Volunteer neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman has lied repeatedly about the fatal shooting last year of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin and killed him "because he wanted to" not in self-defense, a Florida prosecutor said at Zimmerman's murder trial on Monday.
In a fiery opening statement, Assistant State Attorney John Guy said the evidence would show that Zimmerman had spun "a tangled web of lies" about the shooting in a gated community in the central Florida town of Sanford.
The killing triggered nationwide protests because Zimmerman was not immediately arrested and walked free for six weeks, after claiming he acted in accordance with Florida's self-defense laws when Martin attacked him.
Zimmerman's lawyer Don West, in his opening statement in Seminole County Court, repeated many of the claims that have already been heard from Zimmerman, his family and lawyer.
"There are no monsters here," West said, contesting Guy's description of his client as a would-be cop who was trained in martial arts and kick boxing and used "hate-filled" speech to describe an innocent young man.
Zimmerman, 29 and part Hispanic, was the neighborhood watch captain in the Retreat at Twin Lakes community in Sanford at the time of the killing on Feb. 26, 2012. He has pleaded not guilty to the charge of second-degree murder and could face life imprisonment if convicted.
Martin, 17, was a student at a Miami-area high school and a guest of one of the homeowners in the Retreat at Twin Lakes.
He was walking back to the residence after buying snacks at a nearby convenience store when he was shot in the chest during a confrontation with Zimmerman.
Much of what happened during Martin's fatal encounter with Zimmerman is still a mystery. Neighbors who witnessed the scuffle and the fatal shot, albeit on a rainy night, are expected to testify during the trial.
"George Zimmerman did not shoot Trayvon Martin because he had too. He shot him for the worst of all reasons, because he wanted too," said Guy, the prosecutor, during a 33 minute-long opening statement.
As he spoke, Zimmerman, who is out on bail and appeared in court wearing a charcoal gray suit, showed no emotion as he look straight ahead and away from the prosecutor.
The prosecutor also told the jury, however, that there was no actual evidence to support the claim that Martin had attacked Zimmerman. No blood or DNA from Zimmerman was found on Martin's hands or elsewhere on his body or clothing, Guy said, despite Zimmerman's claims that Martin punched him to the ground and covered his bleeding, broken nose with his bare hands as he pounded his head into the ground.
© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.