George Zimmerman's defense attorney Mark O’Mara told the jury during his closing arguments on Friday that they would be taking a break after nearly 1 hour and 20 minutes. He then set a timer for four minutes and let the jury ponder.
“That’s how long Trayvon Martin had to run. About four minutes,” O’Mara said, referring to the time that the unarmed black teen started to run and the time of the first 911 call about the fight between Martin and Zimmerman, who identifies himself as Hispanic. “He had four minutes. He told [witness] Rachel Jeantel that he was running.”
O’Mara’s tactic was intended to place doubt in the case against Zimmerman. In the highly publicized case, Florida state prosecutors are arguing that the volunteer community watchman murdered Martin. The defense claims Zimmerman, 29, was acting in self-defense when he shot and killed the 17-year-old teenager.
The 4-minute pause was also used to argue that Martin had enough time to get to his father’s home in Sanford, Fla., whom he was visiting on the night he was killed.
Before a 15-minute recess, O’Mara left the jury with this:
“Did they [prosecutors] show you, tell you, explain to you, give you any insight whatsoever on what Trayvon Martin was doing four minutes before that fight started at the T intersection?” he asked. “Do you have a doubt as to what Trayvon Martin was doing and what he must have been thinking for four minutes?
Whether or not the jury will answer those questions in the affirmative is yet to be seen. The six all-female jurors are expected to have the case in their hands by the end of the day.
The jury can consider either murder or manslaughter charges if they find Zimmerman guilty. Florida Circuit Judge Debra Nelson allowed prosecutors on Thursday to add the manslaughter charge. Some legal observers said the prosecution's move may be an indication that they don’t believe the jury will convict Zimmerman of murder.