State shows jurors pics of Trayvon Martin's body in George Zimmerman trial
State seeks to admit police calls from Zimmerman trial
Graphic pictures of Trayvon Martin's body were shown to jurors on Tuesday in the second-degree murder trial for former neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman, who is charged with shooting and killing 17-year-old Martin.
[Chat recap with Tony Pipitone from the courtroom]
Prosecutors showed pictures of Martin's body at the crime scene as Martin's father, Tracy, left the courtroom. Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton, looked away as pictures were shown of Martin's body lying face up in the grass and eventually left the courtroom. The jury had no visible reaction.
[Pics: Warning, content may be graphic]
The state showed the pictures from the night of the Feb. 2012 shooting during questioning their fourth witness-- Sanford Police Sgt. Anthony Raimondo Jr.
Raimondo responded to the shooting scene and found Martin face down with his hands underneath his body.
"Mr. Martin was lying face down with his head oriented generally towards the north and his hands underneath his body, sir," Raimondo said.
Raimondo said he attempted CPR with safety mask due to the extraordinary circumstance and attempted to seal Martin's bullet wound with a plastic bag. He described hearing bubbling sounds from Martin's chest moments after the shooting.
Martin was pronounced dead a short time later.
In cross-examination, Zimmerman attorney and former Local 6 legal analyst Mark O'Mara showed the pictures again and asked how long Martin's body was exposed to the rain before it was covered up. Raimondo estimated about 15 minutes.
The defense has suggested rain water may have washed blood evidence off Martin's hands before police covered his body. Raimondo described the weather as "drizzling."
Following Raimondo's testimony, the state called Sanford Police Department crime scene technician Diane Smith.
State attorney John Guy questioned Smith about the conditions of the crime scene and the types of photographs she took at the scene.
Smith got up from the witness stand and showed jurors on a large poster board where items were found at the crime scene with evidence markers. Pictures from the crime scene were shown correlating to the markers on the board.
Fulton returned to the courtroom as crime scene photos and items found on Martin, such as the Arizona drink and Skittles Martin bought at the 7-Eleven, along with his cellphone, were put into evidence. Jurors also saw the semiautomatic handgun Zimmerman used to shoot and kill Martin.
Defense attorney Don West cross-examined Smith, asking her about her husband, who is also a police officer with SPD. He also questioned Smith about the location of Martin's body. Smith said it was moved before the pictures were taken.
West then showed pictures of Zimmerman's injuries and had Smith point out "blood dripping" from Zimmerman's head nearly four hours after encounter with Martin.
The state then called their eighth witness overall-- Selene Bahadoor, an IT analyst for a hospital who lived in the Retreat at Twin Lakes with her sister and niece at the time of the shooting. Prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda questioned his first witness of the trial as Bahadoor said she heard "no" or "ew" coming from her backyard and someone running from south to north toward the path.
Bahadoor said she looked out of the window and didn't see anything so she looked out of her sliding glass door, where she saw two figures and arms flailing. Bahadoor said she saw someone laying in the grass and heard someone come out onto a porch nearby asking the two figures "if he needed to call the cops." She said she recalled the body in the grass being face down when she first saw it seconds after the shooting.
Bahadoor saying she heard running is the first direct evidence to cast doubt on Zimmerman's claim he was "suckerpunched" walking close to the "T" in path at the condo complex.
In cross-examination, O'Mara asked if Bahadoor reviewed her transcript or her testimony with the state before testifying on Tuesday.
"Who was the last person you spoke to about your testimony today?" O'Mara asked, to which Bahadoor said state attorney TC Osteen last Thursday. Bahadoor said she read her transcript of her interview with SPD on her own and can't remember if she said the running noise went from south to north in her interview with police.
"Could this be the first time you mentioned this piece of evidence (running noise from south to north) was today?" O'Mara asked.
"Could be," Bahadoor responded, reading through her deposition and not finding the phrase in her statements to law enforcement.
O'Mara then asked Bahadoor about why she "liked" a "Justice for Trayvon Martin" Facebook page and not a Zimmerman Facebook page. Bahadoor said she has sympathy for both Martin and Zimmerman's families but "the opportunity didn't present itself" for her to "like" a Zimmerman page on Facebook.
In redirect, de la Rionda asked Bahadoor if investigators or the defense team in their deposition asked her specifically which direction she heard running, to which Bahadoor said no one had. De la Rionda asked Bahadoor if she wanted to be on national TV to which she said no.
O'Mara then brought up how Bahadoor was interviewed by national news and Bahadoor said she was interviewed but it never aired. He also asked Bahadoor if she signed a an online petition calling for Zimmerman's arrest and confirmed with her that it was her Facebook account that she signed the petition with.
The court was then recessed for the day and will resume Wednesday at 9 a.m.
[VIDEO: DAY 2 TRIAL OVERVIEW]
For their first witness on Tuesday, the state recalled Ramona Rumph, the Seminole County Communication Deputy Director, to authenticate the non-emergency call Zimmerman made the night of the shooting. She was called on Monday afternoon to discuss the previously made 911 calls Zimmerman made before the defense objected to having the jury listen to them and court recessed for the day.
The state's second witness was Wendy Dorival, accreditation manager of Sanford Police Department and Neighborhood Watch coordinator. Dorival had previously met with Zimmerman and the homeowner's association president regarding setting up a Neighborhood Watch program at the Retreat at Twin Lakes neighborhood.
Dorival was questioned about the program by Guy, who asked what they tell program participants about following people.
"We say 'don't do that'" Dorival said, adding that she tells program participants that it's the "job of law enforcement."
Dorival said Zimmerman told her his HOA asked him to be the Neighborhood Watch program coordinator. She said she tells program participants they are the "eyes and ears" and an "extension of law enforcement." Dorival said she tells volunteers they are "not the vigilante police," but not that they cannot defend themselves if attacked or carry a gun.
Dorival was cross-examined by defense attorney Don West, who asked her about the program presentation. Dorival said in Zimmerman's neighborhood was dealing with a "several burglaries" and had a good turnout at the meeting. Residents were concerned about the perimeter of property and inadequate lighting on the property, according to Dorival.
Dorival praised Zimmerman and said he declined her invitation to join the SPD "Citizens on Patrol" program.
"He was very professional. He seemed a little meek to me. And he just seemed like he really wanted to make changes in his community to make it better," she said.
West then discussed the email exchange between Zimmerman and Sanford police about the program, to which the state objected, calling it hearsay. Nelson ruled against the defense to keep the email out of evidence.
The state's third witness on Tuesday was Donald O'Brian, the homeowners association president in Zimmerman's neighborhood.
"George went to the police, he got this whole thing started, it was his program," O'Brian said when questioned by state attorney Richard Mantei. O'Brian said no one else wanted to be Neighborhood Watch coordinator, just Zimmerman, who volunteered to enforce parking rules.
O'Brian said the Neighborhood Watch program is separate from the HOA. He said there was a burglary suspect arrested a couple of months before the shooting after workers called 911. O'Brian informed Zimmerman by text message. In cross-examination, the defense asked O'Brian what the suspect description was, to which he answered a 17-18-year-old man who the workers followed to the suspect's home before calling police.
During state redirect, O'Brian said the Neighborhood Watch rule is "don't get close to anybody, stay at a safe distance and call 911."
Earlier Tuesday, prosecutors tried to introduce recordings of previous non-emergency calls he made to law enforcement to prove the former neighborhood watch leader is guilty of murder in the shooting death of Martin.
Mantei tried to convince Judge Debra Nelson in a hearing that a series of calls Zimmerman made to authorities about suspicious people in his Sanford neighborhood in the months before the shooting indicate his state of mind that night.
Mantei started his argument with the relevance the calls serve, saying it proves element of crime--depraved mind. The state said prior calls help disprove self-defense, showing an ongoing build-up of frustration by Zimmerman.
The state said motive and state of mind are classic jury questions. Mantei said the police did question "suspicious" persons in two of Zimmerman's prior calls and searched the suspicious persons' names for warrants but found none, so they were let go.
Zimmerman's attorney, former Local 6 legal analyst Mark O'Mara, argued that the state is trying to bring in circumstantial evidence and that the state has little or no evidence to support second-degree murder. O'Mara said the state is trying to get prior calls in trial to show ill will, hatred.
O'Mara said the state is asking the jury to make "quantum leap" from responsible calls to police to Zimmerman being "seething with anger," slipping in character evidence, which is inadmissible unless defense raises it.
Nelson asked O'Mara if comments in opening statements created an issue, but O'Mara said it didn't because opening statements aren't considered evidence. Nelson then asked if the Monday afternoon cross-examination of the 911 dispatcher being asked how he thought Zimmerman reacted in the non-emergency call to authorities created an issue.
Mantei said the defense is using "bait and switch and a series of straw men" in its argument compared to Monday's relevance objection. Mantei said the calls show Zimmerman knows how to report suspicious people "and the frustration builds."
Mantei said the fact that Zimmerman said, "these (expletives) always get away," in the non-emergency call the night of the shooting makes the prior calls relevant. Mantei said it's not considered character evidence it shows the defendant's reaction to his experiences and why he did what he did when he was killed.
Nelson said she has 20 cases and testimony to review before she rules on the calls. The calls were played without the jury in the room and Nelson said she will rule on the calls at another time.
State attorney John Guy said in his opening statement that Zimmerman thought Martin was one of the "punks" who "always get away" whom he had observed previously in his neighborhood and reported the activity to police.
Defense attorneys objected to the introduction of the calls, saying they were being used in violation of evidence rules to show prior bad acts.
Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Martin, who was 17 years old. Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty, claiming self-defense
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