12 Jul 2013

Closing arguments begin in Zimmerman trial

10:35 am on 12 July 2013

The Zimmerman trial in Florida is entering its final phase.

Closing arguments have begun in the trial of George Zimmerman, 29, who is charged with the second-degree murder of Trayvon Martin, 17, on 26 February, 2012.

Seminole County Judge Debra Nelson told the six female jurors on Thursday that they could convict him of manslaughter, but ruled out a lesser charge of third-degree murder.

The accused says he shot the African American black teenager in self-defence in an Orlando suburb.

Police took six weeks to arrest him, which stoked racial tensions and spawned mass protests.

Defense lawyers are due to make their closing statements on Friday.