Testimony continues today in George Zimmerman’s second-degree murder trial, as prosecutors plan to call witnesses today in hopes of convincing the jury that Trayvon Martin’s shooting was not in self-defense.
Yesterday, the trial kicked off with prosecutor John Guy’s heated and emotional opening statements about Zimmerman’s actions, telling the jury that the neighborhood watch coordinator profiled Trayvon, relying on profanities that laced the 911 call to indicate his hostility.
“F—ing punks,” were the words he said Zimmerman used under his breath during his non-emergency call to report Trayvon to police before the shooting. “These assholes always get away.”
Defense attorney Don West followed Guy’s brief, but powerful, statement with his own long, rambling statement. He started off with a knock-knock joke about the jury and Zimmerman that didn’t go over too well in court, and ran into a handful of state objections that were all sustained by the judge.
Today, before testimony begins, Circuit Judge Debra Nelson will continue to hear an argument on whether the state can use audio from calls Zimmerman made to the police department months before Trayvon’s death. The state argues that those calls indicate Zimmerman’s state of mind when he reported Trayvon as suspicious. But the defense says the calls are irrelevant.
It is reported that Witness 8, the young girl that Trayvon spoke to before he was murdered, is set to testify today.
See below for the latest updates straight from the courtroom.
LATEST UPDATES FROM THE COURTROOM:
5:30 PM EST: Court recesses for day
3:55 PM EST: The state’s 9th witness takes the stand. Selene Bahadoor, an IT analyst for a hospital who lives in the complex where Trayvon was shot.
– Bahadoor was in the kitchen around 7p.m. the night of the shooting.
– Heard running and sounds like “no” outside. Heard what “sounded like running” from left to right.
– Seen two figures on pathway out of the door, saw “figures and arms flailing.”
– Said she didn’t see their faces, it was dark. A neighbor, male, came out on porch at another house to ask if help was needed.
– Went to turn off stove, when she came back someone was laying on the ground.
– Selene Bahadoor said she heard gunshot as she went back to turn stove off. Came back and there was body face down on ground outside sliding glass door.
– Bahadoor says she’s met Zimmerman before when he was passing out flyers for Neighborhood Watch.
– Cross exam. starts. O’Mara asked Bahadoor who she spoke with about her testimony. She responds, T.C. Osteen, state investigator, last week.
– O’Mara questioning about running she heard from left to right.
– O’Mara asking Bahadoor who the first person was that she told about sound moving from left to right. She doesn’t remember.
– Bahadoor ‘liked’ on Justice4Trayvon Facebook page. Said she didn’t “like” any of Zimmerman’s because the “opportunity never presented itself.”
– Still some back and forth about direction running came from. O’Mara continues to question.
– De la Rionda questioning now, pointing out that Serino, FDLE, and defense never asked Bahadoor which direction the running was coming from.
– O’Mara back to questioning. Asks Bahodoor why she has a post on her FB page that says “prosecute the killer of our son.” She confirms that that was on her page after O’Mara shows her, but doesn’t recall signing the petition.
2:10 PM EST: Smith is presented with evidence and is asked to identify the items. Among those items: the Arizona Ice Tea can that Trayvon purchased before he was killed.
– Smith also processed the gun that was used to kill Trayvon and the bag of Skittles…checked for DNA
– Photographs of Zimmerman’s clothes and injuries are shown to the court:
– Smith says she used one swab each for Skittles bag, flashlight, looking for touch DNA.
– Court being shown Trayvon’s pants. Later his hoodie
– Guy: Did you see blood on the sidewalk? Smith: “No I did not.”
2:00 PM EST: Photos of the crime scene are shown to the court, including photographs of Trayvon’s body.
– Diana Smith points out locations of items at scene, plastic bag, 1st aid kit, etc.
– See the photos below:
We decline to show the photos of Trayvon Martin’s body.
1:48 PM EST: The next witness takes the stand. Diana Smith of SPD. Crime scene technician.
– Smith was called to scene, arrived to see Trayvon’s body already under medical blanket.
– State has Smith now standing for state visual displays. A diagram of shooting scene is being shown. Ph
otographs of the scene are also being shown.
1:30 PM EST: JUST IN-Court shown two photographs of a lifeless Trayvon. One covered in a blanket, one sans the blanket. Tracy Martin, Trayvon’s father, leaves the courtroom.
1:19 PM EST: The next witness takes the stand. Sanford PD Sgt. Anthony Raimondo, who was on scene immediately after shooting.
– Background: Raimondo is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, has masters in criminal justice. He also is on SWAT, a police sniper. Was a patrol Sgt. at time of shooting.
– Says when he arrived he didn’t have much interaction with Zimmerman because of the dead body on the ground. It was Trayvon Martin.
– Said Trayvon’s body was slightly to north, hands under his body.
– Explained that he tried to save Trayvon with CPR. Heard a “bubbling sound” which was air escaping or entering Trayvon’s chest in a “manner that it was not supposed to.”
– Tried again for pulse, wasn’t able. “I breathed for Mr. Martin… I tried to sir.”
– Sgt. Raimondo then says he then asked for plastic wrap or petroleum jelly to seal chest so that he could continue chest compressions.
– While checking for exit wound, he found the Arizona Ice Tea in Trayvon’s hoodie pocket.
– Trayvon was declared dead at scene. Body covered to preserve evidence & out of respect.
12:00 PM EST: Court recesses for lunch
11:42 AM EST: The sixth witness takes the stand, Donald O’Brien, the HOA president for George Zimmerman’s neighborhood.
– He first met Zimmerman at a NW meeting
– O’Brien said that neighbors were told to report anything suspicious, but stay away and call the police.
– Says that NW is separate from HOA, Zimmerman started NW. He was also on parking committee.
– It was just revealed that the person responsible for burglaries had already been caught before Trayvon was killed. He lived within the community, Zimmerman knew this.
– O’Brien: “I don’t think we needed” the program.”
10:13 AM EST: The next witness, Wendy Dorival, takes the stand. She is George Zimmerman’s Neighborhood Watch liason.
– Dorival starts off by desribing each position within neighborhood watch.
– Dorival says she tells neighborhood watch (NW) not to follow people. But share your suspicions. “We say ‘don’t do that. That’s the job of law enforcement.'”
– Identifies the defendant as the NW coordinator.
– Don West up for cross examination. He has to spit out cough drop before questioning.
– West asks if burglaries are the “number one concern for most of the residents” in the neighborhood. Dorival responds, “yes.”
– Dorival wanted to recruit Zimmerman to be a Citizen on Patrol (police volunteers who through police training, Zimmerman declined)
– Dorival describes Zimmerman’s job: “let neighbors know what’s going on,” & report anyone who “doesn’t belong there.”
– “He was very professional with me.” Seemed to want to change community “to make it better.”
– Dorival doesn’t tell people not to carry firearms in neighborhood watch meetings. That’s not her place, she said.
– Zimmerman sent a thank-you letter to then-Sanford PD chief Lee about Dorival.
– Court recesses for brief moment
– State says email wasn’t to Dorival, so it’s hearsay & “self-serving.” Nelson rules in favor of state.
-Guy asks Dorival if she ever told Zimmerman that walking in the rain is suspicious. She replies, “no.”
– Dorival is dismissed
10:05 AM EST: Witness four, Ramona Rumph, the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office, communications division, takes the stand again.
– State introduces 911 calls from the night of the shooting. Asks Rumph to verify connection and disconnection times for all calls. Several neighbors called, one before gunshot.
– Rumph is dismissed.
8:30 AM EST: Judge Nelson hears arguments from state and defense on whether they should allow previous 911 calls made by Zimmerman in court.
– State attorney Richard Mantei argues that the calls, which show Zimmerman calling police on mostly black individuals and profiling them, is in fact, relevant.
– “Anything that is relevant to establish… the defendant’s state of mind meets the definition of relevance.”
– He says the calls help show if Zimmerman suspicions were specific to Trayvon “or if he considers a lot of other things to be suspicious”
– The calls show a “building level of frustration the defendant had” before murdering Trayvon.
– O’Mara counters Mantei, says state has “little, if any direct evidence to support” second-degree murder. Using this as circumstantial.
– O’Mara argues that the state is putting Zimmerman’s character on trial. “They can stay state of mind, but it’s character.”
– Judge Nelson frustrated, “Basically both arguments are apples and oranges.”
– Judge allows the five calls from 2011 to be played. In each call Zimmerman tells dispatcher that there have been break-ins in the neighborhood and a suspicious “black” male is surveying the area.
– No rule on if calls will be admissible.
HERE’S WHAT YOU MISSED YESTERDAY:
– Opening statements began. Defense attorney Don West used visuals and audio aid to convince the jury that Zimmerman acted in self defense, while prosecutor John Guy relied on an emotional and powerful account of the momen
ts leading up to Trayvon’s murder.
– Don West opened up with a knock-knock joke that didn’t go too well in court.
– So far, four witnesses have taken the stand. They include a 15-year-old friend of Trayvon, the 911 dispatcher from that fateful night, the 7-Eleven clerk, and a communications employee from the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office. She will be questioned today as well.
– For a full recap of each trial day, see below: