Prosecutors attack Zimmerman story

Events after shooting called into question
Associated Press
Jul 2, 2013

A judge tossed out a detective's statement that he found George Zimmerman credible in his description of fighting with Trayvon Martin, a decision that benefits prosecutors who are trying to discredit the defendant's self-defense claims.

Other efforts by prosecutors to attack Zimmerman's story on Tuesday included the cross examination of a friend he called after shooting Martin and the testimony of a doctor who found the defendant's injuries to be insignificant. They also sought to introduce school records that indicate Zimmerman had studied the state's self-defense law, in another swipe at his truthfulness.

Prosecutors took the unusual step of trying to pick apart the statements of an investigator they'd called as a prosecution witness because some of what he said appeared to help the defense. Prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda asked the judge to strike Detective Chris Serino's statement that he thought Zimmerman was credible when he described how he got into a fight with Martin. Serino was the lead investigator on the case for the Sanford Police Department.

De la Rionda argued the statement was improper because one witness isn't allowed to evaluate another witness's credibility. Defense attorney Mark O'Mara argued that it's Serino's job to decide whether Zimmerman was telling the truth.

Judge Debra Nelson told jurors to disregard the statement.

"This is an improper comment," the judge said.

Zimmerman has said he fatally shot the unarmed black 17-year-old in self-defense in February of 2012 because Martin was banging his head into a concrete sidewalk. Zimmerman, 29, could get life in prison if convicted of second-degree murder. He has pleaded not guilty.

To earn a conviction on the charge, prosecutors must prove there was ill will, spite or a depraved mind by the defendant.

The prosecutor also questioned Serino about his opinion that Zimmerman didn't display those negative emotions toward Martin.

De la Rionda played back Zimmerman's call to police to report the teen wailing through his gated community. Zimmerman uses an expletive, refers to "punks" and then says, "These a-------. They always get away."

The detective conceded that Zimmerman's choice of words could be interpreted as being spiteful.

The state has argued that Zimmerman profiled Martin from his truck and called a police dispatch number before he and the teenager got into a fight. Zimmerman has denied the confrontation had anything to do with race, as Martin's family and their supporters have claimed. Zimmerman's father is white and his mother is Hispanic.

Several moves by prosecutors Tuesday were aimed at showing inconsistencies in Zimmerman's statements.

Prosecutors asked the judge 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.

O'Mara objected, saying the records were irrelevant. He referred to the prosecution's efforts to introduce them as "a witch hunt."

The judge said she would rule later in the week.

Late in the morning the prosecution questioned Mark Osterman, a friend who spoke with Zimmerman after the shooting.

Under questioning by de la Rionda, Osterman said that Zimmerman told him Martin had grabbed his gun during their struggle, but that Zimmerman was able to pull it away.

That account is different from what Zimmerman told investigators in multiple interviews. In those interviews, he only said it appeared Martin was reaching for his gun prior to the shooting. He never told police the teen grabbed it.

"I thought he had said he grabbed the gun," Osterman said. "I believe he said he grabbed the gun."

A Sanford Police Department fingerprint examiner testified that none of Martin's prints were found on the gun.

Prosecutors also called a medical examiner who had reviewed evidence for them to the witness stand. Dr. Valerie Rao testified that Zimmerman's injuries were insignificant, bolstering the prosecution's claims that Zimmerman's life wasn't in jeopardy during his fight with Martin. Rao was not the medical examiner who autopsied Martin.

"They were so minor that the individual who treated and examined Mr. Zimmerman decided stitches weren't required," Rao said.

___

Follow Kyle Hightower on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/khightower.

Follow Mike Schneider on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MikeSchneiderAP.

 

Comments

The Big Dog's back

Why did zim stalk and kill Trayvon?

Contango

Re: " Why did zim stalked and kill Trayvon?"

"Why did zim stalked,"?

Wait for the verdict illiterate.

There you go again

Why did Trayvon jump on and clobber zim?

deertracker

Jump out from where? The reenactment done by Zimmerman proved there were no bushes to jump out from!

Contango

Re: "no bushes to jump out from!"?

SB: No bushes from which to jump out.

Wait for the verdict illiterate no. 2.

deertracker

Not today pooh. GO AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Contango

Re: GO AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

LOL.

Have a GREAT day of spreading bigotry, prejudice and hatred. :)

deertracker

I would NEVER deprive you of doing what you live for. It just wouldn't be right, plus you are sooooooooo much better at it than me!

Contango

Re: "plus you are sooooooooo much better at it than me!"

Hum. I'm not the one who has the WHOLE case figured out on a racially biased basis by listening to the news media DERPtracker. :)

AGAIN! Have a nice day spreading bigoted lies and hatred.

FINI.

deertracker

For the last time pooh, this trial is not about race nor do I claim to have it all figured out. I do not believe he killed the kid because he was black. I do believe he followed him because he was black. However, following him was not a crime nor is he charged with following him. The facts presented so far just do not add up to a guy who was in fear for his life. Try to be objective pooh. Things have to make sense. Right now, they don't!

OH-IO

Save your breath and wait till it comes out in the wash(trial).

registerer

It is interesting that the judge would let the testimony of a person that relayed second hand information stand although there is no way to dispute it and strike down the testimony of a person that actually had first hand account. Hmmmm.

deertracker

Explain! If you are referring to Rachael, that was first hand info. She testified about her conversation with Trayvon. The jury can either believe it or not. I thought she was very credible!

registerer

How can it be disputed? It is hearsay. Can they question Trayvon to see if he actually said it? Heck I talked with Trayvon earlier that day and he said he was going to cause some trouble later that night. Thats my story. Who can prove it wrong?

deertracker

You can't prove it definitively but it is not hearsay. Hearsay is when someone tells you someone else said something. Big difference. Your example would be relevant if Trayvon had been charged with a crime.

registerer

deertracker just replied: "Hearsay is when someone tells you someone else said something."

EXACTLY!!!!! The prosecutions witness is saying that Trayvon TOLD HER on the phone after he was shot about what happened. Now that's hearsay and the judge allowed it.

I think manslaughter would have been a better way to go.

deertracker

You lost me. How could Trayvon tell her anything AFTER he was shot? The phone went dead after you hear gun shots. I agree about the manslaughter charge. Hearsay == Deertracker told me that registerer said........ I can testify only about what You told me not what someone else said you said!

beepx22

phone went dead well before the single shot was fired. remember she said she heard wet grass AFTER the phone call was disconnected

deertracker

I'll wait but it is obvious to me Zimmerman is not being honest. He was going to look at a sign? C'mon really? It's hard to prove everything Zimmerman has said because Trayvon is dead. The injuries are not coinciding with the supposed beating he took. Things have to add up or it's probably not true. Also, IMO if you offer self defense as a defense, you should get on the stand. I hope he does!

Contango

"Prosecutors spent the last few days arguing that Zimmerman profiled the 17-year-old specifically because he was black.

Asked why Parks was changing his tune now, the lawyer made another head-scratching statement. 'We never claimed this was about race,' he said."

It's about race. No it's not.

With attys. it's - WHATEVER wins the case.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/...

If this were a trial about a white-on-white incident few would give a sh*t.

Let the race baiters and haters enjoy themselves.

Wait for the verdict. Until then, any and all speculation from the bigoted peanut gallery is BS.

deertracker

You have such a closed mind. Jury verdicts can be wrong too. I thought Zimmerman was latino so it has never been about race for me. Fact, he did profile the kid and the investigation was very weak. I think 3 days to identify a kid that was killed just feet from his father's home is unacceptable!

Contango

Re: "You have such a closed mind."

Opinions vary.

Re: "Jury verdicts can be wrong too,"

Depends of one's definition of "wrong."

Our court system is based on "justice." If you're looking for "mercy" - talk to God.

deertracker

Please stop drinking the rot gut stuff!!!!

The Big Dog's back

winnie needs a cup of shut the ---- up.

JudgeMeNot

OBAMA KOOL AID

Relax -- Drink Up -- No Worries

Nemesis

It all comes down to who made the first PHYSICAL move, and it's doubtful that can ever be determined. In such circumstances, the design of our justice system dictates that the benefit of the doubt goes to the defendant. That was known from the start, and this whole trial is just an exercise in mob appeasement and riot prevention.

deertracker

Mob appeasement and riot prevention? I think you are way off on that. The family has ALWAYS said they just want their day in court. I just don't believe you are going to see any violence regardless of the outcome. Justice dictates that you seek the truth. The burden of proof is on the prosecution. A self defense claim has to make sense and fit the evidence and if it doesn't, there's a problem.

Contango

Re: "Justice dictates that you seek the truth."

"Truth" as is said, is in the eye of the beholder, i.e. subjective.

deertracker

That's right so you have to rely on facts and logic.

Contango

Re: "That's right so you have to rely on facts and logic."

DERP!

Perception IS reality.

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