were about black men he
witnessed in the neighborhood after break-ins, according to the report,
release by the state attorney's office.
In his opening statement
Monday, Assistant State Attorney John Guy moved quickly to try to jolt
the jurors by using the "f-word" followed by "punks" in quoting from
Zimmerman's conversation by cellphone with a police dispatcher as he
followed the unarmed Trayvon.
Guy told the jury they would hear
from a young woman who was on the phone with Trayvon the night of the
shooting, as well as police officers who arrived shortly after and
emergency personnel who tried to save Trayvon's life. He also said a
medical examiner and residents who live nearby the shooting site will
Zimmerman's defense attorney, Don West, countered that
Zimmerman shot Trayvon in self-defense after he was viciously attacked
by the Miami-area teen.
Before getting into details, West began
his opening statement with a joke. "Knock, knock," West said. "Who's
there? George Zimmerman. George Zimmerman who? All right good, you're on
The court remained quiet and jurors' faces were blank. Later, after a break, West promised not to tell any more bad jokes.
West told jurors that Trayvon had thrown a "sucker punch" at Zimmerman
after possibly hiding before the struggle. "Trayvon Martin decided to
confront George Zimmerman," West said. "The evidence will show this is a
sad case. There are no monsters."
West showed enlarged pictures
of Zimmerman's injuries to the jury as well as Trayvon from the 7-Eleven
surveillance camera, where he is seen wearing a dark, hooded
On Monday, prosecutors called four witnesses including
the police dispatcher who took Zimmerman's call the moment he spotted
Sean Noffke, a 911 operator who also answers
non-emergency calls, testified that it is police policy not to give
orders to callers. He said he told Zimmerman he did not need him to
follow the teen.
"It's best to avoid any type of confrontation," said Noffke, who described the call as routine.
first witness was Chad Johnson, 15, the son of Trayvon's father's
girlfriend, who said he and Trayvon spent the day playing video games.
Trayvon later left for 7-Eleven but, Chad said, he never returned.