ST. LOUIS, MO. (KTVI) – George Zimmerman’s attorneys are earning praise in St. Louis for building his case of self-defense in his trial on a murder charge for shooting and killing Trayvon Martin, in Florida, in February of 2012.
Yet, even those you might expect to support Zimmerman, were seeing things from the other side in the wake of the Saturday night`s `not guilty` verdict.
‘We respect the jury`s verdict. Really what it boils down to is a kid minding his own business being followed by a stranger. That`s not a theory, that`s the facts,’ said prosecutor, Bernie De La Rionda, after losing his case.
‘That really touches a nerve for a lot of people,’ said St. Louis University Law Professor, Sue McGraugh, who specializes in criminal defense.
Yet, she was hardly surprised jurors found Zimmerman `not guilty`.
His team was able to get a computer generated re-enactment of his version of events and a theatrical demonstration of the alleged beating Zimmerman suffered, with Zimmerman`s attorney straddling a dummy as if it were Zimmerman, before the jurors.
So, even though he shot and killed a 17 year old armed with nothing more than Skittles candy, Zimmerman`s team weaved a plausible story of self-defense, McGraugh said.
‘People want to hear a story. They don`t want to hear isolated facts. The defense was able to give them a story. The prosecution really didn`t make an effort in creating an alternative version of events, or an alternative story,’ McGraugh said.
Even if this was the perfect case of self-defense, it had defense attorneys across the country flipped over to the other side, rooting for the prosecution, because what was at the heart of it mattered most: a kid walking through the neighborhood on his way home from buying Skittles, should not end up dead.
‘A lot of my colleagues have been disappointed in the verdict. That`s unusual,’ McGraugh said, maintaining that defense attorneys often dealt most directly with the racial overtones of criminal case.
‘Is this what we`ve come to that every 17 year old African American male is suspicious just because of their race and their age and the fact that they had on a `hoodie`? ‘ she said.
Still, those attorneys stand by a system where ‘stand your ground’ can carry more weight than ‘what if it was my kid?’