crimes and misdemeanors

The George Zimmerman Trial Is Almost Over

SANFORD, FL- JUNE 29: George Zimmerman sits in a Seminole County courtroom during his bond hearing on June 29, 2012 in Sanford, Florida. Zimmerman is charged with second degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. (Photo by Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel-Pool/Getty Images)
Photo: Pool/2012 Getty Images

Closing arguments are scheduled to begin this afternoon in the murder trial of George Zimmerman, who shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida last year. Zimmerman declined to testify in the high-profile case, which has basically taken over CNN, but a gunshot-wound expert told the jury that Martin was likely on top of Zimmerman when he was shot, in line with the defense’s version of events. A judge will decide today whether the all-female, six-person jury can consider lesser charges against Zimmerman, including manslaughter and aggravated assault instead of solely second-degree murder, which requires “ill will, hatred or spite.” Zimmerman’s lawyer argued, “What George did was an intentional act that he knew he was pulling the trigger, the reason why he did it was self defense and that doesn’t suggest the manslaughter charge would be appropriate.”

Update: The jury can consider manslaughter.

Update II: But not murder in the third-degree, as “child abuse.”

The George Zimmerman Trial Is Almost Over