independent

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Black youth shot dead 'on a whim'

US neighbourhood watch volunteerGeorge Zimmerman denies murdering a black youth (AP)

An American neighbourhood watch volunteer shot dead an unarmed black youth simply because he wanted to, a court heard today.

George Zimmerman used obscenities in an emergency call as he stalked 17-year-old Trayvon Martin across a Florida gated community.

"F------ punks. These a-------. They always get away," he told police in the call.

Prosecutor John Guy told the jurors that Zimmerman decided Trayvon was "someone about to commit a crime in his neighbourhood." He added: "George Zimmerman didn't shoot Trayvon Martin because he had to,. He shot him for the worst of all reasons: because he wanted to."

Trayvon was walking in the community where his father's fiancee lived when Zimmerman saw him in February last year. There had been a rash of recent break-ins and Zimmerman was wary of strangers walking through the complex.

The two eventually got into a struggle and Zimmerman shot Trayvon in the chest with his 9mm handgun. He was charged 44 days after the shooting, only after a special prosecutor was appointed to review the case and after protests. The delay in the arrest prompted protests nationwide.

Mr Guy described Zimmerman, who is Hispanic, as someone who wanted to be a police officer, and he dismantled the story Zimmerman told investigators about what happened during the fight.

Zimmerman's claim that Trayvon put his hands over the volunteer's mouth was false since none of Zimmerman's DNA was found on Martin's body, Mr Guy said. The prosecutor also said Zimmerman's claim that he had to fire because Martin tried to grab his gun is false since none of the dead boy's DNA was on the gun or holster.

Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, claiming self-defence.

Press Association

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