On the first day of the George Zimmerman trial, four-letter words went over a lot better than a knock-knock joke -- at least among trial-watchers. What the actual jurors thought of each side's opening statement is, of course, far more significant, but also unknown.
If keyboard-pounding Twitter users are any indication, however, George Zimmerman's defense team may already be facing an uphill battle.
People on the social media site quickly rendered their own verdict Monday -- overwhelmingly in favor of the prosecution, who opened its case repeating Zimmerman's own expletive-laced words from the night of the killing. Meanwhile, defense attorney Don West's knock-knock joke fell flat. Leading up to the trial, Zimmerman supporters have been very active and vocal on social media in their defense of the former neighborhood watchman, making Monday's shift that much more interesting.
Reflecting the general tone of Twitter's virtual jury, one-word responses such as "embarrassing", "painful", "messy" and "clumsy" were attached to West's presentation by HLN's followers. Much of the criticism of the defense's opening was pegged to West's joke, which was delivered early on and seemed to leave a bad impression.
Here's a representative sample of the observations and reactions to the opening statements which were shared Monday on Twitter:
— TJ Holmes (@tjholmes) June 24, 2013
— Rene Stutzman (@renestutzman) June 24, 2013
The objection sustained for personalizing opening really threw Don West off, led him to tell awkward knock knock joke #GeorgeZimmerman OMG
— Mari Fagel (@MariFagel) June 24, 2013
Zimmerman's lawyer starts opening remarks with a knock-knock joke. So they're already shooting for "incompetent counsel" in the appeal.
— Joseph Nobles (@BoloBoffin) June 24, 2013
To all of those that donated to the GZ defense fund: This is how your $$ was spent. Wow.
— Erin Murray (@ErinMurray99) June 24, 2013
Certainly first high profile murder case I've covered where one side led with an expletive and the other told a knock knock joke #zimmerman
— Dave D'Marko (@DMarko13) June 24, 2013
— Sean Love (@seanlamontlove) June 24, 2013
#Zimmerman defense is offering a near-seamless opening statement, rolling from one bit of evidence to another without gaps.
— Bob Owens (@bob_owens) June 24, 2013
If you have to say to the jury "I don't know if you're following me or not" that is pretty pathetic. #zimmerman
— Wendy Lou Who (@whoohah) June 24, 2013
After the opening statements, four witnesses made their way to the stand Monday afternoon. Court was recessed early after the defense objected to prosecutors playing a 911 call made by George Zimmerman in August, 2011. The issue will be discussed first thing when attorneys arrive back in court Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. ET.
Follow Jonathan Anker on Twitter @JonFromHLN