George Graham

I Don’t Get the Point of the Zimmerman Defense

George Zimmerman has every right to fight as hard as he can for acquittal. But his defense attorneys baffle me. What on earth are they trying to prove? By embarrassing witnesses like Rachel Jeantel, what facts do they change?

I don’t think any of the following facts are in dispute:

  • Police told Zimmerman not to follow Trayvon Martin, who was breaking no law, causing no trouble and doing nothing suspicious.
  • Zimmerman, who was armed, took it upon himself to follow the unarmed teenager
  • They got into a fight.
  • Zimmerman shot Martin to death.

Does that add up to murder? It’s for a jury of his peers to decide.

If I were a juror, here is how I would see the case:

Neighborhood Watch people encounter strangers in their subdivisions from time to time, yet no fight ensues, and no one is shot to death. Here is what I imagine would have occurred under normal circumstances:

Zimmerman sees a suspicious looking stranger walking along a road in the subdivision where he is on duty. He approaches the stranger and asks, “What are you doing here?” Trayvon Martin says he is returning from the store to his father’s home. Zimmerman asks for the name and phone number of the boy’s father. Zimmerman calls Martin’s father, verifies the boy is staying there and goes back to his post.

The drama that resulted in Trayvon Martin’s death was totally unnecessary, and was not – by any stretch of the imagination – instigated by Trayvon Martin. There can be no doubt that Zimmerman was the aggressor, that he caused a confrontation and – for whatever reason – fatally shot the unarmed teenager.

It happens that the teenager was black, but whatever shade his skin might have been, whatever prejudices Zimmerman might harbor, Trayvon Martin was the victim of an armed assault. If I were on the jury, I would regard the assault as murder or, at the very least, manslaughter.

To argue that Zimmerman acted in self defense, even if he was losing that fight with Martin, is ludicrous.

Photo above shows Zimmerman with attorney Mark Omara.

Click here to read about the case.

Click here to read more about Rachel Jeantel.


About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for