George Zimmerman was merely a good citizen looking out for his neighborhood when he was confronted and attacked by Trayvon Martin in February 2012.
So his defense attorneys claimed in opening statements Monday, in a stark contrast to prosecutors' picture of a vigilante who profiled the Florida teen.
Zimmerman, 29, a former neighborhood watch volunteer, is on trial for second-degree murder; he claims he shot the teen in self-defense in Sanford, Fla.
"George Zimmerman is not guilty of murder," his attorney, Don West, said.
"He shot Trayvon Martin in self-defense after being viciously attacked. The evidence will show you how and why it happened the way he did."
West described the case as "sad," and said, "there are no monsters here."