Prosecutor to jury: 'The truth does not lie'

NEED TO KNOW
  • Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder for killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26, 2012
  • HLN is covering the George Zimmerman trial live, gavel to gavel
Bernie de la Rionda delivers the prosecution's closing argument in the Goerge Zimmerman trial.

'Assumptions' fatal for Trayvon, says prosecutor

'Assumptions' fatal for Trayvon, says prosecutor

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HLN is live-blogging the George Zimmerman trial. Scroll down below the story to read real-time updates of the day's proceedings.

George Zimmerman crossed the line when he automatically assumed Trayvon Martin was a criminal, followed him and ultimately shot him to death, prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda told jurors in his closing argument on Thursday.

"A teenager is dead. He is dead through no fault of his own. He is dead because another man made assumptions," de la Rionda said. "That man assumed certain things. He’s dead not just because the man made those assumptions – because he acted upon those assumptions. And unfortunately, unfortunately because his assumptions were wrong, Trayvon Benjamin Martin no longer walks on this earth."

At one point, de la Rionda said that he, too, was going to jump on the bandwagon and straddle the dummy that attorneys brought out in court earlier in the week to simulate the fight between Zimmerman and Martin. Trying to poke holes in Zimmerman’s story, de la Rionda questioned how the former neighborhood watch captain was able to reach his gun if Martin was straddling him with his knees near Zimmerman’s armpits.

Zimmerman is accused of killing Martin in Sanford, Florida, on Feb. 26, 2012. Martin was walking through Zimmerman’s neighborhood that night when Zimmerman saw him and told police that he looked suspicious. The two got into an altercation, and Zimmerman said he was forced to draw his gun and shoot Martin in self-defense.

INTERACTIVE TIMELINE: The George Zimmerman Case

Prosecutor de la Rionda peppered his closing argument with a series of questions that strike at the heart of the State's case: Why was there no blood on Martin’s hands? How could Zimmerman have screamed if he was choking on his own blood as he's claimed? How did Martin’s hands get under his body if Zimmerman said he got on top of Martin after shooting him and spread his arms out? Why did Zimmerman get out of the car if he feared Martin? Who was following who? Who started the fight or struggle? Did Zimmerman go for his phone or his gun before being punched?

He told the jurors “you decide” the answers to those questions and played parts of Zimmerman’s interviews with police and a TV station to point out what he considers to be inconsistencies in the former neighborhood watchman’s statements.

"The truth does not lie," de la Rionda told the jury.

The prosecutor also argued that while it's "good that citizens get involved," Zimmerman, in this case, crossed the line.

"The law doesn’t allow people to take the law into their own hands," de la Rionda said. "This defendant didn't give Trayvon Martin a chance."

He asked the jurors to return a “just verdict” of guilty of second-degree murder.

Zimmerman could also be convicted of the lesser included charge of manslaughter. Prosecutors were pushing for third-degree felony murder to also be included, but the judge ruled on Thursday that the evidence wasn’t there to support it.

Prosecutors also said they would be pushing for the lesser charge of aggravated assault, but then told the judge later that they changed their minds.

Defense attorney Mark O’Mara is scheduled to give the closing argument for the defense Friday at 8:30 a.m. ET, and John Guy will give the prosecution’s final rebuttal argument before the jury begins to deliberate Friday afternoon.

HLN's live-blogging Zimmerman's trial. Click here for HLN's live blog of Wednesday's testimony. Read below for minute-by-minute updates:

4:21 p.m. ET: The attorneys need to fix the jury instructions, where Zimmerman's name is spelled with a capital "I." The live blog will pick back up Friday for closing arguments, which are scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. ET.

4:19 p.m. ET: The judge has dismissed the jurors until 8:30 a.m. ET on Friday.

4:18 p.m. ET: "I ask you to come back with a verdict that speaks the truth. A verdict that is just," said de la Rionda. "They can’t take any more photos and that’s true because of the actions of one person. The man before you… the man who is guilty of second-degree murder. Thank you." De la Rionda has concluded his closing argument.

4:17 p.m. ET: "What a coincidence. The shot, all of a sudden the yelling stops," said de la Rionda.

4:15 p.m. ET: De la Rionda is flashing through several slides on his presentation including one that says "self-defense vs. common sense."

4:13 p.m. ET: "We don't have a big animation of how it happened. Did anyone see it out there?" asked de la Rionda. Zimmerman's defense had an animator make a 3D re-enactment of the shooting. Jurors have not seen it.

4:11 p.m. ET: "Victim didn’t get to choose anything. Or anyone," says the presentation that de la Rionda puts up on screen. He describes the lesser included charge of manslaughter.

4:09 p.m. ET: De la Rionda puts up on screen what is needed for a person to be convicted of second-degree murder.

4:07 p.m. ET: Zimmerman knew the self-defense laws and knew what to tell police, says de la Rionda. The prosecutor also asks, "How many arms did Trayvon Martin need?" in order to accomplish everything Zimmerman said he did.

4:05 p.m. ET: De la Rionda pulls out the dummy and straddles it, with his knees near the dummy's armpits.

"How does he [Zimmerman] get the gun out? Armpits -- how does he get the gun out?" asked de la Rionda. "The truth does not lie."

4:03 p.m. ET: "I feel like it was all God’s plan and for me to second guess and judge it..." Zimmerman says in the interview. He also says he wouldn't have done anything differently if he had a second change.

"I don’t know that I need to comment about that. It speaks for itself," said de la Rionda.

4:01 p.m. ET: Zimmerman tells Fox News Martin first saw the gun when they were on the ground and Zimmerman's shirt pulled up.

3:59 p.m. ET: Fox News' Sean Hannity suggests in the interview that Martin may have been afraid, which is why he was running. Zimmerman says Martin was skipping, not running out of fear. De la Rionda skips in the courtroom.

3:58 p.m. ET: De la Rionda is now playing Zimmerman's interview with Fox News, where he says the reporter was giving him "homerun, easy questions."

3:54 p.m. ET: Investigator Chris Serino tells Zimmerman on the video that Martin had a right to defend himself if he saw Zimmerman reaching in his pocket and thought he was getting a weapon (Zimmerman says he was going for his phone).

3:51 p.m. ET: De la Rionda is now playing video of another one of Zimmerman's interviews with police. De la Rionda says Zimmerman was trying to impress them by using jargon and asking the officer how she keeps her firearm secured.

3:47 p.m. ET: "I guess the victim has two or three arms. See if that all makes sense, what he’s describing," said de la Rionda, as he continues playing Zimmerman's re-enactment with police.

3:46 p.m. ET: The prosecutor points out a sprinkler box on the video and asks if that could have caused some of Zimmerman's injuries.

3:40 p.m. ET: De la Rionda says Zimmerman was caught in a lie when he freely lists the name of the street Martin was walking down. The prosecutor says Zimmerman told police earlier that he didn't know the address, which is why he got out of his car.

"There’s only three streets and he’s lived there four years. Why did he have to lie about that?" asked de la Rionda.

3:38 p.m. ET: De la Rionda is playing parts of Zimmerman's re-enactment with police.

3:36 p.m. ET: Zimmerman called Martin a "suspect" because, according to de la Rionda, he wanted to impress police.

3:32 p.m. ET: De la Rionda shows a picture of Zimmerman's shoes, saying they're wet and have grass on them, which de la Rionda suggests shows Zimmerman wasn't on his back the entire time.

 

3:30 p.m. ET: Zimmerman tells police on the audio that he was going for his phone when Martin punched him. De la Rionda says this was an excuse Zimmerman made to explain how Martin got the upper hand.

"Was he going for his phone or was he going for a gun?" asked de la Rionda.

3:28 p.m. ET: De la Rionda says Zimmerman slips up at one point in his interview with police, saying he walked toward Martin, then switches to say Martin came at him. He says this shows Zimmerman was the aggressor.

3:26 p.m. ET: De la Rionda pulls out Zimmerman's gun for jurors and shows where Zimmerman had it holstered.

"Look at the gun, look at the size of this gun – how did the victim see it in the darkness?" asked de la Rionda. He also wants to know why Zimmerman put his gun away after shooting Martin, if he was still afraid of Martin.

3:23 p.m. ET: De la Rionda says it doesn't make sense that Martin could reach for Zimmerman's gun when he was using both hands to hit and smother Zimmerman.

3:21 p.m. ET: De la Rionda says Zimmerman was trying to convince police he didn't do anything wrong.

"Of course he hasn't taken his gun out, that would be illegal. He has the right to conceal it," said de la Rionda. "He's not in fear, he's just kind of wandering. Does that make sense?"

3:17 p.m. ET: Zimmerman says he doesn't know the street names and says Martin was circling his car.

"If he's really that in fear, why does he get out of the car?" asked de la Rionda.

3:16 p.m. ET: De la Rionda is playing Zimmerman's first interview with police. He says Zimmerman knew there wasn't any surveillance video taken of the shooting. Zimmerman told police he had hoped the shooting was recorded on video.

3:14 p.m. ET: "Now he wants you to let him off because he killed the only eyewitness, the victim, Trayvon Martin, who was being followed by this man, who had the right to defend him," said de la Rionda.

3:10 p.m. ET: The judge is back on the bench and the jury is being seated.

2:52 p.m. ET: The judge has recessed court for 15 minutes.

2:51 p.m. ET: If Zimmerman's mouth was full of blood and he was being smothered by Martin, then de la Rionda asks how he was able to scream for help.

"Or is he lying about that? I would submit to you that's another lie," said de la Rionda.

2:49 p.m. ET: De la Rionda points out how Martin's hands were under his body while Zimmerman said he got on Martin's back and spread his arms out after shooting him. A defense expert said Martin may have been able to move around for 10-15 seconds after being shot but de la Rionda questions if Martin would have been able to lift himself up and put his arms under his body.

"I don't know, you decide," said de la Rionda.

2:46 p.m. ET: One of Martin's sweatshirt strings is longer than the other and de la Rionda asks if this could be because Zimmerman was pulling on it.

2:45 p.m. ET: De la Rionda is showing more photos from the scene that captures Martin's phone, Zimmerman's flashlight and Martin's dead body on the ground. The prosecutor says the button on Martin's sweatshirt may have affected how the sweater was hanging on him.

2:43 p.m. ET: The prosecutor shows photos from the scene and says it's dark and raining but also points out there is no blood in the photos. He also brings up this question, in regards to Zimmerman saying his head was being bashed against the concrete: "Why isn't his jacket all torn up or at least scratched up?"

2:42 p.m. ET: "Who was following who? Who was chasing who? Who had the right, if they were being chased? Does the victim have the right to self-defense when he's being chased by this person?" asked de la Rionda.

2:40 p.m. ET: "There was a struggle at some point it appears... the defendant was on top and at some points the victim was on top... but why did it occur?" asked de la Rionda.

2:37 p.m. ET: De la Rionda says eyewitness John Good saw a struggle but never saw Zimmerman's hands. The prosecutor asks if Zimmerman already had his gun out at this point.

"Was he [Martin] trying to protect himself from that gun? Is that what the struggle was about? That at some point this defendant had the gun?" asked de la Rionda.

2:34 p.m. ET: "Poor defendant, poor George Zimmerman, he just kind of took it… he never did anything. Compare the sizes. Oh and at the last minute, he was able to take out that gun and he was able to just shoot him," said de la Rionda. "Oh but of course he’s just a pudgy, overweight man… but he’s the one who’s had MMA training of some time."

2:32 p.m. ET: "Poor defendant, poor George Zimmerman, he just kind of took it... he never did anything. Compare the sizes. Oh and at the last minute, he was able to take out that gun and he was able to just shoot him," said de la Rionda.

2:31 p.m. ET: An eye witness who had a good vantage point, according to de la Rionda, saw the "bigger man" on top and thought the yelling for help was coming from the younger person. This witness's name is Jane Surdyka.

2:28 p.m. ET: De le Rionda pulls up a map of Zimmerman's neighborhood.

"Of course he claims to not know the street he comes in on everyday, in and out," said de la Rionda.

2:27 p.m. ET: The part of the non-emergency call where Zimmerman says "these [expletive] always get away" is played. De la Rionda says it's ill will and hatred because Zimmerman was tired of the crimes and didn't want this guy to get away.

2:25 p.m. ET: De la Rionda says Jeantel did lie about her age, because she didn't want to come forward, and also lied about going to the funeral, because she didn't want to see Martin's body.

2:24 p.m. ET: "I had a dream… that today, a witness would be judged not on the color of her personality, but on the content of her testimony," said de la Rionda. He also says Jeantel's testimony matches up with the evidence.

2:20 p.m. ET: De la Rionda says jurors will be able to look at the prosecution's timeline in the case.

He then addresses Martin's friend, Rachel Jeantel, who was on the phone with him before he was shot.

"This young lady is not a very sophisticated person... but she’s a human being... Maybe her speech, language was a little colorful. But did she speak the truth? Because when you think of it, she was the person that was speaking to the victim and really the conversation that she had with the victim, nobody would know whether she’s telling the truth but her," said de la Rionda.

2:17 p.m. ET: "Do you believe he just assumed something but he kind of overreacted a little bit but it really wasn’t his fault Trayvon Martin is dead?" asked de la Rionda. "Who started this? Who followed who? Who was minding their own business? Who was the one who was armed and knew they were armed?"

2:16 p.m. ET: De la Rionda tells jurors how he thinks they should reach a verdict: Rely on the witness/testimony/evidence, rely on the law the judge reads to them and “you rely on your God-given common sense.” He tells them a just verdict is a guilty verdict.

2:14 p.m. ET: The prosecutor says it was good that Zimmerman wanted to be a police officer but that you can't take the law into your own hands -- that's why we have courtrooms. He thanks the jurors for their time and patience.

2:12 p.m. ET: De la Rionda says Zimmerman didn't do several things: Ask Martin if he needed help, roll down his window and identify himself as neighborhood watch, wait for police, wait inside his car.

"Use your God-given common sense," says de la Rionda.

2:10 p.m. ET: On a presentation, de la Rionda shows all of the assumptions he says Zimmerman made: That Martin didn't belong in the neighborhood, that he was a criminal and that he was one of those [expletive] who always get away.

2:09 p.m. ET: De la Rionda says Zimmerman has studied the law and what's required for self-defense.

2:07 p.m. ET: "He [Zimmerman] doesn’t know the main street you go in? Because see, when he admits something like that, it proves one thing, that he was following him [Martin]. That he had profiled him and he was following him. And that shows his guilt. It shows his actions, unfortunately, led to the death of Trayvon Martin," said de la Rionda.

"He, the defendant, silenced Trayvon Martin. But even in silence, his body provides evidence as to this defendant’s guilt... his body speaks to you and even in death it proves to you that this defendant is lying about what happened," said de la Rionda, who points out that no blood was found on Martin's hands.

2:05 p.m. ET: De la Rionda asks why Zimmerman "exaggerated everything that happened." Zimmerman kept denying that he followed Martin, according to de la Rionda, because he knew it would show ill will.

2:04 p.m. ET: "Do you have an innocent man before you? Is it really self-defense when you follow somebody? First of all, when you profile somebody incorrectly?" asked de la Rionda.

2:02 p.m. ET: "The law doesn’t allow people to take the law into their own hands," said de la Rionda. "This defendant didn't give Trayvon Martin a chance."

The prosecutor asks why Zimmerman got out of the car if he thought Martin was a threat.

"Why? Why, because he's got the gun, he has the equalizer," said de la Rionda.

2:01 p.m. ET: "The law talks about accountability and responsibility for one's actions... hold him accountable for what he did," said de la Rionda.

1:58 p.m. ET: Zimmerman had the right to have a concealed weapon, says de la Rionda. But he points out that Martin wasn't armed. He puts up a photo of Zimmerman, taken by police, alongside the last photo taken of Martin, during his autopsy.

1:56 p.m. ET: De la Rionda says Martin was probably more scared because a man was following him in his vehicle. But he says Martin can't come in and testify because of the actions of Zimmerman.

Zimmerman is showing no emotion during de la Rionda's closing argument.

1:54 p.m. ET: "He [Martin] was wearing a hoodie – last I heard that wasn’t against the law. But in this man’s eyes, he was up to no good. He presumed something that was not true," said de la Rionda. "It's good that citizens get involved but he went over the line."

The prosecutor is showing a presentation -- yellow text on a blue background -- as he speaks.

1:50 p.m. ET: The events leading up to Martin's death started months before, according to de la Rionda. He's playing Zimmerman's initial interview with police where starts off by telling investigators how the neighborhood has had a lot of crimes recently. On the audio, Zimmerman describes how he decided to start a neighborhood watch program.

"Now, those actions weren't anything sinister or terrible or evil or of ill will," said de la Rionda. "But in this particular case, it led to the death of an innocent 17-year-old boy because this defendant made the wrong assumption. He profiled him as a criminal. He assumed certain things, that Trayvon Martin was up to no good. And that is what lead to his death."

1:46 p.m. ET: De la Rionda shows jurors one of the last photos taken of Martin. He says Zimmerman didn't try to revive Martin after shooting him, like the police officer who gave Martin mouth-to-mouth without a barrier mask.

"Those actions speak volumes of what occurred that evening... they speak volumes of this defendant's actions," said de la Rionda.

1:43 p.m. ET: "A teenager is dead. He is dead through no fault of his own. He is dead because another man made assumptions. That man assumed certain things. He’s dead not just because the man made those assumptions – because he acted upon those assumptions. And unfortunately, unfortunately because his assumptions were wrong, Trayvon Benjamin Martin no longer walks on this earth," said de la Rionda.

1:42 p.m. ET: Prosecutor de la Rionda rests the state's case. The judge is now reading instructions to the jury about closing arguments.

1:39 p.m. ET: The jury is being seated. Our producer, who is inside the courtroom, says prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda has pulled out all the props, including a mannequin, Martin's hooded sweatshirt, etc. Zimmerman's parents and wife are in the courtroom as are Martin's parents and relatives.

1:37 p.m. ET: The judge tells prosecutors they need to officially rest in front of the jurors. The attorneys are at a sidebar.

1:34 p.m. ET: The judge is on the bench.

1:31 p.m. ET: One of our producers, who is inside the courtroom, says a plain-clothed investigator has brought in the mannequin that was used in demos on Wednesday.

1:11 p.m. ET: The judge has recessed court so that attorneys can finalize the wording in the jury instructions. She says closing arguments will now begin at 1:40 p.m. ET.

1:10 p.m. ET: Defense attorney Mark O'Mara is back in the courtroom, looking over West's shoulder as they flip through the instructions. O'Mara is giving the defense's closing argument and took the morning session to prepare.

1:09 p.m. ET: The verdict form should now have guilty of second-degree murder at the top, guilty of manslaughter after that and then not guilty as the third option. Only one lesser charge -- manslaughter -- will be going to the jury.

1:04 p.m. ET: The judge says she doesn't believe there's enough evidence to support putting third-degree felony charges in front of the jury. She's going to take it off the jury instructions.

1:02 p.m. ET: Prosecutor Richard Mantei is submitting more cases to the judge to support his argument of why the jury should be able to consider third-degree felony murder in this case.

1:00 p.m. ET: The judge is back on the bench.

11:54 a.m. ET: Nelson said she is going to recess for lunch, and when court resumes they will take up the issue of third-degree murder charge. The live blog will pick back up when court resumes at 1:00 p.m. ET.

11:50 a.m. ET: West asked the court to put the not guilty option on the first page of the verdict form. Nelson said she was not going to to that very flatly.

11:45 a.m. ET: Nelson now wants to move on to the verdict form that will be given to the jurors to fill out.

11:41 a.m. ET: West is arguing all the facts in the case that support Zimmerman was in great bodily harm. He says he was being punched in the face, and his head was being slammed on a sidewalk. West said the court is skating on "very thin ice" with the prosecution's definition of great bodily harm.

11:37 a.m. ET: The attorneys are now arguing over the definition of great bodily harm now.

11:34 a.m. ET: Nelson said it seems the issue with third-degree felony murder is whether the facts fit into the charge. If the facts fit Zimmerman will be charged with it as a matter of law, because the court does not have discretion on this matter.

11:33 a.m. ET: West says he has no objection to the manslaughter instruction so Nelson will give the standard instruction on Manslaughter.

11:31 a.m. ET: Nelson has rattled through several issues with the jury instructions without objections for either side. She has now moved back to the issue of third-degree felony murder charge on the basis of felony child abuse. She said she having an intent regarding Zimmerman's act. She said she is going to llok at that issue, and will give West some time to review the issue of third-degree felony issue.

11:28 a.m. ET: Nelson has moved on to the instructions regarding experts and how much they make. Nelson said she will not put give that instruction to the jurors.

11:25 a.m. ET: Nelson said she is not going to give the circumstantial evidence instruction to the jury.

11:24 a.m. ET: West has cautioned the court to not confuse the jury about the significance of circumstantial evidence.

11:20 a.m. ET: West said circumstantial evidence is not as reliable as direct evidence and the jury does need to know be told that in the instructions.

11:18 a.m. ET: West is arguing that a the jury should be given an instruction on circumstantial evidence. The prosecution has objected to the defense's instruction about the issue.

11:14 a.m. ET: Nelson has moved on to the jury instruction regarding circumstantial evidence.

11:11 a.m. ET: Nelson said she will not include that following Martin was a lawful activity in provocation instruction. She sternly told West not to continue to disagree after she has made a ruling. The defense will be allowed to tell the jury that following Martin the night of the shooting was lawful activity during closing arguments.

11:09 a.m. ET: Mantei said the jury should be free to consider the whether Zimmerman followed Martin when deciding who provoked the fight.

11:07 a.m. ET: West said if the jury thinks Zimmerman following Martin was illegal, but it wasn't and they must know it in the instructions or it will confuse the jury.

11:05 a.m. ET: Nelson is talking about how a comma needs to removed from the jury instructions, because the comma has caused cases to be reversed in the past.

11:02 a.m. ET: West said Zimmerman's actions of trying to help law enforcement cannot be considered provocation. Physical force or threat of physical force is provocation according to West.

10:58 a.m. ET: Mantei is arguing again that evidence exists that Zimmerman may have provoked the fight, and it is up to the jury to decide who provoked who the night of the shooting.

10:55 a.m. ET: Zimmerman is closing his eyes as the attorneys argue over who provoked who the night of the shooting.

10:53 a.m. ET: West said the facts do not support Mantei's accusation that Martin provoked the fight.

10:51 a.m. ET: The attorneys are now arguing about the jury instructions about what it means to provoke a fight, and its legal ramifications. Mantei said Zimmerman provoked the altercation, because he followed Martin the night of the shooting.

10:48 a.m. ET: Mantei said he says West definition of "justifiable use of deadly force" is applicable, but it is not the only definition like he is arguing.

10:44 a.m. ET: West called the prosecution definition of "justifiable use of deadly force" as another "trick." Nelson said she doesn't want to hear the word "trick" again.

10:42 a.m. ET: West is objecting to the prosecution's definition of "justifiable use of deadly force."

10:37 a.m. ET: Zimmerman has been taking notes as West argues passionately for his cause. Prosecutor Mantei has moved on to the self defense jury instructions.

10:35 a.m. ET: West is calling the prosecution's actions as a "trick." Nelson said she understands West's argument, and will come back to this issue. Nelson will give West some time to review the law, but not hours.

10:33 a.m. ET: Nelson said the law says that third-degree murder is a lesser included charge of second-degree murder.

10:32 a.m. ET: West appears to be very upset, and frustrated with the prosecution.

10:31 a.m. ET: West said the third-degree felony was sprung on him at the last minute, and he is not prepared to make an argument about the third-degree felony murder.

10:30 a.m. ET: "Just when I thought this case couldn't get anymore bizarre. The state is seeking third-degree murder based on child abuse. Is the court going to give this any serious contention or consideration, because if so we have a lot talking to do," said West.

10:26 a.m. ET: Mantei said the self-defense would apply to all the charges being considered in this case. West is now arguing before in the court.

10:23 a.m. ET: Mantei is now talking about the elements required of third-degree murder saying the jury must find the defendant was commiting a felony and as a result of the felony someone died.

10:20 a.m. ET: Mantei is explaining to the court multiple cases where third-degree murder was charged against the defendant.

10:16 a.m. ET: Mantei is buttressing his argument with examples from case law now.

10:14 a.m. ET: Mantei is arguing why Zimmerman should also be charged with third-degree felony murder. Mantei said the basis for the charge is that Zimmerman committed the felony of child abuse that resulted in death.

10:08 a.m. ET: Nelson said based on case law she will charge Zimmerman with manslaughter. Nelson is now asking if there are any objections the manslaughter jury instruction.

10:06 a.m. ET: Prosecutor Mantei is giving his argument as to why Florida law demands that lesser included charges in this case.

10:04 a.m. ET: Prosecutors are no longer seeking the lesser-included charge of aggravated assualt. They are now asking that Zimmerman be charged with third-degree felony murder.

10:03 a.m. ET: Nelson is asking Zimmerman if he undestands that his attorneys are objecting to the lesser included charges and that his attorney plans to argue during his closing argument that it's either second-degree murder or not guilty.

10:01 a.m. ET: Judge Nelson said she just wants uniformity in regards to George Zimmerman or defendant so it will be George Zimmerman throughout the jury instructions. Nelson is reading through the merged version of the jury instructions.

9:58 a.m. ET: Proseuctor Rich Mantei is objecting the defense's request to have any reference the defendant replaced with George Zimmerman throughout the jury instructions.

9:56 a.m. ET: Nelson is back on the bench, and West is bringing up an issue related to the charge of manslaughter, but says that can be addressed later.

The attorneys have merged a version of the jury instructions that merges the prosecution's and defense's drafts.

9:09 a.m. ET: Nelson has recessed court for 30 minutes to allow the parties to review both the prosecution's and the defense's proposed versions of jury instructions.

9:07 a.m. ET: West is explaining what he has done to the defense's suggested version of the jury instructions.

9:03 a.m. ET: Judge Debra Nelson is on the bench. Defense attorney Mark O'Mara is preparing his closing argument so he will not be present for the hearing this morning.

8:58 a.m. ET: Zimmerman is in the courtroom, and today's proceedings should begin shortly.

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