Judge rules George Zimmerman's previous calls to police allowed in trial

Defense's motion to remove calls from 2nd degree murder trial denied

SANFORD, Fla. - Judge Debra S. Nelson ruled on Wednesday recordings of previous calls to police that George Zimmerman made to law enforcement will be allowed in Zimmerman's second-degree murder trial.

Zimmerman is charged with shooting and killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford in February 2012.

Nelson ruled against the defense motion, which was filed to eliminate a series of calls Zimmerman made to authorities about suspicious people in his neighborhood months before the shooting.

Prosecutors argued at a hearing on Tuesday morning the previous calls indicate his state of mind the night of the fatal shooting.

State attorney Richard Mantei started his argument on Tuesday morning with the relevance the calls serve, saying it proves Zimmerman had a 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.

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