National News

June 29, 2013

First week of testimony in Martin case wraps up

SANFORD, Fla. —  The first week of George Zimmerman’s second-degree murder trial wrapped up with testimony from two neighbors and a police officer that seemed to bolster the defense’s argument that he was pinned on his back by Trayvon Martin before shooting the teen.

Neighbor Jonathan Good testified Friday that it appeared the unarmed teen was straddling the neighborhood watch volunteer, while another neighbor, Jonathan Manalo, said Zimmerman seemed credible when he said just after the fight that he shot Martin in self-defense. Officer Tim Smith testified that Zimmerman’s back side was covered in grass and wetter than his front side.

All three were called as witnesses for prosecutors who are trying to convict him of second-degree murder.

Good, who had perhaps the best view of any witness, said he did not see anyone’s head being slammed into the concrete sidewalk, as Zimmerman claims Martin did to him. Good initially testified that it appeared “there were strikes being thrown, punches being thrown,” but during detailed questioning he said he saw only “downward” arm movements being made.

Zimmerman has claimed that he fatally shot 17-year-old Martin in February 2012 in self-defense as the Miami-area teen was banging his head into the concrete sidewalk behind the townhomes in a gated community.

Under prosecution questioning, Good said he never saw anyone being attacked that way. Good said he heard a noise behind his townhome and he saw what looked like a tussle when he stepped out onto his patio. He said he yelled: “What’s going on? Stop it.”

Good testified he saw a person in black clothing on top of another person with “white or red” clothing. He said he couldn’t see faces but it looked like the person on the bottom had lighter skin. Martin was black and was wearing a dark hoodie. Zimmerman identifies as Hispanic and was wearing a red jacket. Good was back inside calling 911 when he heard a gunshot.

“It looked like there were strikes being thrown, punches being thrown,” Good said.

Later, under cross-examination, he said that it looked like the person on top was straddling the person on bottom in a mixed-martial arts move known as “ground and pound.” When defense attorney Mark O’Mara asked him if the person on top was Martin, Good said, “Correct, that’s what it looked like.” Good also said the person on the bottom yelled for help.

Zimmerman, 29, could get life in prison if convicted of second-degree murder. Zimmerman followed Martin in his truck and called a police dispatch number before he and the teen got into a fight.

Zimmerman has denied the confrontation had anything to do with race, as Martin’s family and their supporters have claimed.

Manalo, whose wife had testified earlier in the week, was the first neighbor to step outside and see what happened with his flashlight after he heard a gunshot. He took cellphone photos of a bloodied Zimmerman and Martin’s body, and those photos were shown to jurors on Friday. Manalo also described Martin’s hands as being under his body.

Manalo said Zimmerman didn’t appear shocked and acted calmly. After police officers arrived and handcuffed Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer asked Manalo to call his wife and tell her what happened.

Manalo started to tell Zimmerman’s wife that her husband had been involved in a shooting and was being questioned by police when “he cut me off and said, ‘Just tell her I shot someone,”’ Manalo said.

Under cross-examination, Manalo said when he asked Zimmerman what happened, the neighborhood watch volunteer told him, “I was defending myself and I shot him.”

“From what you could tell at that moment, that seemed completely true?” asked defense attorney Don West.

“Yes,” Manalo said.

Smith, the police officer, testified that when he saw Zimmerman after the shooting, the neighborhood watch volunteer’s backside was covered in grass and wetter than his front side, bolstering defense attorneys’ contention that Martin was on top of Zimmerman.

As he walked to the squad car after he had been handcuffed, Zimmerman told the officer that “he was yelling for help and nobody would come help him,” Smith said.

“It was almost a defeated ... a confused look on his face,” Smith said.

Smith said Zimmerman described himself as “lightheaded” during the drive to Sanford Police Station but declined an offer to take him to a hospital.

The physician’s assistant who treated Zimmerman the next day said that Zimmerman complained of feeling nauseated upon reflecting what had happened. But Lindzee Folgate attributed that to psychological factors rather than any physical condition. She also said it appeared his nose was broken, but it was impossible to say for sure since no X-rays were taken. She recommended he see an ear-and-nose doctor and a psychologist.

When O’Mara asked if abrasions on his head were consistent with someone who had his had slammed into concrete, Folgate said, “it could be consistent, yes.”

She also testified that Zimmerman had written on a form reciting his medical history that he was exercising three times a week by doing mixed martial arts, a statement that prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda asked her to repeat.

Paramedic Stacy Livingston, who responded to the shooting scene, testified Zimmerman had a swollen, bleeding nose and two cuts on the back of his head an inch long. When O’Mara asked if Zimmerman should have been concerned with his medical well-being because of his injuries, Livingston said, “Possibly.”

When photos of Martin’s body were shown on a courtroom projector during Livingston’s testimony, Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, looked away and blinked back tears.

 

1
Text Only
National News
  • 10 Things to Know for Monday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Monday:

    April 20, 2014

  • Ukraine, Russia trade blame for shootout in east

    Within hours of an Easter morning shootout at a checkpoint manned by pro-Russia insurgents in eastern Ukraine, Russia’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement blaming militant Ukrainian nationalists and Russian state television stations aired pictures of supposed proof of their involvement in the attack that left at least three people dead.

    April 20, 2014

  • In West Bank, teen offenders face different fates

    The boys were both 15, with the crackly voices and awkward peach fuzz of adolescence. They lived just a few minutes away from one another in the West Bank. And both were accused of throwing stones at vehicles, one day after the other.

    April 20, 2014

  • Study: Fuels from corn waste not better than gas

    Biofuels made from the leftovers of harvested corn plants are worse than gasoline for global warming in the short term, a study shows, challenging the Obama administration’s conclusions that they are a much cleaner oil alternative and will help combat climate change.

    April 20, 2014

  • Fracking foes cringe as unions back drilling boom

    After early complaints that out-of-state firms got the most jobs, some local construction trade workers and union members in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia say they’re now benefiting in a big way from the Marcellus and Utica Shale oil and gas boom.

    April 20, 2014

  • In Colorado, a pot holiday tries to go mainstream

    Once the province of activists and stoners, the traditional pot holiday of April 20 has gone mainstream in the first state in the nation to legalize recreational marijuana.

    April 20, 2014

  • ‘Capt. America’ tops box office for third week

    Captain America continues to vanquish box office foes, triumphing in ticket sales for the third consecutive week and dominating over megastar Johnny Depp’s new movie.

    April 20, 2014

  • Probe could complicate Rick Perry’s prospects

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry has spent a record 14 years in office vanquishing nearly all who dared confront him: political rivals, moms against mandatory vaccines for sixth graders, a coyote in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    April 20, 2014

  • NASA’s space station Robonaut finally getting legs

    Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs.

    April 19, 2014

  • Documents detail another delayed GM recall

    Government documents show that General Motors waited years to recall nearly 335,000 Saturn Ions for power steering failures despite getting thousands of consumer complaints and warranty repair claims.

    April 19, 2014