Zimmerman is essentially trying to elicit sympathy from the judge, potential jurors, the public and Martin's parents. Also, his lawyer is attempting to humanize him. If Zimmerman actually thought the 17-year-old Martin was an adult, then perhaps he had a reason to fear him.
But, is Zimmerman telling the truth? Zimmerman is 28. Today he said he thought Martin was just a bit younger than he. But during a 911 call made moments before Martin's death, Zimmerman said he believed that Martin was in his late-teens. Thus, Zimmerman was pretty accurate about Martin's age. The audio tape of the 911 call appears below this post.