Zimmerman Trial: The Defense Calls Its First Witness

Defense attorney Mark O'Mara enters the courtroom for George Zimmerman's trial. (Gary W. Green/pool/Getty Images)

Friday, July 5, 5:22 p.m. EDT: Judge Debra Nelson has dismissed the defense's request for acquittal in George Zimmerman's second-degree-murder trial. Prosecutors argued against acquittal, saying, "One of them is dead and one of them is a liar." The defense then called its first witness, Zimmerman's mother, who identified the scream on the 911 call as that of her son after the recording was played in court. After her brief testimony, Zimmerman's uncle Jorge Meza took the stand. He also testified that the screams sounded like the voice of his nephew. The court has now recessed for the weekend.

Friday, July 5, 3:40 p.m. EDT: Following the riveting testimony of associate medical examiner Shiping Bao, prosecutors wrapped up their case against George Zimmerman on Friday afternoon. Defense attorney Mark O’Mara then moved to have the case thrown out for lack of evidence and his client acquitted, according to USA Today. He said, "Evidence of nonguilt is stronger than guilt."


Friday, July 5, 11:58 a.m. EDT: After the mother and brother testified, the doctor who performed an autopsy on Trayvon took the witness stand, according to the Associated Press. Associate Medical Examiner Shiping Bao started describing Trayvon as being in pain and suffering after he was shot, but defense attorneys objected. The judge sustained the objection, and Bao was directed away from that line of questioning.

Friday, July 5, 9:55 a.m. EDT: Trayvon Martin's oldest brother, Jahvaris Fulton, followed his mother's brief and emotional testimony and took the witness stand. He identified the screams on the 911 call as those of Trayvon. The defense questioned him about a television interview with a reporter in which he said that he was not sure if it was Trayvon's voice on the tapes. Jahvaris explained that he was reluctant to identify the voice because he "didn't want to believe it was him" but also acknowledged that it could be Trayvon's voice. Before a long recess, prosecutors and defense lawyers argued over the differing testimony, but the judge ruled that his answer did not differ. Jahvaris also testified that he and his brother were close. The state then recalled Sybrina Fulton to the witness stand.

Friday, July 5, 9 a.m. EDT: Prosecutors in the George Zimmerman trial called Trayvon's mother, Sybrina Fulton, to the witness stand. Fulton said that it was her 17-year-old son screaming for help on the 911 call recorded during a fight the unarmed teen had with Zimmerman, a neighborhood-watch volunteer, last year before Zimmerman fatally shot him. The prosecution is expected to wrap up its questioning of witnesses today. 

Wednesday, July 3, 4:30 p.m. EDT: Prosecutors in the George Zimmerman trial called several witnesses to bolster their assertion that the former neighborhood-watch captain knew Florida's self-defense and "Stand your ground" laws, HLN reports. Alexis Carter, who taught Zimmerman's criminal-litigation class, testified that he covered Florida's self-defense laws extensively, even though there was no mention of them in the course book. "It's not one of those things that you're just going to whisk through in a day," said Carter, now a military prosecutor.


Tuesday, July 2, 8:57 a.m. EDT: George Zimmerman didn't take the stand yesterday, but jurors in his second-degree-murder trial heard him explain several times how he came to shoot and kill Trayvon Martin. "He was on top of my … I shot him, and I didn't think I hit him because he sat up and said, 'Oh, gosh, you me, you got it, you got me, you got it," Zimmerman said to lead investigator Chris Serino during a video re-enactment that was shown in the courtroom, reports ABC News.

Monday, July 1, 3:30 p.m. EDT: A jury on Monday heard an audio recording of an interview George Zimmerman gave to police the night he fatally shot Trayvon Martin, CBS News reports. They also saw a written statement in which the former neighborhood-watch volunteer refers to Trayvon as a "suspect."


On the audio recording, Zimmerman told Detective Doris Singleton of Sanford, Fla.'s Police Department that there had been rising crime in his gated community, the Retreat at Twin Lakes, and he was the volunteer coordinator for the neighborhood-watch program. "There's been a few times where I've seen a suspicious person in the neighborhood, and we call the police, the nonemergency line, and these guys always get away," Zimmerman said on the recording.

Another witness, Sanford Police Detective Chris Serino, took the stand after Singleton. Serino, who was an advocate for the arrest and charging of Zimmerman early in the investigation, recounted Zimmerman's story, starting with the call about a suspicious person. Prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda showed Serino a close-up image of Trayvon's face after he was shot and pronounced dead. Serino says that he showed this image to Zimmerman, who said he didn't know the young man, according to HLN. The prosecutor is now playing video of Zimmerman's walk-through of the neighborhood that he did with police.


Monday, July 1, 9:30 a.m. EDT: An FBI audio expert whose pretrial testimony helped keep prosecution witnesses from testifying at George Zimmerman's murder trial has been called to the witness stand, the Associated Press reports. Hirotaka Nakasone took the witness stand Monday to begin the second week of testimony in Zimmerman's second-degree-murder trial. He said that the screams on the 911 tape were not fit for analysis. But he later added that familiarity with a person's voice could help with recorded-voice recognition. 

Read our last set of updates on the Trayvon Martin case here.

Read all of The Root's news and commentary about the Trayvon Martin case here

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