TODAY   |  June 25, 2013

Jury hears opening statements in Zimmerman trial

The six jury members selected for the second-degree murder trial of George Zimmerman heard opening remarks from prosecutors and the defense on Monday. The trial will resume today with witness testimony. NBC’s Kerry Sanders reports and legal analyst Lisa Bloom comments.

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>> be called to the stand this morning at the george zimmerman murder trial after an emotional opening day . one that included some head scratching moments from the defense . kerry sanders is at the courthouse in sanford, florida. good morning to you.

>> good morning. two different approaches in opening statements . the prosecutor charged head on with an emotional narrative of what the state says happened that february evening that trayvon martin was shot and killed. meantime, the defense says it was not going to use emotion but rather rely on facts. facts that they say prove that george zimmerman acted in self- defense .

>> reporter: setting the tone to an already tense case. they always get away. those were the words in that grown man's mouth. the prosecutor's opening remarks included george zimmerman 's own words. police recorded that the night zimmerman shot and killed 17-year-old trayvon martin in a fast paced 33 minute opening statement , the prosecutor told the jury zimmerman profiled martin that february evening last year.

>> george zimmerman did not shoot trayvon martin because he had to. he shot him because he wanted to.

>> reporter: trayvon's parents teared up as the prosecutors detailed what the state calls murder. in contrast, defense attorney don west included in his opening, a joke. knock knock , who is there? george zimmerman . george zimmerman who? all right. good, you're on the jury. nothing. that's funny.

>> reporter: west went on to recognize this is serious and later apologized. the defense team tells nbc news west did not rehearse the opening statement . george zimmerman is not guilty of murder. he shot trayvon martin in self- defense after being viciously attacked.

>> reporter: the defense opening statement much longer lasting two hours and 40 minutes.

>> trayvon martin armed himself with the concrete sidewalk and used it to smash george zimmerman 's head. no different than if he had picked up a brick or bashed a head against a wall. that is a deadly weapon.

>> reporter: the first four of what could be 200 witnesses have now testified. among those on the witness list, george zimmerman himself. his legal team tells nbc news, they're yet to decide whether he will take the stand in his own defense . meantime, we should note that george zimmerman is suing nbc universal , the parent of this network, nbc universal has strongly denied the allegations of defamation.

>>> kerry sanders , thank you. lisa bloom is today's legal analyst. good morning to you.

>> good morning.

>> let's start with style. the prosecutor gave what seemed to be a very tight emotional opening statement .

>> yes, powerful. beginning with those provocative words out of george zimmerman 's mouth.

>> the defense made a rather unorthodoxed choice in telling a knock knock joke . is this the sort of thing that the jurors will remember or hold against the defense ?

>> we finally found something that both sides in this case can agree upon. telling a knock knock joke is ill advised and insensitive and he did come back and apologize for it. i don't think the jury is going to hold it against him.

>> the defense had serious points to make. they're really arguing the forensics. do they have good points to make here?

>> they do. they go after the police procedures. they say his hands were not bagged. it was a rainy night . that could explain the lack of blood on his hands and point out that zimmerman was fully cooperative with police. answered every question and submitted to every test and did not lawyer up immediately.

>> we saw the defense highlight the injuries that george zimmerman sustained. that's right, the punch to the nose and the photo of his bloody face, that's important to show there was a fight and he was assaulted.

>> more to come on this story. thank you very much.