Zimmeran trial watchers weigh in with a wide range of opinions



As closing arguments wrap up the George Zimmerman murder trial, those who have closely been following it weigh in with their opinions of the proceedings.

Emotions are across the board. Some hope for a second-degree murder conviction, while others think Zimmerman should be convicted of manslaughter. Some think Zimmerman shouldn’t be convicted at all, while others have changed their minds mid-trial.

As prosecutors attempt to obtain a conviction of second-degree murder, some people agree, beyond reasonable doubt, that Zimmerman will be convicted.

“At this point, I am convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that he acted in rage, hatred, spite and indifference to humans,” said Frederick Gadson, of Miami.

Some questioned Zimmerman’s position as a neighborhood watch and what liberties that permitted him.

“Citizens are never encouraged to follow suspiscious persons or approach suspicious vehicles,” said Jay Barry, of Miami, who added that he believed Zimmerman was a little over zealous in his position as neighborhood watch.

The defense has stood behind a motive of self defense to justify Zimmerman’s actions. Some are not so convinced.

“Plain and simple, should he had listened to the 911 operator, we wouldn’t be here,” said Daniel Herrera, of Miami. “He purposely “stalked,” therefore throwing his self-defense out the window.”

Even still, others favor a lesser conviction of manslaughter, meaning Zimmerman killed without lawful justification, in comparison to the requirements for second-degree murder, in which prosecutors must prove Zimmerman showed ill will, hatred or spite. By Florida law, a manslaughter conviction can be as heavy as one of second-degree murder, resulting in up to life in prison.

“I think both sides have done and are doing a very poor job of trying to convince the American people, as well as the jury, that it was either self-defense or second-degree murder,” said Laverne Thomas, of Miami Gardens. “The best thing for both parties to do at this point is negotiatie and go for manslaughter.”

Race, too, has been a factor on everyone’s mind’s as they weigh just how influential a role it played in the crime.

Arturo Rodriguez, of Miami, thinks race was central to the development of the case.

“If the races had been reveresed, or both had been of the same race, there would be no trial,” he said. “There is a man on trial for murder because his circumstances fit the narratives of blacks as victims.”

Chip Kerr agrees with Zimmerman’s innoncence.

“As I hear more and more details about the case, I favor more and more Mr. Zimmerman being acquitted,” said Kerr, of Hollywood.

Read more Zimmerman Case stories from the Miami Herald

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