West Ashley resident Mike Hodges came downtown today to get a haircut. But there was no escaping the George Zimmerman murder trial, where closing arguments were being shown on the TV hanging on the wall at the Lab Barbershop on Spring Street.

“I think people watch it in the interest of justice,” said Hodges 47, adding that he would be okay if the case resulted in a lesser manslaughter conviction, as opposed to outright murder.

To Hodges, there isn’t a shred of entertainment value in seeing the trial covering the death of teen-ager Trayvon Martin being broadcast live. “A life has been taken” that belonged essentially to a child, he said.

Around Charleston, exposure to the closing arguments ranged from “glued-to-the-TV” to watching from the periphery.

In West Ashley, Doris Williams hoped that the merits of the case win out, and that the outcome is not influenced by the racial differences that have surrounded the trial, its participants and the jurors.

“I hope that’s not true in 2013, but it’s something to consider,” she said today.

The jury began deliberations just moments ago, at around 2:30 p.m.