The George Zimmerman murder trial, live streaming online now, is beginning to come to an end as final arguments will be presented to the judge and jury today.
The prosecution on Thursday was seeking to broaden the judge’s charge to allow jurors to consider lesser charges than second-degree murder, which requires the proof that Zimmerman acted with ill will, spite or hatred in shooting Martin.
Earlier in the day, Seminole County Circuit Court Judge Debra Nelson ruled that jurors will be allowed to consider a manslaughter charge, as well as second degree-murder, but blocked a last-minute attempt by prosecutors to add third-degree murder to the list of charges.
Zimmerman, 29, is accused of second-degree murder in the February 26, 2012, death of Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old who was visiting his father in Zimmerman's Sanford, Florida, neighborhood.
Zimmerman stands accused of murdering Martin though he plead not guilty to the charge and claims to have acted in self-defense when the victim attacked him first. If convicted, Zimmerman could face life in prison.
The jury has already heard from Mr. Zimmerman, whose many statements to the police about the shooting were recorded and played in the courtroom, as was a televised interview that he gave to Sean Hannity.
On Wednesday afternoon, Judge Debra Nelson asked Zimmerman if he'd made a decision about taking the stand in his own defense.
"After consulting with counsel," Zimmerman replied, he'd decided "not to testify, your honor."
The murder case has captivated the nation because of its racial backdrop. The prosecution has been trying to paint the picture that Zimmerman shot Martin to death due to Zimmerman's alleged ill-feelings towards African-Americans.
Prosecutors said Mr. Zimmerman “profiled” Mr. Martin, a black 17-year-old who was wearing a hoodie and walking in the rain. They contend that he pursued Mr. Martin and began the confrontation that ended in the teenager’s death.
The defense lawyers called a widely known expert in forensic pathology, who stated that the trajectory of the bullet and Mr. Zimmerman’s injuries were consistent with Zimmerman’s account of how the struggle unfolded.
Jury deliberations are set to begin on Friday, July 12.