Defense attorney: Sorry for knock-knock joke

NEED TO KNOW
  • Profanity, 911 tapes punctuate opening statements in the George Zimmerman trial
  • Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder for killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012
Defense attorney: Sorry for knock-knock joke

Prosecutor John Guy began his emotional opening statement in the George Zimmerman trial Monday using the defendant's own words against him.

"[Expletive] punks," said Guy. "They always get away."

Guy was referring to a statement that former neighborhood watch captain Zimmerman made on a non-emergency call to the police when he spotted Trayvon Martin moments before he shot the teenager.

Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder for shooting Martin on February 26, 2012. He claims he shot the teen in self-defense.

During most of the prosecution's opening statements, Zimmerman looked straight ahead, without showing any emotion.

INTERACTIVE TIMELINE: The George Zimmerman Case

"The defendant claims that while Trayvon Martin was on top of him, he said, 'You are going to die tonight.' Well, ladies and gentlemen, you are going to hear from people out there. Nobody heard that," said Guy. "We are confident that at the end of this trial you will know in your head, in your heart, in your stomach that George Zimmerman did not shoot Trayvon Martin because he had to, he shot him for the worst of all reasons -- because he wanted to."

After Guy wrapped his opening statement, defense attorney Don West laid out Zimmerman's case.

"This is a sad case, of course," said West. "A young man lost his life, another is fighting for his."

West then told the jurors a knock-knock joke.

"Knock, knock," he said. "'Who's there?' 'George Zimmerman.' 'George Zimmerman, who?' 'All right, good, you are on the jury.'"

No one in the courtroom laughed at the joke, but West did get a few laughs when he followed it up by saying, "Nothing? That's funny."

Prosecutor Bernie De La Rionda sat at the counsel table shaking his head as the joke fell flat.

West apologized for the joke later, saying, "No more bad jokes, I promise that. I was convinced it was the delivery."

Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton, left the courtroom just as West was about to play the 911 made by Zimmerman's neighbor. Zimmerman sat emotionless at the counsel table as screams on the tape rang out in the courtroom.

West said several friends and family members identified Zimmerman as the one calling for "help" in the background. He said Martin's father even told detectives that it wasn't his son on the tape, but later changed his mind after mounting pressure from the community.

West also disputed the prosecution's claim that Martin was unarmed.

"Travyon Martin armed himself with the concrete sidewalk and used it to smash George Zimmerman’s head," said West. "No different than if he picked up a brick or smashed his head against a wall. That is a deadly weapon."

He then asked jurors to keep an open mind as he concluded his opening statement.

Prosecutors kicked off their case by calling Chad Joseph to the stand. The 15-year-old was playing video games with Martin the night he died, and had asked Martin to get Skittles when he left for the store.

Andrew Gaugh, the 7-Eleven cashier who sold Martin a soft drink and the Skittles, also took the stand and watched surveillance video of the transaction.

The 911 dispatcher who took Zimmerman's non-emergency call before he shot Martin testified that he was trained to to give general commands instead of direct orders to people.

When Zimmerman said he was following Martin, Sean Noffke told him, "Okay we don’t need you to do that." Noffke told the prosecutor he's liable for any direct orders he gives someone.

On cross-examination, defense attorney Mark O'Mara pointed out that he asked Zimmerman, "Which way is he running?"

"If you tell somebody twice to let you know if the person that they’re concerned about is doing anything else -- do you think they’re going to keep their eye on them?" asked O'Mara.

"I can’t answer that," said Noffke.

"You did tell him twice to let you know if that guy did anything else," said O'Mara.

"Yes sir," said Noffke.

Noffke went on to say he only wanted a location of the suspect for officers and that he never told Zimmerman to follow or keep his eye on Martin.

Court ended abruptly when the prosecution introduced a non-emergency call made by Zimmerman in August of 2011. He's heard reporting a different suspicious person in the neighborhood and tells the operator that the neighborhood had some break-ins recently.

The prosecution said the call helps show Zimmerman's state of mind the night Martin was killed, but the defense questioned the call's relevance. The judge asked them to take the night and research it further.

They'll continue to make arguments on the matter at 8:30 a.m. ET on Tuesday. The jury was asked to return at 9:00 a.m. ET.

HLN is live-blogging Zimmerman's trial. Read below for minute-by-minute updates:

4:51 p.m. ET: The judge has dismissed the jurors until 9:00 a.m. ET on Tuesday. The attorneys will return at 8:30 a.m. ET to discuss the old 911 calls in more detail.

4:47 p.m. ET: The judge wants to give attorneys more time to research the matter. The jury is being brought back in.

4:44 p.m. ET: The defense says the call shows previous "bad acts" committed by Zimmerman because he called police about a black male in the past. The prosecutor says it shows the basis for his comment about "these [expletive] always getting away."

4:40 p.m. ET: The attorneys are arguing about the relevance of the call. The prosecutor says this call shows Zimmerman's state of mind.

4:39 p.m. ET: The prosecutor is playing another 911 call made by Zimmerman in August of 2011, where he reports a suspicious person. He tells the dispatcher they had some break-ins in the neighborhood and the suspect matches the description of the person who allegedly did it. The defense objects to the relevance of the call. The judge asks the jurors to leave.

4:32 p.m. ET: Prosecutor Mantei is going over a call report with Rumph. She is explaining what the event number is and how the information for the report is gathered.

4:28 p.m. ET: Rumph says calls made on the non-emergency line are calls about crimes that are completed or not life-threatening.

4:25 p.m. ET: The prosecution calls Ramona Rumph. She maintains the calls received on the 911 and non-emergency lines. She has worked for the sheriff's office for 26 years.

4:22 p.m. ET: Noffke says he never heard any hostility in Zimmerman's voice. He has been excused and is subject to recall.

4:20 p.m. ET: Noffke says he never told Zimmerman to follow or keep an eye on Martin. At some point, Noffke says the "wind noise" stopped but he never heard Zimmerman get back in the car. The prosecutor has finished his redirect-examination.

4:17 p.m. ET: "Might it suggest things such as ill will?" asked Mantei, in reference to the curse words Zimmerman used to describe Martin.

"Yes," said Noffke. He said he hears these types of words all the time and the feelings behind them are hostile.

4:15 p.m. ET: Noffke says he hears cursing all the time and it didn't concern him on this call. They're referring to Zimmerman saying "[expletive] punks" and "these [expletive] always get away." The defense has finished its cross-examination.

4:11 p.m. ET: O'Mara asks Noffke if a noise in the background of the call sounds like a flashlight being hit against a palm. Noffke says he doesn't know what is making that sound.

4:09 p.m. ET: Noffke says Zimmerman didn't seem angry or upset after telling him the suspicious person had started running.

4:06 p.m. ET: Noffke says that as a 911 dispatcher you can't order someone to do anything but "you can make a suggestion for their safety."

4:04 p.m. ET: O'Mara asks Noffke if he thinks asking someone "which way is he running" would lead them to go find out. Noffke says he wanted a location of the suspicious person for officers and that he can't say how someone will interpret what he said.

4:00 p.m. ET: "If you tell somebody twice to let you know if the person that they’re concerned about is doing anything else -- do you think they’re going to keep their eye on them?" asked O'Mara.

"I can’t answer that," said Noffke.

"You did tell him twice to let you know if that guy did anything else," said O'Mara.

"Yes sir," said Noffke.

3:58 p.m. ET: Noffke says Zimmerman goes on to confirm the suspicious person was a black male who had his hand in his waistband.

3:54 p.m. ET: Noffke says he doesn't hear any anger in Zimmerman's voice. He also says dispatchers ask about a suspicious person's race and clothing so the officers know who they're looking for when they arrive on scene.

3:52 p.m. ET: O'Mara starts playing the 911 call again, stopping it to ask Noffke questions along the way.

3:51 p.m. ET: O'Mara asks if this was a routine call for him. Noffke says yes.

3:49 p.m. ET: Noffke says he would stay on the line with someone if they asked him to. Or if there's a violent person still in the area. The prosecution has finished its questions.

3:47 p.m. ET: "You would not, as a call taker, order a person to either follow or not follow?" asked Mantei.

"That’s correct," said Noffke. He explains that they're trained to give general commands to people, not orders, because they could be directly liable for that person's actions.

3:45 p.m. ET: Noffke says he heard what sounded like a car door chime as Zimmerman told him Martin was running. Mantei continues playing the call.

3:43 p.m. ET: Prosecutor Richard Mantei plays Zimmerman's 911 call for the jury. Noffke was the dispatcher on that call.

3:40 p.m. ET: Noffke coded Zimmerman's 911 call as a "13P" -- or suspicious person.

3:38 p.m. ET: Noffke explains how he codes the calls that come in -- what level of emergency he assigns them.

3:34 p.m. ET: The state calls Sean Noffke to the stand. He is a 911 operator for the Seminole County Sheriff's Office.

3:30 p.m. ET: Gaugh says he didn't have any concern about the length of time it took Martin to get his cash. O'Mara has Gaugh get up from the witness stand and show him how tall he is -- about 5' 10". The witness is excused.

3:26 p.m. ET: The defense is playing another angle of the surveillance video.

3:24 p.m. ET: Gaugh watches surveillance video from the 7-Eleven, showing him selling Skittles and the soft drink to Martin. The prosecution has completed its questioning.

3:19 p.m. ET: Gaugh says he sold the soft drink and Skittles to Martin, who paid in cash. He didn't know Martin and had never seen him before.

3:17 p.m. ET: The prosecution has called Andrew Gaugh to the stand. He was employed as a cashier at 7-Eleven the night Martin was shot.

3:15 p.m. ET: The defense has finished its cross-examination. Joseph has been excused.

3:13 p.m. ET: Defense attorney Mark O'Mara has started his cross-examination. Joseph tells him Martin was with him the day he was shot, playing games.

3:11 p.m. ET: "Did Trayvon Martin come home that night?" asked Guy.

"No," said Joseph.

Joseph says he was wearing headphones while playing his game and didn't hear a struggle or see anything. He tried calling Martin later that night and got no answer. He says he learned from his mom and Martin's father the next day after school that Martin had died.

3:10 p.m. ET: Martin talked to Joseph when he was on his way back and told him it was raining outside.

3:08 p.m. ET: The prosecutor walks Joseph through a map of their neighborhood.

3:06 p.m. ET: Joseph says he was close with Martin and describes their relationship as good. They were playing videogames before Martin left to go to the store. Joseph told Martin to get him Skittles.

3:04 p.m. ET: The prosecution calls its first witness, Chad Joseph. He is 15 and is the son of Tracy Martin's girlfriend.

3:02 p.m. ET: The jury is being seated.

2:48 p.m. ET: The judge rules that Martin’s parents are allowed in the courtroom. She says Zimmerman’s parents can be in the courtroom once they’re finished testifying or if they’re released. Court is in recess for a few minutes so the prosecution can set up for their first witness.

2:46 p.m. ET: The prosecutor asks him again why he waited to speak out about the incident.

“I wasn’t planning on coming up here, I don’t want to be sitting here,” said Tucholski. He says he was being asked to testify about it.

He also says his badge identifies him as “Family, Zimmerman.”

2:44 p.m. ET: Tucholski says he told Zimmerman's wife about the incident, which happened two weeks ago. He says he didn't want to make a big deal about it but he's being asked to speak out about it.

2:41 p.m. ET: Tucholski, who is a family friend of Zimmerman's, says he was walking in the courtroom and holding the door for Martin as Martin was walking out.

2:39 p.m. ET: O'Mara calls a witness, Timothy Tucholski, who claims Martin's father cursed at him under his breath.

2:38 p.m. ET: The judge says Zimmerman's parents can be in court after they testify.

2:36 p.m. ET: O'Mara says it seems fair to have Zimmerman's parents in court if Martin's parents can be in court.

2:33 p.m. ET: The judges says Benjamin Crump, the Martin family's attorney, should not be in the courtroom because he's a witness.

2:31 p.m. ET: Defense attorney Mark O'Mara argues that Zimmerman's parents should be permitted to sit in the courtroom during trial testimony, despite the fact that they're on the witness list.

2:29 p.m. ET: The judge has dismissed the jurors so she can take up a matter with attorneys outside of their presence.

2:28 p.m. ET: West disputes that Martin was unarmed.

"Travyon Martin armed himself with the concrete sidewalk and used it to smash George Zimmerman’s head. No different than if he picked up a brick or smashed his head against a wall. That is a deadly weapon," said West. He asked jurors to keep an open mind as he concluded his opening statement.

2:22 p.m. ET: Zimmerman had a gun but many people didn't know about it, according to West.

"He didn’t brag about it, didn’t tell people, didn’t show it," said West.

West says Zimmerman got his permit in 2009 and there's no evidence he was trigger happy.

2:21 p.m. ET: West says Zimmerman has gained a lot of weight since the incident. At the time, Zimmerman was fitter and had been working out, according to West.

2:18 p.m. ET: West says Martin was a former linebacker and "knew how to give a hit and take a hit." He also says Martin "knew how to mount someone so as to incapacitate him."

2:16 p.m. ET: The prosecution objects and the judge sustains, telling West to refrain from commenting on evidence. She tells him opening statements are just for attorneys to tell jurors what they think the evidence will show.

2:14 p.m. ET: Zimmerman's neighbor said it was Zimmerman screaming on the 911 call, according to West.

2:12 p.m. ET: West says Martin's dad then said it was his son screaming on the 911 call and that Martin's mom agreed.

2:10 p.m. ET: Martin's dad lowered his head and said it wasn't his son screaming when detectives first asked him, says West.

"And then, of course, more stuff started to happen in town," said West. He talks about the community reaction starting to build and a lawsuit that was filed to release the 911 call.

"There was great, great public pressure on the city to release these recordings," said West.

2:06 p.m. ET: Zimmerman's uncle knew "immediately, without question in his mind" that it was Zimmerman, says West. Other friends and family agree. But he says that other witnesses will say it was Martin's voice, like his mom. "She certainly wants it to be his voice," said West.

2:04 p.m. ET: Scientifically, you can't figure out someone's age when they're screaming, says West. You're left with people who know the voices to determine who it is.

2:02 p.m. ET: West is discussing the 911 call, saying that common sense tells you that the person crying for "help" is the one on the bottom.

"Can science telling us who is yelling for help? And the short answer is, 'No,'" said West. "It’s either a waste of time or the results are unreliable."

1:58 p.m. ET:

 

1:55 p.m. ET: West shows jurors a photo of Martin's pants and tells them to pay close attention to the stains on the knees. He says this shows that Martin was on his knees, straddling Zimmerman.

1:52 p.m. ET: West says Martin's clothing wasn't packaged properly -- it was wet and put in a plastic bag instead of a paper bag so that it could dry out. He also says the gun shot proves they were less than an arm's length away.

"They were face-to-face, basically on top of each other," said West.

1:48 pm. ET: If Martin grabbed his chest after being shot, then he should have had his own blood on his hands, says West. He again points out that Martin's hands weren't bagged on the scene.

1:46 p.m. ET: West says Martin's hands were never bagged at the scene and the medical examiner never photographed his palms, which could explain why they never found Zimmerman's blood on him.

1:44 p.m. ET: West shows jurors how Zimmerman pulled out the gun and shot Martin.

1:40 p.m. ET: Martin was leaning over Zimmerman, punching him, according to West. This, he says, explains the forensic evidence. The soft drink in the pouch of Martin's hoodie was also causing the hoodie to pull away from Martin's body, says West.

1:39 p.m. ET: West says the hole in Martin’s sweatshirt was a contact shot because the fabric was shredded. He says the hole in Martin’s undershirt was also somewhat shredded. He says the wound in Martin's skin was very round and had a 2x2 area of stippling.

"The clothing Travyon Martin was wearing was separate from his skin by at least a certain amount," said West.

1:35 p.m. ET: West starts back up by apologizing to jurors for the knock knock joke he told earlier.

"No more bad jokes, I promise that. I was convinced it was the delivery," he said.

1:31 p.m. ET: The judge is back on the bench and the jury is being seated.

12:30 p.m. ET: Judge Nelson has recessed court for lunch. The live blog will resume when court picks back up at 1:30 p.m. ET.

12:29 p.m. ET:

12:27 p.m. ET: West said some photos of Zimmerman's injuries were taken later that night and they look better because they had been cleaned up.

12:23 p.m. ET: "What you can really see in these pictures that you will have in evidence are the lumps. The big knots on each side of his head. Consistent with having his (Zimmerman's) head slammed into concrete," said West.

12:20 p.m. ET: West said a witness saw Martin on top of Zimmerman during the altercation.

12:17 p.m. ET: West said a paramedic treating Zimmerman at the scene recommended that he be taken to a hospital. West said police said they would take care of transporting him, but it never happened.

12:14 p.m. ET: West is showing a picture of Martin at the convenience store moments before being shot to show the jurors how tall he was. He says Martin was a little over six feet tall.

12:11 p.m. ET: The witnesses at the scene did not know Martin, and no one could identify him according to West.

12:08 p.m. ET: West is explaining the characteristics of the gun Zimmerman used to shoot Martin and how he was using it properly.

12:06 p.m. ET:

12:02 p.m. ET: West showed a picture of a bloody gash on the back of Zimmerman's head taken moments after the shooting.

"George Zimmerman says (to a witness) he was beating me up and I shot him," said West.

11:58 a.m. ET: "You can hear the cries for help up until the moment of the shot," said West.

11:55 a.m. ET: West said it was difficult to make out faces the night of the shooting, but witnesses could identify the color of people's clothing.

11:52 a.m. ET: West said witness Jana Serdaka claims she saw Martin and Zimmerman at the time of the shot, but she was wrong about what happened. She says she saw Zimmerman on top of Martin, but West says if she saw Zimmerman on top of Martin it was after he hired fired the gun.

11:48 a.m ET: West said the 911 call was recorded about 30 or 40 feet away from where the shooting took place, and presents certain "acoustical challenges."

11:46 a.m. ET: Martin's mother Sybrina Fulton left the courtroom as the 911 call was played in court. Zimmerman did not show any emotion as the call was played.

11:44 a.m. ET: West is playing for the jurors a 911 call a neighbor made, where it is possible to hear the screams and the shot in the background.

11:40 a.m. ET: West is using the map of the neighborhood to explain to the jury where two witnesses live that heard the altercation between Zimmerman and Martin.

11:37 a.m. ET: "At the moment this actually became physical was that Trayvon Martin. I will use my words, that Trayvon Martin decided to confront George Zimmerman. That instead of going home. He had plenty of time. This is what 60 or 70 yards. Plenty of time. He could of gone back and forth four or five times," said West.

11:32 a.m. ET: West is playing the non-emergency call Zimmerman made the night of the shooting for the jury again.

11:30 a.m. ET: West is showing a picture of the scene taken the night of the shooting to demonstrate how it was almost pitch black around the time of the shooting.

11:27 a.m. ET: Periodically, West is displaying quotes from the non-emergency call Zimmerman made the night of the shooting.

11:23 a.m. ET: West agrees with the prosecution that Zimmerman did say "(expletive) punks" on the non-emergency call.

11:21 a.m. ET: West is walking the jury through the moments leading up to the confrontation between Zimmerman and Martin.

11:17 a.m. ET: "In fact, there was an attempted break in a couple of weeks before (the shooting)," said West.

11:15 a.m. ET: West is showing the jury Martin's phone records to demonstrate what phone calls line up with Zimmerman's calls.

11:12 a.m. ET: At the end of the call, Zimmerman asks for the responding officer to call him when they arrive at the scene.

11:11 a.m. ET: The dispatcher asks Zimmerman if he is following him, and the operator tells him that they don't need him to follow him.

11:09 a.m. ET: On the recording, Zimmerman can be heard telling the dispatcher that he sees a suspicious person in his neighborhood, and they have had a lot crime in the area recently. He also says the suspicious person appears to be "black."

11:07 a.m. ET: West is now going to play Zimmerman's non-emergency call for the jury.

11:06 a.m. ET: West is showing the jury a picture of the spot where Martin was shot to illustrate where someone lived when they called 911 after hearing the altercation between Martin and Zimmerman.

11:03 a.m. ET: The defense has prepared a timeline for the jury that shows the sequential events based on the non-emergency call made by Zimmerman.

11:01 a.m. ET: West is explaining how Martin was on the phone with a girl around the time of the shooting.

11:00 a.m. ET: "Little did George Zimmerman know at the time in less than 10 minutes from him first seeing Travyon Martin that he, George Zimmerman, would be suckered punched in the face, have his head pounded on concrete and wind up shooting and tragically killing Trayvon Martin," said West.

10:57 a.m. ET: West is describing the character of the neighborhood. He says Zimmerman left his house to go to Target just a few min after 7 p.m. that night, he got to the exit of the neighborhood and sees a person later identified as Martin.

10:54 a.m. ET: West is displaying an aerial map of Zimmerman's neighborhood to the jury explaining how the shooting happened that night.

10:52 a.m. ET: West said Zimmerman is not guilty of murder, because he shot Martin in self-defense after being "viciously attacked."

10:51 a.m. ET: West just told the jury a joke.

"Knock, knock, 'whose there?' 'George Zimmerman.' 'George Zimmerman who?' 'Alright, good you are on the jury.'"

10:46 a.m. ET: West is explaining to the jury why Zimmerman's parents are not allowed in the courtroom.

10:45 a.m. ET: West begins his opening statement saying, "This is a sad case of course."

"A young man lost his life, another is fighting for his."

10:43 a.m. ET: The jury is being seated, and defense attorney Don West is about to give his opening statement.

10:38 a.m. ET: Judge Nelson is back on the stand, the attorneys have joined her for a sidebar.

10:29 a.m. ET: From HLN's producer in the courtroom:

"During this recess defense attorneys are readying a series of exhibits that are being displayed via power point."

10:11 a.m. ET: Court is now in a 15 minute recess, before the defense will give its opening statement.

10:10 a.m. ET: "We are confident that at the end of this trial you will know in your head, in your heart, in your stomach that George Zimmerman did not shot Trayvon Martin, because he had to. He shot him for the worst of all reasons, because he wanted to. Thank you for your time." said Guy wrapping his opening statement.

10:08 a.m. ET: Guy said Martin's injuries do not indicate that he fought with Zimmerman.

"He didn't have bruised knuckles. He didn't have swollen hands. The only injury to his hand that was capable of being photograph was a small abrasion on his left ring finger. Trayvon Martin was right handed. That was the only injury to his hands." said Guy.

10:05 a.m. ET: "He was told not to be the vigilante police," said Guy.

10:03 a.m. ET: Guy said the jury will hear a heart-wrenching 911 call, where they will hear Martin screaming, and he was silenced when Zimmerman pulled the trigger.

10:00 a.m. ET: Zimmerman was examined by a medical profession the morning after shooting and he had no major injuries and his nose was not broken according to Guy.

9:59 a.m. ET: Guy is explaining that there's no witnesses who saw what happened the night of the shooting from beginning to end. He says the witnesses the jury will hear from saw "slices" of what happened.

9:57 a.m. ET: Guy said ballistics indicate that Zimmerman pressed the gun against Martin's chest and pulled the trigger called a "contact shot."

9:55 a.m. ET: "The defendant claims that while Trayvon Martin was on top of him. He said, 'you are going to die to night,' Well ladies and gentlemen you are going to hear from people out there. Nobody heard that," said Guy.

9:52 a.m. ET: "The defendant told police that at one point while he was sitting in his car following Trayvon Martin. Trayvon Martin ran behind some townhomes, and then came back out circled his car and ran back again. Listen to the non-emergency call that happened in real time and you will see that didn't happen," said Guy.

9:49 a.m. ET: Guy says the jury will see exactly how Zimmerman looked after the confrontation with Martin. They will also see a video police shot at the scene of the killing of Zimmerman explaining what happened.

9:45 a.m. ET: Martin's father is crying as Guy details how officers tried to save his son's life on February 26, 2012.

9:42 a.m. ET: Zimmerman is staring straight ahead without any signs of emotion as Guy details how he allegedly killed Martin.

9:40 a.m. ET: Guy is walking the jury through Martin's last moments of his life.

9:37 a.m. ET: Prosecutor John Guy begins his opening statement by quoting Zimmerman the night Martin was shot.

"[Expelitive] punks" said Guy. "They always get away."

9:30 a.m. ET: Nelson is instructing the jury of the responsibilities of their duty.

9:29 a.m. ET: The jury is seated, and opening statements should begin any minute.

9:22 a.m. ET: Nelson will allow all the statements the defense has requested to be admissible. The attorneys are now at a sidebar with the judge.

9:21 a.m. ET: Nelson rules that two statements are admissible. However, she has a question about a statement Zimmerman made to the police officer who arrived on the scene.

9:17 a.m. ET: The court PIO told HLN that as of this morning the jury is sequestered.

9:16 a.m. ET: Nelson and the prosecutors are reviewing a motion from the defense regarding "res gestae" statements these are the spontaneous statements that Zimmerman made in the moments and minutes after the alleged crime. West wants to use the statements in openings, so the Nelson will have a hearing on it now.

9:14 a.m. ET: Defense attorney Don West is asking Nelson about some statements he wants to use in his opening statements. Nelson said they need to have a hearing on the statements before opening statements can begin.

9:11 a.m. ET: Nelson said Martin family attorney Ben Crump cannot attend the trial until she has a chance to review the case law and to make a ruling on the issue.

9:07 a.m. ET: Zimmerman's family members who are not expected to testify can attend the trial.

9:05 a.m. ET: Nelson ruled that Zimmerman's family must leave the courtroom, because they are potential witnesses. Martin's family can attend the trial due to an exception to the rule of sequestration. The rule requires says all potential witnesses cannot attend the trial.

9:02 a.m. ET: Judge Debra Nelson is on the bench. She has asked the attorneys if there is any issues they need to discuss before bringing in the jury.

8:56 a.m. ET: Opening statements should begin in a few minutes.

8:33 a.m. ET: Martin's mother Sybrina Fulton and his father Tracy Martin gave a brief statement asking for prayers saying that no one should have to go through an ordeal like this.

"I am here today as Trayvon Martin's mother as I have been everyday. I will be attending this court to try to get justice for my son."

8:29 a.m. ET: "We think this is a simple case." said Martin Family attorney Ben Crump. "We believe the evidence is overwhelming to hold George Zimmerman accountable for killing Trayvon Martin."

8:21 a.m. ET: Martin's parents are expected to make a statement in the courtroom any minute.

8:20 a.m. ET: Attorneys in the George Zimmerman trial will give their opening statements Monday, presenting the jury of six Seminole County, Florida women with two versions of the night 17-year-old Trayvon Martin died.

READ MORE: The six women will decide Zimmerman's fate

Monday's proceedings -- which take place 484 days after Martin's death -- will begin with John Guy giving the opening statement for the prosecution, explaining how the former neighborhood watch captain is guilty of second-degree murder for pursuing Martin, engaging him in a fight and, ultimately, shooting him.

After the prosecution's opening statement, Don West will give the opening statement for the defense, telling the jury how Zimmerman was forced to act in self-defense to save his own life.

The prosecution will begin calling witnesses once opening statements are completed.

Monday's proceedings come on the heels of a blow to the prosecution's case. On Saturday, Judge Debra Nelson ruled that the prosecution's audio experts will not be able to testify about their analysis of screams on a 911 call from the night of shooting.

READ MORE: Trayvon Martin autopsy: The key clues | Evidence photos

Forensic voice analysts Tom Owen and Alan Reich both testified for the state in a pre-trial hearing on June 7. Reich said that he believes the screams from the 911 call made on the night Martin died belong to the teen, and Owen confirmed that the screams were not Zimmerman's. However, multiple defense witnesses said that, due to poor quality of the recording of the 911 call, the screams were impossible to properly analyze.

The 911 call itself is still admissible, and in what could be one of the most emotional moments of the trial, Martin's parents may testify about whom they believe was screaming in the background of the call.

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