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Jurors: Zimmerman Not Guilty Of 2nd-Degree Murder

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email
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Associated Press Release

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- The special state's attorney whose office prosecuted the second-degree murder case against George Zimmerman says she is disappointed a jury found Zimmerman not guilty.

But State Attorney Angela Corey said Saturday night that she believed the charge was appropriate because Zimmerman's mindset "fit the bill of second-degree murder."

George Zimmerman blinked and barely smiled as the six-member, all-woman jury announced its verdict following more than 15 hours of deliberations over two days.

Martin's mother and father were not inside the courtroom when the verdict was read, but supporters of Martin's family who had gathered outside the courthouse yelled out "No! No!"

The jury had been given the chance to convict Zimmerman of manslaughter but did not do so, despite asking for a clarification of the charge earlier in the evening.

Zimmerman's wife, Shellie Zimmerman, had tears in her eyes after the six-member, all-woman jury delivered its verdict Saturday night.


July 13, 2013, 10pm

George Zimmerman Found Not Guilty


July 13, 2013, 9:50pm

A verdict has been reached in the George Zimmerman murder trial


Associated Press Release
By: MIKE SCHNEIDER and KYLE HIGHTOWER

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- A jury is starting deliberations in the murder trial of neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, who fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin last year.

Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder, but the jury will also be allowed to consider manslaughter. Under Florida's laws involving gun crimes, a conviction on either could mean life in prison.

The jurors have been sequestered during the past three weeks. Because there were no eyewitnesses to the shooting, jurors will likely rely heavily on testimony from police, neighbors, friends and family members. The testimony was often conflicting.

Jurors will have to determine whether Zimmerman took the law into his own hands or was in a fight for his life and shot Martin in self-defense.


Associated Press Release
By: MIKE SCHNEIDER and KYLE HIGHTOWER

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- A prosecutor in George Zimmerman's murder trial has ended his rebuttal, saying the neighborhood watch volunteer told a series of lies in his statements about shooting Trayvon Martin.

Prosecutor John Guy argued that Zimmerman repeatedly lied about the shooting of the unarmed 17-year-old Martin.

His rebuttal came after defense attorney Mark O'Mara said prosecutors had failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman committed second-degree murder.

Jurors are taking a lunch break, and when they return Judge Debra Nelson will read them jury instructions.

The six jurors will then begin deliberations.


Associated Press Release
By: MIKE SCHNEIDER and KYLE HIGHTOWER

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- The prosecution has begun it's rebuttal to the defense's closing arguments in George Zimmerman's second-degree murder trial.

Prosecutor John Guy on Friday began countering defense attorney Mark O'Mara's contention that Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin in self-defense.

O'Mara said the prosecution's case was full of gaps and built upon a series of "could've beens" and "maybes." He told jurors the burden was on prosecutors, and he said they hadn't proven Zimmerman's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

A jury of six women could begin deliberations as early as Friday afternoon.

Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder, but jurors can also choose manslaughter. A conviction on either charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.


Associated Press Release
By: MIKE SCHNEIDER and KYLE HIGHTOWER

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- George Zimmerman's defense has given its final arguments in the trial over the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin.

Defense attorney Mark O'Mara said Friday the prosecution's case was full of gaps and built upon a series of "could've beens" and "maybes." He told jurors the burden was on prosecutors, and he said they hadn't proven Zimmerman's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

A jury of six women could begin deliberations as early as Friday afternoon, and they'll have to decide whether the neighborhood watch volunteer was a wannabe cop or someone who shot the unarmed black teenager in self-defense.

Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder, but jurors can also choose manslaughter. A conviction on either charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.

Prosecutors will next give their rebuttal.


Associated Press Release
By: MIKE SCHNEIDER and KYLE HIGHTOWER

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- George Zimmerman's defense attorneys have begun their closing arguments at his second-degree murder trial in Florida.

Defense attorney Mark O'Mara on Friday began his last effort to convince six jurors that Zimmerman acted in self-defense when he fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin last year.

The jurors could begin deliberating later in the day.

A day earlier, prosecutors made the case that Zimmerman assumed Martin was a criminal up to no go when he confronted him in his neighborhood. A scuffle followed, and Zimmerman fired his gun.

Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, claiming Martin was slamming his head into a sidewalk when he shot the Miami teen.


Associated Press Release
By: MIKE SCHNEIDER and KYLE HIGHTOWER

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- When jurors begin deliberating in the racially charged murder trial of George Zimmerman, they'll also be able to consider a lesser charge of manslaughter in the fatal shooting of unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin.

The defense, which claims Zimmerman killed Martin in self-defense, will give its closing arguments Friday, a day after the prosecution spent two hours summarizing its case.

Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder, but the jury will also be allowed to consider manslaughter. But because of the way Florida law imposes sentences for crimes committed with a gun, the lesser charge could also carry a life sentence.

Judge Debra Nelson's ruling to allow consideration of the manslaughter charge came despite the objections of Zimmerman's lawyers.


Associated Press Release
By: MIKE SCHNEIDER and KYLE HIGHTOWER

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- The prosecution has finished its closing arguments in George Zimmerman's second-degree murder trial

Prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda took over two hours to sum up the state's case against the former neighborhood watch volunteer charged in Trayvon Martin's death.

The prosecutor says Zimmerman profiled Martin as a criminal as he followed the teen through the townhome complex where Zimmerman lived and Martin was visiting.

Zimmerman's defense attorneys will make their closing arguments Friday morning, and then the case will go to jurors.

Zimmerman is pleading not guilty, claiming self-defense.


Associated Press Release
By: MIKE SCHNEIDER and KYLE HIGHTOWER

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- Prosecutors have started closing arguments in George Zimmerman's second-degree murder trial.

Prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda on Thursday started summing up the state's case that Zimmerman committed murder when he fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin during a fatal fight last year.

Prosecutors allege Zimmerman was profiling Martin as he followed the Miami teen through the central Florida gated community where Zimmerman lived and Martin was visiting.

Prosecutors say Zimmerman confronted Martin and during a fight fired his gun.

Zimmerman is pleading not guilty to second-degree murder, claiming he shot Martin in self-defense.

A judge earlier in the day ruled jurors may also consider manslaughter as a lesser offense during deliberations.


Associated Press Release
By: MIKE SCHNEIDER and KYLE HIGHTOWER

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- A Florida judge has denied a prosecution request to include third-degree murder as a lesser charge in George Zimmerman's second-degree murder charge.

Judge Debra Nelson ruled Wednesday, saying it was best to exercise caution.

Defense attorney Don West had objected strongly to the third-degree murder proposal since it is premised on the idea Zimmerman committed child abuse when he fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

West called the instruction "outrageous."

The judge earlier ruled manslaughter can be considered as a lesser charge.

Zimmerman is pleading not guilty.

A judge said Thursday that jurors in the George Zimmerman case can consider the lesser charge of manslaughter, but she delayed ruling on whether they may also consider third-degree murder after defense attorneys called the proposal "outrageous."

Prosecutor Richard Mantei argued that instructions for third-degree murder should be included on the premise that Zimmerman committed child abuse when he fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin because Martin was underage.

But defense attorney Don West called the proposed instruction "a trick," and he accused the prosecutor of springing it on the defense at the last minute.

"Just when I didn't think this case could get any more bizarre, the state is alleging child abuse?" West said. "This is outrageous. It's outrageous the state would seek to do this at this time."

Judge Debra Nelson says she will rule on the proposal later. The judge, however, agreed with the prosecution that jurors could consider manslaughter as a lesser charge.

West said he wanted the six jurors to only consider the second-degree murder charge or not guilty.

"The state has charged him with second degree murder. They should be required to prove it," West said. "If they had wanted to charge him with manslaughter ... they could do that."

Jurors could begin deliberating as early as Friday. Prosecutors were expected to give closing arguments Thursday afternoon, followed by the defense closing on Friday morning.

Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder. On the night of the fatal scuffle in February 2012, Martin was visiting his father and his father's fiancee at the same townhome complex where Zimmerman lived.

Zimmerman observed Martin while driving in his neighborhood, called police and the fight ensued after the neighborhood watch volunteer got out of his vehicle. Zimmerman claims Martin was slamming his head into the concrete pavement when he fired his gun.

Some civil rights activists argued that a delay in charging Zimmerman was influenced by Martin's race, and protests were held around the nation in the 44 days between the fatal fight and Zimmerman's arrest. Martin was black and Zimmerman identifies himself as Hispanic.


Associated Press Release
By: MIKE SCHNEIDER and KYLE HIGHTOWER

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- George Zimmerman's attorney strongly objected to a prosecution proposal that third-degree murder be included in the jury instructions.

Defense attorney Don West on Thursday called the proposal "outrageous," given that it is premised on the idea that Zimmerman committed child abuse since 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was underage when he was fatally shot.

Judge Debra Nelson says she will rule on the proposal later. The judge, however, agreed with the prosecution that jurors could consider manslaughter as a lesser charge.

West said he wanted the six jurors to only consider the second-degree murder charge or not guilty.

Zimmerman is pleading not guilty to second-degree murder. He claims he shot Martin in self-defense last year.


Associated Press Release
By: MIKE SCHNEIDER and KYLE HIGHTOWER

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- Prosecutors in George Zimmerman's second-degree murder trial want to ask jurors to consider lesser charges of third-degree murder and manslaughter.

Prosecutors said they would ask that the lesser charges be included as they hammer out of jury instructions on Thursday.

Defense attorneys say they want the six jurors to only consider the second-degree murder charge or not guilty.

Judge Debra Nelson said Thursday she would allow jurors to consider manslaughter. Arguments on third-degree murder had yet to be made.

The six jurors could begin deliberating as early as Friday.

Zimmerman is pleading not guilty to second-degree murder. He claims he shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in self-defense last year.


Associated Press Release
By: MIKE SCHNEIDER and KYLE HIGHTOWER

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- Attorneys in George Zimmerman's second-degree murder trial will be making their closing arguments.

Judge Debra Nelson told prosecutors and defense attorneys they should plan on starting closing arguments Thursday.

The judge also said the six jurors could begin deliberating as early as Friday.

Zimmerman's defense attorneys rested Wednesday after calling 18 witnesses over four days.

Defense attorney Mark O'Mara told CNN there's "overwhelming evidence" that Zimmerman acted in self-defense when he fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, but he worries about jurors returning "a compromise verdict." Some legal analysts have suggested the jury could convict him of the lesser offense of manslaughter.

Zimmerman is pleading not guilty to second-degree murder.


Associated Press Release
By: MIKE SCHNEIDER and KYLE HIGHTOWER

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- Defense attorneys have rested their case in George Zimmerman's second-degree murder trial after calling 18 witnesses in over less than a week.

Prosecutors now plan to call two rebuttal witnesses. Both sides will then work on jury instructions before presenting closing arguments. The case is then sent to jurors.

Zimmerman never testified about the fatal struggle with Trayvon Martin. But jurors saw repeated video recordings of Zimmerman telling his story to investigators. The defense started its case last Friday, and it presented about half the witnesses and took half the time as the prosecution.

In the days before the defense finished Wednesday, they called Zimmerman's friends, mother and uncle to testify that it is Zimmerman screaming for help on a 911 call that captured the fatal fight between Martin and Zimmerman.

Zimmerman is pleading not guilty to second-degree murder. He claims he shot Martin in self-defense.


Associated Press Release
By: MIKE SCHNEIDER and KYLE HIGHTOWER

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- George Zimmerman hasn't made up his mind on whether he will testify at his second-degree murder trial.

When asked by the judge Wednesday, Zimmerman said he hoped to make a decision by the end of the day.

Defense attorney Don West objected several times to the judge's asking if Zimmerman would testify. But the judge overruled him.

Jurors were out of the courtroom.

Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder. He is pleading not guilty, claiming he fatally shot Trayvon Martin in self-defense.

Jurors already have heard of Zimmerman's account from recorded police interviews played in the courtroom.


Associated Press Release
By MIKE SCHNEIDER and KYLE HIGHTOWER

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- A central Florida judge has ruled that Trayvon Martin's cellphone texts on fighting and a defense animation depicting the fight between Martin and George Zimmerman won't be introduced as evidence at Zimmerman's trial.

Judge Debra Nelson made her ruling Wednesday, a day after she heard arguments on the matter.

The judge says the animation can't be introduced as evidence that can be reviewed by jurors during their deliberations but defense attorneys may be able to use it during closing arguments.

The judge says she agrees with prosecutors' objections to introducing the 17-year-old's text messages.

Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch volunteer, is charged with second-degree murder for shooting and killing Martin during a fight in Zimmerman's neighborhood. He's pleading not guilty, claiming self-defense.


Associated Press Release
By MIKE SCHNEIDER and KYLE HIGHTOWER

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- Defense attorneys are finishing up their case in George Zimmerman's second-degree murder trial in central Florida.

Defense attorney Mark O'Mara says the defense could wrap up their presentation Wednesday.

Judge Debra Nelson still has to decide two issues.

The first is whether to grant a defense request to allow jurors to view an animation that depicts Zimmerman's fight with Trayvon Martin, the unarmed teenager who was fatally shot in February 2012 in a Sanford, Fla., gated community.

The other issue is whether she will allow Martin's text messages that purportedly deal with fighting.

Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder. The former neighborhood watch volunteer is pleading not guilty, claiming he shot and killed Martin in self-defense.


Associated Press Release
By MIKE SCHNEIDER and KYLE HIGHTOWER

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- The 911 calls that captured screams from a fatal fight between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin are once again at the center of testimony in Zimmerman's second-degree murder trial.

Defense attorneys on Tuesday called Sanford City Manager Norton Bonaparte to the witness stand to describe the circumstances of how Martin's family came to hear the 911 tapes.

Bonaparte said he played the 911 tapes while members of Martin's family sat together at City Hall. He played them as a courtesy before they were released publicly.

Convincing jurors who is screaming is important since it could determine who the aggressor was in the struggle between Zimmerman and Martin.

Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder, claiming self-defense.


Associated Press Release
By: MIKE SCHNEIDER and KYLE HIGHTOWER

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- A forensic pathologist with an expertise in gunshot wounds has taken the witness stand in the George Zimmerman trial.

Dr. Vincent Di Maio was called by Zimmerman's defense attorneys on Tuesday.

Di Maio took the witness stand after defense attorneys spent two hours making a case that an animation depicting the struggle between Trayvon Martin and Zimmerman should be allowed.

Prosecutors oppose the use of the animation. The judge presiding over the trial says she will make a decision later in the day.

Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder. He is pleading not guilty, claiming he fatally shot Martin in self-defense.


Associated Press Release
By: MIKE SCHNEIDER and KYLE HIGHTOWER

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- It's become a top goal of lawyers in the George Zimmerman trial to convince jurors of whether he or Trayvon Martin can be heard on a 911 call.

Defense attorneys called five of Zimmerman's friends Monday to testify that it was his voice yelling for help on the call.

Zimmerman's attorneys also called two police investigators who contend Martin's father, after hearing a recording of the call, initially said it wasn't his son.

Martin's father, Tracy Martin, came to the witness stand, and he denied ever saying the screams for help weren't his son.

Convincing the jury of who was screaming for help on the tape is important to both sides because it would help jurors evaluate Zimmerman's self-defense claim.


Associated Press Release
By: MIKE SCHNEIDER and KYLE HIGHTOWER

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- Prosecutors have asked a judge to prevent George Zimmerman's defense attorneys from showing jurors a computer-animated depiction of his fatal confrontation with Trayvon Martin.

A motion made public Monday requests that the animation not be mentioned or played at Zimmerman's second-degree murder trial. Prosecutors say it would only confuse jurors.

Prosecutors say the animation doesn't show a murder weapon and only approximates positions based on witness accounts.

Zimmerman is charged with fatally shooting the 17-year-old Martin. He is pleading not guilty, claiming self-defense.

A series of friends have testified Monday on Zimmerman's behalf.


Associated Press Release

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- Jurors in the George Zimmerman murder trial now will hear the defense's presentation after listening for two weeks as prosecutors made their case.

Zimmerman's attorneys will continue calling witnesses Monday. That could include some of the same neighbors and investigators called by prosecutors.

The defense called its first two witnesses Friday after prosecutors rested and Judge Debra Nelson denied a request for acquittal.

Zimmerman's mother and uncle testified that it was Zimmerman screaming for help on a 911 call that captured the fight between Zimmerman and 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

Zimmerman is pleading not guilty to second-degree murder for fatally shooting Martin. He is claiming self-defense.

Still uncertain is whether Zimmerman will testify.

Jurors already have heard his account through videotaped police interviews played in court.

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Associated Press Release

By MIKE SCHNEIDER and KYLE HIGHTOWER

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- Jurors in the George Zimmerman trial are leaving the courtroom after an eventful day.

Prosecutors rested their case Friday, a day in which Zimmerman's mother and Trayvon Martin's mother each testified that it was her son, not the other woman's, who can be heard screaming for help on a 911 call.

Judge Debra Nelson denied a request by defense attorneys to acquit Zimmerman of second-degree murder after prosecutors rested.

Defense attorney Mark O'Mara argued that the state didn't prove its case, and that Zimmerman was acting in self-defense.

Prosecutor Richard Mantei told the judge Zimmerman was a liar and had changed his story.


Associated Press Release
By: MIKE SCHNEIDER and KYLE HIGHTOWER

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- The doctor who performed the autopsy on Trayvon Martin testified that the 17-year-old teen was in pain and suffered after he was shot by George Zimmerman.

Defense attorneys on Friday objected when associate medical examiner Shiping Bao described Martin's condition after being shot.

Judge Debra Nelson sustained the objection, and Bao was directed away from that line of questioning.

Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder for fatally shooting Martin. He is pleading not guilty, claiming self-defense.

Bao's testimony followed Martin's mother and brother testifying they believed cries for help on a 911 call are those of Martin.


Associated Press Release
By: MIKE SCHNEIDER and KYLE HIGHTOWER

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- The mother of Trayvon Martin has testified that screams for help captured on audio of a 911 call came from her 17-year-old son.

Sybrina Fulton took the witness stand Friday morning during the trial of George Zimmerman, the former neighborhood watch volunteer charged with murder in Martin's shooting death. Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty and says he shot the teen in self-defense during a fight.

After the audio was played, prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda asked Fulton, "Who do you recognize that to be?" She replied, "Trayvon Benjamin Martin."

Identifying the screams on the 911 call could be critical to the case because it may help determine who was the aggressor during the scuffle between Zimmerman and Martin.


Associated Press Release

By: MIKE SCHNEIDER and KYLE HIGHTOWER

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- Prosecutors are winding down their case in George Zimmerman's murder trial after presenting evidence and testimony aimed at refuting the former neighborhood watch volunteer's claim he was acting in self-defense when he fatally shot Trayvon Martin.

Forensics experts testified Wednesday that Martin's DNA was not found on the grip of Zimmerman's gun, and that Zimmerman's DNA was not found under Martin's fingernails.

Prosecutors are expected to rest their case Friday, a day after jurors return from the Fourth of July holiday. It is still to be seen if they will call Martin's parents to the witness stand.

Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and says he shot the 17-year-old Martin in the chest to protect himself as Martin reached for his gun during a fight.

Associated Press Release

By: MIKE SCHNEIDER and KYLE HIGHTOWER

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- The judge in the George Zimmerman murder trial has dismissed jurors for the evening and Fourth of July holiday.

Judge Debra Nelson released jurors Wednesday without the prosecution having rested its case as it had hoped to do by day's end. Testimony is set to resume Friday. Jurors will remain sequestered during the holiday break.

Prosecutors presented testimony about DNA evidence taken from Trayvon Martin's jacket, as well as evidence of Zimmerman taking a criminal justice course in college that included course work covering criminal litigation and legal aspects of self-defense.

Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and says he shot the 17-year-old Martin in the chest last year to protect himself as Martin reached for his firearm during a fight.


Associated Press Release
By: KYLE HIGHTOWER and MIKE SCHNEIDER

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- A DNA expert says tests of George Zimmerman's gun revealed the neighborhood watch volunteer's DNA on the firearm's grip -- but not Trayvon Martin's.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement DNA expert Anthony Gorgone also testified Wednesday that none of Zimmerman's DNA was found underneath Martin's fingernails.

Prosecutors called the DNA expert to the witness stand to refute Zimmerman's contention that he fatally shot Martin in self-defense. Zimmerman has said Martin was reaching for his firearm during a fight when he fired the gun into Martin's chest.

Zimmerman is pleading not guilty to second-degree murder.

Prosecutors are nearing the end of presenting their case.


Associated Press Release
By: KYLE HIGHTOWER and MIKE SCHNEIDER

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- A judge has ruled that attorneys can present evidence about a college criminal justice course taken by George Zimmerman during the former neighborhood watch volunteer's murder trial.

The course included work regarding Florida's self-defense law.

Judge Debra Nelson ruled Wednesday that evidence about the coursework could be shown during trial.

Defense attorney Mark O'Mara had argued the coursework was not relevant to the case and called the prosecution's effort to introduce it as "a witch hunt."

Prosecutors say the school records show that 29-year-old Zimmerman had knowledge of the law, though he maintained in an interview with Fox News last year that he didn't. Jurors heard that interview on Tuesday.

Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin last year. Martin was unarmed.


Associated Press Release

By MIKE SCHNEIDER and KYLE HIGHTOWER

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- Prosecutors want to bring up George Zimmerman's school records at his murder trial to show he knew about Florida's stand-your-ground law. Defense attorneys are arguing they are irrelevant.

Prosecutors asked a judge Tuesday to allow them to introduce school records showing Zimmerman took a class that addressed Florida's self-defense law. They say it will show he had knowledge of the law, even though he claimed he didn't in an interview with talk show host Sean Hannity. The interview was played for jurors Tuesday.

The judge said she would rule later Tuesday.

Prosecutors also want to introduce a job application Zimmerman made to a police agency in Virginia and an application to ride around with Sanford police officers.

Zimmerman is pleading not guilty to second-degree murder. He says he shot Trayvon Martin in self-defense.


Associated Press Release

By MIKE SCHNEIDER and KYLE HIGHTOWER

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- A medical examiner from Jacksonville has testified for prosecutors that George Zimmerman's injuries were insignificant.

Medical examiner Valerie Rao took the witness stand Tuesday after prosecutors played a video recording of an interview Zimmerman gave to conservative talk show host Sean Hannity last year. Rao didn't perform the autopsy on Martin and is only being called as a prosecution witness.

Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder for fatally shooting Trayvon Martin. He is claiming self-defense.

Prosecutors are trying to show Zimmerman's life wasn't in danger when he shot Martin.

Rao says the injuries to Zimmerman's head don't reflect that his head was being slammed with great force into a sidewalk as he claims.


Associated Press Release
By: MIKE SCHNEIDER and KYLE HIGHTOWER

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- A prosecutor has gotten a judge to strike from the record an opinion from a Sanford police detective who testified that he found George Zimmerman credible in his account of how he got into a fight with Trayvon Martin.

Judge Debra Nelson on Tuesday told jurors to disregard the statement Detective Chris Serino made Monday.

Prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda said Serino's statement was improper because one witness isn't allowed to give an opinion on the credibility of another witness.

Defense attorney Mark O'Mara says the opinion is proper because Serino was vetting Zimmerman's veracity during his probe.

Zimmerman is pleading not guilty to second-degree murder, claiming self-defense.


Associated Press Release
By: MIKE SCHNEIDER and KYLE HIGHTOWER

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- The lead police detective who investigated Trayvon Martin's fatal shooting last year is returning to the witness stand.

Sanford Police detective Chris Serino testifies for a second day Tuesday about his investigation into the fatal shooting of the Miami teenager by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer.

The 29-year-old Zimmerman is pleading not guilty to second-degree murder. He claims he acted in self-defense.

Jurors on Monday heard a series of recorded police interviews of detectives questioning Zimmerman about his confrontation with Martin in a gated community in central Florida.


Associated Press Release
By: MIKE SCHNEIDER and KYLE HIGHTOWER

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- An FBI audio expert whose pre-trial testimony helped keep prosecution witnesses from testifying at George Zimmerman's murder trial has been called to the witness stand.

Hirotaka Nakasone started testifying Monday to begin the second week of testimony in Zimmerman's second-degree murder trial.

Zimmerman is pleading not guilty to second-degree murder. He says he acted in self-defense when he fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin last year.

During a pre-trial hearing, Nakasone testified that there wasn't enough clear sound to determine whether Zimmerman or Martin was screaming in 911 calls.

Based on that, Judge Debra Nelson decided not to allow two prosecution witnesses to testify. One ruled out that it was Zimmerman screaming and the other thought it was the teen.


Associated Press Release

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- Testimony in the George Zimmerman trial is expected to shift toward prosecution witnesses that will testify on scientific evidence against a former neighborhood watch leader charged in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin.

Entering the second week of testimony Monday, prosecutors have yet to call forensics experts or investigators that performed testing on the handgun Zimmerman used to shoot the teenager during an altercation last year.

The testimony will shed more light on the positioning of Martin and Zimmerman at the time of the shooting.

More than 20 witnesses testified during the first week of a trial that has opened up national debates about race, equal justice, self-defense and gun control.

Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder and has pleaded not guilty, claiming self-defense.


Associated Press Release

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- A neighbor of George Zimmerman who had perhaps the best view of the struggle between the neighborhood watch volunteer and Trayvon Martin testified at Zimmerman's murder trial it appeared the unarmed teen was striking Zimmerman while straddling him.

However, Jonathan Good said today he did not see anyone's head being slammed into the concrete sidewalk, which Zimmerman has said Martin did to him.

Zimmerman has claimed that he fatally shot 17-year-old Martin in self-defense as the Miami-area teen was banging his head into the concrete sidewalk behind the townhomes in a gated community.

Under prosecution questioning, Good said he never saw anyone being attacked that way during the fight between Zimmerman and Martin.

Zimmerman is charged with second degree murder in Martin's death. He is pleading not guilty, claiming self-defense.


Associated Press Release

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- In testy exchanges, George Zimmerman's defense attorney insinuated that the young woman who was on the phone with Trayvon Martin shortly before he was fatally shot wasn't believable because of inconsistencies in her story.

But 19-year-old Rachel Jeantel held firm in her testimony about what she heard over the phone while talking with Martin the night the teen was shot and killed by Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer.

Testimony in the case enters its fifth day Friday with jurors having already been exposed to some of the state's biggest pieces of evidence, including the 911 call featuring cries for help prosecutors believe came from Martin, as well as the sound of the gunshot moments later which killed him.

In her testimony, Jeantel contended that it was Zimmerman who confronted Martin.


Associated Press Release
By: MIKE SCHNEIDER and KYLE HIGHTOWER

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- A friend of Trayvon Martin's who was on the phone with him shortly before his fatal fight with George Zimmerman says she thought the encounter was racially charged.

Rachel Jeantel testified on Thursday for the second day in a row, saying she thought race was an issue because Martin told her he was being followed by a "creepy" man. He used a slur for white people in describing the man.

Her answer came in response to questioning from defense attorney Don West about why she had given differing accounts about what she had heard.

Zimmerman is pleading not guilty to second-degree murder in Martin's fatal shooting. He claims self-defense.


CBS News Web Copy

(CBS) SANFORD, Fla. - A friend of Florida teen Trayvon Martin who was on the phone with him just before he was fatally shot by former neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman gave emotional testimony at Zimmerman's murder trial Wednesday afternoon.

Rachel Jeantel, 19, is a crucial witness for prosecutors. Jeantel cried at points during her testimony, describing the last phone call she had with Martin, whom she described as her "friend."

Jeantel was sometimes difficult to understand, prompting attorneys and the judge to ask her to speak up and repeat her answers to questions.

Jeantel said Martin complained to her that a man he described as a "creepy ass cracker" was following him through the community as he was walking home from buying snacks at a 7-Eleven. "He kept complaining that a man was just watching him," Jeantel said.

Martin told her he wanted to try and "lose" the man and starting walking back home, leaving the area near the mailboxes, she said.

"So he told me the man was looking at him, and I had to think it might have been a rapist," Jeantel said.

At one point during the call, she said she told him to run. Martin said no. She said the conversation turned to an all-star basketball game before Martin told her that the man was still following him.

Later, she said she heard Martin say, "Why are you following me for?' And then I heard a hard breathing man say, 'What are you doing around here.'"

Jeantel said she then heard a "bump" and a sound like "wet grass."

"I was trying to say Trayvon, Trayvon, what's going on," Jeantel testified. "I started hearing a little of Trayvon saying 'Get off, get off.'"

That's when the phone disconnected.

When asked by prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda whether she ever spoke with Martin again, she said, "No."

Jeantel cried as she described not going to Martin's wake because, she said, she didn't want to see the body.

"I felt guilty," Jeantel said. "I was last person to talk to their son and I ain't go to the wake."

Jeantel has been referred to in some media reports as Martin's girlfriend. She said on the stand Wednesday that the two were "just friends."


By: MIKE SCHNEIDER and KYLE HIGHTOWER

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- A friend of Trayvon Martin who was on the phone with him moments before he was fatally shot by George Zimmerman described how the Miami teen complained to her that the neighborhood watch volunteer was watching him as he walked home from a convenience store.

Rachel Jeantel testified Wednesday in Zimmerman's murder trial. She is considered one of the prosecution's most important witnesses.

Jeantel says Martin described Zimmerman as "creepy."

Zimmerman is pleading not guilty, claiming self-defense.


Associated Press Release
By: MIKE SCHNEIDER and KYLE HIGHTOWER

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- A central Florida judge has ruled that police dispatch calls George Zimmerman made in the months before he fatally shot Trayvon Martin can be admitted at his murder trial.

Judge Debra Nelson made the ruling Wednesday, a day after a prosecutor argued that the calls were central to the prosecution's case since they showed Zimmerman's state of mind.

Defense attorneys had objected to their use at the trial, claiming they were irrelevant.

Zimmerman is pleading not guilty to second-degree murder, claiming self-defense.

A former neighbor started off the third day of testimony in the trial Wednesday.


Associated Press Release

By KYLE HIGHTOWER and MIKE SCHNEIDER

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- A neighbor who partially witnessed the struggle between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin testified at Zimmerman's murder trial that she heard shouts of "no" during the fight.

Selene Bahadoor's testimony on Tuesday was the first by someone who saw some of the confrontation that resulted in Martin being fatally shot.

Bahadoor says she heard the sound of running outside the townhome she lived in, and when she looked out a window she saw arms flailing in the dark.

She left to turn off a stove and then heard a gunshot. She says she saw a body on the ground the next time she looked out the window.

Zimmerman is pleading not guilty to second-degree murder, claiming self-defense.

Associated Press Release

By KYLE HIGHTOWER and MIKE SCHNEIDER

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- A police officer described bubbling sounds coming from Trayvon Martin's chest in the moments after he was fatally shot by George Zimmerman as a prosecutor showed jurors for the first time a photo of the teen's dead body face-down in the grass.

Sgt. Tony Raimondo testified Tuesday that he tried to seal a bullet wound in Martin's chest with a plastic bag and attempted mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

But Martin was pronounced dead a short time later.

The Sanford Police sergeant was the seventh witness in two days to testify for prosecutors at Zimmerman's second-degree murder trial.

Zimmerman is pleading not guilty, claiming self-defense.


Associated Press Release
By KYLE HIGHTOWER and MIKE SCHNEIDER

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- A prosecutor says past police dispatcher calls made by George Zimmerman should be presented to jurors at his second-degree murder trial.

Prosecutor Richard Mantei told a Florida judge Tuesday that the half-dozen calls are central to the prosecution's argument that he committed second-degree murder since it shows his state of mind. The prosecutor says it shows ill will and provides context to his fatal encounter with 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

Zimmerman is pleading not guilty, claiming self-defense.

His defense attorney says the calls are irrelevant and shouldn't be introduced.


Associated Press Release

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- A Florida prosecutor is hoping that George Zimmerman's own words will show that he's guilty of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

Prosecutor John Guy began his opening statement today by repeating the words that Zimmerman was heard using to a police dispatcher as he followed Trayvon Martin through the gated community where Zimmerman lived. Using an expletive, Zimmerman referred to "punks" who "always get away."

Guy told jurors that Zimmerman saw Martin as "someone about to commit a crime." And, he added, Zimmerman "acted on it." The prosecutor said, "That's why we're here." He said Zimmerman didn't have to shoot Martin -- but did so "for the worst of all reasons: because he wanted to."

A judge had ruled earlier that prosecutors could tell the jury that Zimmerman had "profiled" Martin -- but that they couldn't say the profiling was based on race.

Defense lawyer Don West told a different story. He said Zimmerman was being viciously attacked when he shot the 17-year-old. According to West, Zimmerman was sucker-punched by Martin, who then pounded Zimmerman's head into the concrete sidewalk.

West added that Martin had the chance to go home -- but instead confronted Zimmerman.

Zimmerman is pleading not guilty, claiming self-defense. If he's convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.


Associated Press Release
By MIKE SCHNEIDER and KYLE HIGHTOWER

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- A prosecutor began opening statements in George Zimmerman's trial with obscene words the neighborhood watch volunteer whispered under his breath while following 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

Prosecutor John Guy's first words to jurors Monday were the "f-word" followed by "punks." He was quoting from a call Zimmerman made to a police dispatcher as he followed Martin through the gated community where he lived.

Guy then recounted how Zimmerman followed Martin, a confrontation ensued and Martin was fatally shot in the chest.

Zimmerman is pleading not guilty to second-degree murder, claiming self-defense.


Associated Press Release

By MIKE SCHNEIDER and KYLE HIGHTOWER

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- Opening statements are set in the trial of a neighborhood watch volunteer charged with second-degree murder for the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager in central Florida.

Prosecutors and George Zimmerman's defense attorneys will present their cases Monday for the first time before a jury of six women.

Zimmerman says he shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in self-defense. Prosecutors say Zimmerman profiled Martin as he walked through a community on a rainy night in February 2012 wearing a dark hooded shirt.

The initial decision not to charge Zimmerman led to public outrage and demonstrations around the nation. Civil rights leaders and others accused Sanford police of failing to thoroughly investigate the shooting.


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