Zimmerman trial joke prompts apology from defense attorney

Posted at 4:55 PM, Jun 25, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-25 16:55:04-04

NEW YORK (PIX11) – First came an opening argument full or profanity from the prosecution. Then a knock-knock joke from the defense that didn’t evoke much of a response.

It was a rough start to a highly-anticipated trial that divided the country after George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager.  The story was so broadly known, in fact, that the difficulty of finding neutral jurors was the subject of defense attorney Don West’s knock-knock joke.

“Knock knock. Who’s there? George Zimmerman. George Zimmerman who? Good, you’re on the jury,” he said.  West later apologized, saying, “No more bad jokes, I promise that,” joking, “I was convinced it was the delivery.”

George Zimmerman said he was defending his life against 17-year-old Trayvon Martin when he shot and killed the unarmed teen in Sanford, Florida last year.

Defense opens Zimmerman trial with ‘knock-knock’ joke

The prosecution said this 911 call said it all.

“Listen carefully when the screaming stops. It’s right when the gunshot goes off. Trayvon Martin was silenced immediately,” said John Guy.

The defense said it’s not clear who is yelling for help in that call.  A judge ruled expert testimony on the call, and it cannot be used in court.

“There are no monsters  here. Sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying,” said Defense Attorney Donald West. “Little did George Zimmerman know at the time that in less than 10 minutes from him first seeing Trayvon Martin that he George Zimmerman would be sucker punched in the face, have his head pounded on concrete,” said West.

“He pressed that gun into Trayvon Martin’s chest, and you will see with your own eyes burn marks on each of his sweatshirts when that hot lead passed through,” said Guy.

The family is asking for justice, but said they will always suffer.