George Zimmerman stands next to defense counsel Don West during his trial in Seminole circuit court July 5, 2013 in Sanford, Florida. Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder for the February 2012 shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. (Photo by Gary W. Green-Pool/Getty Images)
Yamiche Alcindor, USA TODAY
SANFORD, Fla. - The defense team takes center stage Monday in the murder trial of former neighborhood watch member George Zimmerman, accused of second-degree murder in the February 2012 shooting of Trayvon Martin.
The defense case represents the second part of a trial in which for two weeks prosecutors cast Zimmerman, now 29, as an aggressor who profiled and murdered Trayvon, 17. The jury will weigh the prosecutors' version of events against the defense's story of a man who, while trying to be a good neighbor, was attacked by a teen and shot him in self-defense.
"There's enormous evidence that my client acted in self-defense,'' Mark O'Mara, Zimmerman's attorney, said last week. "There is no other reasonable hypothesis."
The defense case drew controversy before it began. Assistant State Attorney Richard Mantei asked Circuit Judge Debra Nelson for a hearing about one defense witness, not identified in the legal motion, who Mantei says plans to present a "computer animated 're-enactment'" of the shooting.
The defense witness revealed in a July 2 deposition that he or she had created the animation and showed prosecutors still frames of the creation. The animation does not "represent a complete or accurate record of the evidence," Mantei wrote, adding that the state thinks the animation is "speculative and irrelevant."
Mantei also said the animation doesn't accurately depict the lighting on he night of the shooting, "deliberately fails to show or even symbolize the murder weapon," and relies on Zimmerman's version of events for the positioning of bodies during the struggle.
Mantei also said the animation was completed by Zimmerman's defense team using employees wearing "motion capture suits." The animation includes audio from 911 calls, assumed positions of witnesses, and fails to include witnesses who contradict Zimmerman's story, Mantei said.
The state prosecutor argues the animation, if admitted, would be "prejudicial and confusing to the jury."