Five points from Day 1 of George Zimmerman trial

The first day of testimony in the murder trial of George Zimmerman delivered a series of powerful and, at times, cringe-inducing moments.

Here are the five most interesting takeaways:


Rambling man. Defense attorney Don West struggled through a more than two-hour opening statement that was unfocused, awkward and mired in hard-to-follow details.

West opened with a knock-knock joke about Zimmerman that fell flat. "Knock knock. Who's there? George Zimmerman. George Zimmerman who? All right, good. You're on the jury." Better fodder for lunching lawyers than jurors involuntarily separated from their lives and families until they reach a verdict.


Then he led the jury through a maze of evidence, but seemed at times to get lost himself. He did have a lot of ground to cover — a good position for the defense to be in. But all of those details painted a fuzzy picture.

Ears perked up a bit when West asserted that Trayvon Martin wasn't unarmed, but used the concrete sidewalk to bash Zimmerman's head as if he "picked up a brick."

Mostly, though, West was so boring even Zimmerman looked uninterested as he sat behind the defense table.

Shock value. If West's windy, seemingly endless opening statement was like sitting through "The English Patient," Prosecutor John Guy delivered the smooth-talking punch of "Casablanca."


The first word he spoke to the jury was the F-bomb followed by another profane term, this one anatomical in nature. It was an attempt to use Zimmerman's own words from his call to police to show that he was a "hate-filled" man who lied to police to justify why he shot Trayvon.

Then he laid out at least four examples of lies he said Zimmerman told police.

The state won its first-day showdown with the defense. But there's a long way to go and the state will need to back up its theatrics with evidence.

Where's the circus? When the trial started Monday morning the media parking lot was a bazaar of tents and RVs. And, as expected for opening statements, the seats in the courtroom were filled for the first time in weeks.

Absent were large groups of protesters or crowds jockeying for a last-minute spot in the gallery.

That's a departure from Central Florida's other big trial in recent years that attracted crowds and even campers. This case just doesn't have the splashy characters that make for the trashy headlines in the grocery market checkout line.

Defending the police. A recurring theme in the competing narratives about the case is the job done by Sanford Police.

Prosecutors on Monday went out of their way to paint a picture of a diligent police in Sanford. One officer, Guy said, wanted to begin CPR on Trayvon so quickly that he skipped using the required mouth piece because it was stored in his car.


He also emphasized how police handcuffed Zimmerman, took a number of photos of him and held him in custody at the police station for several hours.

Meanwhile, the defense is now starting to pick apart the work of Sanford police. West noted that police failed to place protective bags over Trayvon's hands to protect any DNA or other evidence that could have been on them.

No stand your ground. This case is all going to come down to whether the jury believes Zimmerman acted in self defense. There was plenty of talk about how the two fought. But guess what never once came up? The phrase that was used over and over for more than a year to explain why Zimmerman wasn't immediately arrested: Stand your ground. or 407-420-5448