The racially-charged case and surrounding controversy over so-called Stand Your Ground self-defense laws, led to widespread media attention when Sanford, Florida police didn't arrest Zimmerman after the shooting, citing his self-defense claim.
Zimmerman was later charged with second degree murder by a special prosecutor.
West told jurors that Zimmerman is not guilty, and instead "shot Trayvon Martin in self-defense after being viciously attacked."
Then West told a knock-knock joke: George Zimmerman who? "Alright, good. You're on the jury."
The ill-concieved joke was a reference to lengthy difficulties during jury selection, due to potential jurors having already been influenced by intense media coverage of the homicide.
Earlier, prosecutor John Guy began his opening statement -- the first words of the day -- with a profanity quoted from Zimmerman's phone call to police reporting a suspicious person the night of the shooting: "F---ing punks. These a--holes always get away."
UPI Almanac for Monday, Oct. 20, 2014
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