Expletives and a knock-knock joke: Opening statements in the George Zimmerman trial kicked off June 24 with prosecutor John Guy using Zimmerman's own words against him. "[Expletive] punks," said Guy. "They always get away." Guy was referring to a statement Zimmerman made on a non-emergency call to police when he spotted Trayvon Martin shortly before he shot the teenager.
After Guy finished his opening statement, attorney Don West laid out the defense's case. "This is a sad case, of course," West said. "A young man lost his life, another is fighting for his." After that, West 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 -- and West later apologized, saying, "No more bad jokes, I promise that. I was convinced it was the delivery."
Rachel Jeantel in Trayvon Martin’s words: He said "Get off, get off:"As Martin walked back from the store to the home of his dad's fiancee, he was talking on the phone with his friend, Rachel Jeantel.
The prosecution's star witness testified for two days about the final moments of Martin's life, saying he told her someone was following him. Jeantel's testimony is key to the State's case that Zimmerman was the aggressor in the confrontation.
"He said the man kept watching him. He kept complaining that a man was just watching him," she told jurors.
When Jeantel asked Martin what the man looked like, she said he told her the man "looked creepy." "Creepy, white -- excuse my language -- cracker. Creepy [expletive] cracker."
Jeantel said she heard Martin talking to Zimmerman in the background of the call. "He said, 'Why are you following me for?' And I heard a hard-breathing man say, 'What you doing around here?'"
Jeantel also said she heard a bump from Martin’s headset hitting something and "wet grass sounds."
"I start hearing a little bit of Trayvon saying, 'Get off, get off!'" said Jeantel.
The defense went after Jeantel regarding the consistency of the statements she has given about the case. When cross-examined by West, Jeantel appeared to get frustrated and agitated by his questions, often rolling her eyes on the stand and smirking when West had his back turned.
When West suggested they break for the day so she would have more time to review her deposition transcript, she defiantly told him, "No, I'm leaving today."
When West asked Jeantel if she was refusing to come back the following day, Judge Debra Nelson stepped in and asked West to keep the questions and answers to Jeantel's testimony.
Zimmerman tells his story to jurors again and again -- without taking the stand: There is one living person who knows what happened the night Trayvon Martin died: George Zimmerman. He told the court he didn't want to testify, but jurors still heard Zimmerman's story in his own words as his interviews with police were played in court.
Zimmerman also did a videotaped walk-through at the scene of the shooting, pointing out where he first saw Martin, how they watched each other and how the teen allegedly circled back and disappeared before allegedly re-appearing to confront the neighborhood watch captain.
Zimmerman said Martin approached him and, after a verbal confrontation, Martin punched him in the nose. After Zimmerman fell to the ground, he said that's when Martin got on top of him and allegedly slammed his head against the concrete sidewalk.
"I tried to defend myself," Zimmerman said in his first interview the night of the shooting. "He just started punching me in the face, and I started screaming for help. I couldn't see. I couldn't breathe."
Zimmerman also said Martin noticed he was armed with a gun and tried to reach for it.
"I felt his arm going down my side, and I grabbed it. I grabbed my firearm, and I shot him one time," Zimmerman told police.
Zimmerman repeated much of his story again in an interview with Fox News, which was also aired for jurors.
Lead investigator says Zimmerman was telling the truth:At one point during his interview with Zimmerman, Sanford Police Officer Chris Serino bluffed that Martin's cell phone may have captured video of the incident.
"I believe [Zimmerman’s] words were, 'Thank God, I was hoping somebody would videotape it,'" said Serino. "Either he was telling the truth, or he was a complete pathological liar. One of the two."
Serino says nothing indicated to him that Zimmerman was a liar, in general.
"You think he was telling the truth?" asked O'Mara, point blank.
"Yes," said Serino.
The next morning, the judge asked jurors to disregard that statement by Serino, saying he's not allowed to testify about the credibility of another witness. But Serino also told them he didn't believe there was "active deception" on the part of Zimmerman when he told police what had happened that night.
Eyewitness says Martin had Zimmerman in a “ground and pound:"Prosecutors called Jonathan Good to the stand, which surprised many legal experts who believed he was the defense's star witness.
Good is the only witness to testify about the actual fight between Martin and Zimmerman. Several other witnesses said they only heard the scuffle or saw the pair on the ground after the gun was fired.
Good says he was about 15 to 20 feet away from the fight, which he viewed for less than 10 seconds. It seemed to him like the person on the bottom was yelling for help.
The person on top “straddling” the person on the bottom, according to Good, was moving their hands in a downward striking motion that looked like what he called a "ground and pound," a term associated with MMA or mixed-martial arts fighting.
"It looked like that position was a ground-and-pound type position, but I couldn't tell 100% that there were actually fists hitting faces," Good said.
Good's testimony may help support Zimmerman's story that Martin was hitting his head against the concrete, causing him to fear for his life before he fired the shot that killed the teen.
Zimmerman studied criminal justice, applied to become a police officer:The prosecution sought to show that Zimmerman was a "wannabe cop" who attacked Martin without provocation. To support this argument, they submitted evidence that Zimmerman was studying criminal justice, had applied to be a police officer in Virginia (his application was rejected) and signed a release waiver to ride along with the Sanford Police Department.
Zimmerman also insisted in an interview with Fox News last year that he hadn’t heard of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law until after he shot Martin. But his criminal litigation instructor testified that he covered Florida’s self-defense laws extensively in his class.
"It's not one of those things that you're just going to whisk through in a day,” said Alexis Carter, who is now a military prosecutor. “It’s something that I constantly iterated... it was something that I think the students really wanted to know about, it was so practical, they were very much engaged in class discussion.”
Martin and Zimmerman's mothers say that's my son screaming for help: The mothers of Zimmerman and Martin both claimed screams for help heard on a 911 call made the night of the shooting were those of their sons.
Identifying the voice is considered key to proving whether Zimmerman or Martin was the aggressor the night the 17-year-old was shot and killed.
On July 5, prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda played the 911 call for Sybrina Fulton, Martin's mother. When de la Rionda asked Fulton if she recognized the screaming voice, Fulton said it belonged to "Trayvon Benjamin Martin." During cross-examination, defense attorney Mark O'Mara asked Fulton, "As his mother, there was no doubt it was him screaming?" She told him, " Absolutely."
Hours later, the defense called Gladys Zimmerman as its first witness. O'Mara played the 911 call and asked her if she could tell whose voice is on the recording. She said it was the voice of "George."
When asked by O'Mara how she could be certain, she replied, " I know because he's my son."
O'Mara said at a press conference after the day's testimony that both mothers may indeed hear their own son's voice on the 911 call.
"We have to treat them as the grieving parents they are in different ways," he said.
Zimmerman’s trainer calls him “soft,” says he can’t punch:The man who trained Zimmerman to fight testified that the former neighborhood watch captain didn’t know how to throw a punch after training for almost a year.
"He was -- and I don’t really like to use this terminology -- soft, just physically soft. He was an overweight, large man -- and a very pleasant, nice man -- but physically soft," said Adam Pollock.
Zimmerman started taking grappling classes where Pollack said trainers teach chokeholds, arm locks and leg locks to students. "Basically make the person say, 'Uncle,'" according to Pollock.
After his school schedule changed, Zimmerman moved on to boxing training, where he didn’t advance beyond learning how to jab, according to Pollock.
When asked what level Zimmerman was at right before the shooting, Pollock said, "He's still learning how to punch. He didn't really know how to effectively punch.”
"Did he ever get to the point where he could box somebody else?" asked defense attorney Mark O'Mara.
"Absolutely not," said Pollock.
Tempers flare as court drags late into the night:Attorneys argued so late one night that the courtroom lights, set on an automatic timer, shut off, leaving them in darkness. They also had to request that the judge extend Zimmerman's 10 p.m. curfew to accommodate the late-night hearing.
They were arguing about two pieces of evidence the defense wanted admitted before it rested its case: Texts said to be from Martin's phone that allegedly show he had a history of fighting and wanted to purchase a gun, and a 3D animation created by a defense expert that re-creates the altercation between Zimmerman and Martin.
The judge recessed court right before 10 p.m. ET without making a decision, which caused the defense attorneys to vent their frustrations. O'Mara said delaying the decision meant they couldn't prepare their witnesses for the next day. West said the trial's schedule was wearing on him. "I'm not physically able to keep up this pace much longer," he said at one point as the judge walked off the bench. "It's 10 o'clock at night. We started this morning. We've had full days every day, weekends, depositions at night."
The next morning, the judge decided the texts were out and the animation could only be used as a demonstration -- not as a piece of evidence that jurors could play over and over in the deliberation room.
The defense had also fought hard earlier in the trial to get Martin's toxicology report before the jury. It shows that the teen had THC, or marijuana, in his system the the night he was shot. The judge said she would allow it if they could show what affect it might have had on the teen, but the defense never put that evidence before the jury.
Attorneys get physical in the courtroom -- with a dummy: Both the prosecution and the defense straddled a mannequin in front of jurors in an attempt to demonstrate their theories of how the altercation between Zimmerman and Martin went down.
Prosecutor John Guy raised questioned about the angles of the two bodies, suggesting that Martin was pulling away when the shot entered his chest at a 90-degree angle. He also asked how Zimmerman could have reached for his gun if Martin's legs were above his bellybutton.
Defense attorney O'Mara demonstrated several positions where Zimmerman would have had access to his gun with Martin on top of him. He also hit the dummy's head over and over on the courtroom floor, simulating how he believes the injuries were caused to Zimmerman.
There were several other incidents throughout the trial where attorneys got physical with witnesses or just with themselves. Prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda put his hand over the mouth of Chris Serino, the former lead investigator on the case from the Sanford police. De la Rionda wanted to know how blood didn't end up on Martin's hands if he was smothering and punching Zimmerman's bloody nose.
O'Mara also attempted to show, on himself, how Martin could have punched Zimmerman with his left hand, which is how the animation depicts the scene in his 3D video.
Zimmerman's trainer, Pollock, got on top of O'Mara at one point in the trial, showing him what a "ground and pound" looks like.
And prosecutor Guy got on his back, holding his fingers like a gun, to show how a person laying on their back could shoot their gun at multiple angles.