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Watchman killed US teenager because he wanted to, court told

By David Usborne

A Florida prosecutor has told jurors that the neighbourhood watchman George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin ( 17) last year not in self-defence but "because he wanted to".

The trial of Mr Zimmerman had barely begun yesterday when prosecutor, John Guy, shared some of the language the defendant used in a first call to emergency services after spotting Trayvon on the night of the killing. Phrases captured on tape, he said, included, "f**king punks, these assholes always get away".

Quickly on view in the Sanford Criminal Courthouse was the distance between the two versions of what transpired on the night of 26 February last year, which has already divided public opinion across America.

Mr Zimmerman (29), who has Hispanic heritage, has pleaded innocent to the charges of second degree murder. His lawyers contend he fired his gun only after being assaulted.

"There are no monsters here," Don West, a defence lawyer, said in his opening statement, denying the contention that his client had chased and then confronted Trayvon, who was black, in part because of his race.

"George Zimmerman is not guilty of murder. He shot Trayvon Martin in self-defence after being viciously attacked." He added: "He shot Trayvon Martin because he had to, in self-defence". The trial continues. © Independent News Service)

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