Still, many legal experts say the case is the defense teams to lose. The state will have a tough time proving ill will, hatred, spite, or an evil intent needed to convict on a charge of second-degree murder. But jurors also might reach a compromise verdict by convicting Zimmerman of a less-serious offense such as manslaughter, a result prosecutors may be considering.
I have no doubt theyre shooting for a manslaughter, Baez said.
An acquittal is also possible, given the evidence the defense is likely to introduce. Defense attorneys Mark OMara and Don West will likely point to Zimmermans cooperation with police and his consistent claims that Trayvon was bashing his head on concrete.
Also crucial for the defense: Police photos from that night show injuries to the back of Zimmermans head. He was also treated for a fractured nose, according to the defense.
I think the injuries Zimmerman clearly had explains why he wasnt arrested on the spot, said defense attorney Jeffrey Weiner, who had the first Miami murder case thrown out by a judge under the Stand Your Ground immunity law after it was enacted in 2005.
It raises reasonable doubt. This wasnt just a little scratch. These were serious injuries. I think Mr. Zimmerman has an excellent opportunity to be found not guilty.
Zimmerman himself could play a key role by taking the stand. He chose not to seek an immunity hearing, in which he most likely would have had to testify before the judge.
The move was a double-edged sword, lawyers say. If he takes the stand at trial, Zimmerman may be less prepared for a scathing cross examination. But so will prosecutors.
And theres no guarantee Zimmerman would come across as likeable or believable on the stand.
It may well be that the evidence comes out, and the defense feels that there is reasonable doubt. They may feel theres no need to risk it by putting their client on, Weiner said.