News Column

George Zimmerman Trial: Defense Testimony Continues

July 8, 2013
George Zimmerman

Defense attorneys in the trial of George Zimmerman will continue calling witnesses this morning to combat the second-degree murder charge he faces in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

The state rested its case against Zimmerman, 29, on Friday. Prosecutors allege he profiled the Miami Gardens teenager Feb. 26, 2012, then pursued and killed the teen.

Zimmerman says he acted in self-defense after Trayvon attacked and began beating him.

Jurors on Friday heard from family members for the defendant and the teen, on the subject of who was heard screaming for help before the fatal gunshot.

The screams were captured by a neighbor's recorded 911 call, which was played multiple times in court Friday. Trayvon's mother, Sybrina Fulton, and his brother both said they hear the 17-year-old's voice.

Later, after the state rested, Zimmerman's mother and uncle testified to the contrary: It was Zimmerman, then a Neighborhood Watch volunteer at the Retreat at Twin Lakes, who was crying out in the recording, his family members said.

Zimmerman faces up to life in prison if convicted as charged. His defense unsuccessfully argued to have the case thrown out on Friday; the state failed to meet its burden to proceed, Zimmerman's defense lawyers said.

Circuit Judge Debra Nelson denied that motion.

The trial will continue to be closely watched. When Sanford police didn't arrest Zimmerman after the shooting, saying they couldn't disprove his self-defense claim, the case sparked widespread civil rights protests.

Source: (c)2013 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.) Distributed by MCT Information Services

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