By early Friday afternoon, jurors should be deliberating whether Neighborhood Watch volunteer George Zimmerman is a murderer. After nearly a year and a half of public debate about racial profiling and gun rights, six jurors – all women, five of them white – will decide whether Zimmerman killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in self-defense or committed a crime.
Zimmerman, 29, says he shot Trayvon after the unarmed Miami Gardens teen attacked him, bloodying and breaking his nose and pounding his head on a sidewalk. On Thursday Circuit Judge Debra S. Nelson must decide what jurors should consider in reaching their verdict.
Prosecutors charged Zimmerman with second-degree murder, but they also want the jury to consider two less serious charges: manslaughter and aggravated assault.