The lead attorney for George Zimmerman began his opening statement with a knock-knock joke to the jury that didn’t have the panel laughing.
Don West heard crickets after telling the all-female jury deciding Zimmerman’s fate the following joke:
“Knock knock. Who's there? George Zimmerman. George Zimmerman who? Good, you're on the jury," the attorney said at the start of his opening statement. The jury didn’t respond to the joke.
West later apologized for his attempt at humor.
"No more bad jokes, I promise that," he told the jury, according to CNN.
Zimmerman’s trial began with opening statements Monday. The 29-year-old was charged in April 2012 with second-degree murder in the February 2012 death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in a case that ignited a debate about race and racial profiling in America.
Zimmerman, who is half white and half Hispanic, shot Trayvon, a black teenager, during a struggle on the streets of Sanford, Fla. Zimmerman, a volunteer community watchman, claimed he acted in self-defense when he shot Martin, while Florida prosecutors argued that he murdered the 15-year-old.
Zimmerman believed Trayvon, who was wearing a hoodie, was acting suspiciously as the teen exited a 7-Eleven in Sanford after buying a bag of Skittles and a drink. Zimmerman called 911 to report Trayvon’s behavior. Although a dispatcher to let authorities handle the situation, Zimmerman continued to pursue the teen when the struggle ensued.
During his opening statements in the Zimmerman trial, prosecutor John Guy said the evidence will indicate to the jury that Zimmerman’s conduct amounted to murder.
"We are confident that at the end of this trial you will know in your head, in your heart, in your stomach that George Zimmerman did not shoot Trayvon Martin because he had to," Guy said, referring to the defense’s self-defense argument. "He shot him for the worst of all reasons, because he wanted to."
West said the evidence will lead the jury to acquit Zimmerman of murder.
"The evidence will show this is a sad case; no monsters here. ... George Zimmerman is not guilty of murder. He shot Trayvon Martin after he was viciously attacked,” he said.