Lead Prosecutor Bernie De La Rionda questions Jonathan Manlo — a neighbor of George Zimmerman — who went outside after hearing a gunshot.
Jonathan Manlo testified Friday that defendant George Zimmerman asked him to call his wife and tell her he shot someone. Manlo confirmed that Zimmerman looked like he just had just gotten his butt beat.”
Also on Friday, Zimmerman’s defense attorney questioned first responder/EMT Stacy Livingston about Zimmerman’s bloody nose, and whether the injury could have resulted from a strike of the nose. Livingston responded affirmatively that the injury could have been caused by being struck in the nose by a fist — saying “very possibly.”
The fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman took place on the night of February 26, 2012, in Sanford, Florida at The Retreat at Twin Lakes. Police had responded to 402 incidents in approximately one year prior to the shooting — including nine burglaries, nine thefts, one shooting, and dozens of attempted break-ins.
Zimmerman, who was a neighborhood watch volunteer, had been licensed to carry a firearm since November 2009. Neighborhood Watch volunteers were not encouraged to carry a gun, but Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee acknowledged that Zimmerman had a legal right to carry his firearm on the night of the shooting. Circumstances involving a pit pull led George Zimmerman to carry a gun. A Seminole County Animal Services officer advised Zimmerman to “get a gun”, rather than rely on pepper spray to fend off a pit bull, which on one occasion had cornered his wife and had been reported loose in the Twin Lakes neighborhood multiple times. Initially police did not charge Zimmerman with any crime because they found no evidence to contradict Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense. On April 11, 2012, the Special Prosecutor filed a charge of murder in the second degree against Zimmerman, who then turned himself in and was placed in custody.
Zimmerman had been licensed to carry a firearm since November 2009. In response to Zimmerman’s multiple reports regarding a loose pit bull in the Twin Lakes neighborhood, a Seminole County Animal Services officer advised Zimmerman to “get a gun”, according to a friend, rather than rely on pepper spray to fend off the pit bull, which on one occasion had cornered his wife. Although neighborhood watch volunteers are not encouraged to carry weapons, Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee acknowledged that Zimmerman had a legal right to carry his firearm on the night of the shooting.
Zimmerman’s defense in the case is dependent on his claim of self-defense, and proof that Trayvon Martin was the aggressor in the final moments leading to his death. No witnesses have yet countered Zimmerman’s claim that he acted in self-defense. Police determined that Zimmerman yelled for help at least 14 times in a 38 second span, although background noise in 9-1-1 calls have caused dispute over who was actually doing the screaming. Photos of Zimmerman after the shooting show evidence of a bloody, swollen nose, and blood from injuries on the back of Zimmerman’s head.
During questioning by defense attorney Mark O’Mara in the George Zimmerman murder trial, a neighbor says he didn’t see anyone’s head slammed into sidewalk.
Rachel Jeantel, the prosecution’s key witness and the last person to talk to Trayvon Martin before his encounter with George Zimmerman was back on the witness stand for a second day on Thursday.
Rachel Jeantel was hard to understand — speaking softly and with slang. She is a Haitian native, who grew up speaking Creole and Spanish. Jeantel testified that Martin said he was being followed by a “creepy-ass cracker” while she was on the phone with Trayvon Martin, moments before his deadly encounter.
Rachel Jeantel, 19, was asked to read a letter out loud in court — a letter she allegedly sent to Trayvon Martin’s mother.
“Are you able to read that at all?” defense attorney Don West asked.
Jeantel, bowed her head and replied, “Some but not all. I don’t read cursive.”
Her response sent a hush through the packed courtroom.
Except for her name, Rachel Jeantel, a junior in high school, was unable to read any of the letter.
Jeantel is a key prosecution witness as the last person to speak on the phone to Martin Trayvon in the moments before he was shot and killed.
Transcript of the letter that Rachel Jeantel replied that a friend wrote the letter for her …
I was on the phone when Trevon decided to go to the cornerstore. It started to reain., so he decided to walk through another complex because it was raining t hard. He started walking then noticed someone was following him. Then he decided to find a shortcut cause the man wouldn’t follow him. Then he said the man didnt’ follow him again. Then he looked back and saw the man agains. The man started getting closer. Then Trevon turned around and said why are you following me!! Then I hear him fall, then the phone hung up. I called back and Tavt (?) no response. In my mind I thought it was just a fight. Then I found out this tragic story.
Mark M. O’Mara is the attorney representing Zimmerman. O’Mara is president of the Seminole County Bar Association, is a legal commentator for WKMG news, and had previously tried cases that involved the Stand-your-ground law. Also, Don West left his job as a federal public defender to join the defense team.
In the United States of America, stand-your-ground law states that a person may justifiably use force in self-defense, without an obligation to retreat first, when there is reasonable belief of an unlawful threat.
Florida State Representative Dennis Baxley was one of the authors of Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law, which is currently being used to justify George Zimmerman’s. Braxley has said that the Stand Your Ground law does not apply properly to the Trayvon Martin case, which involved the controversial pursuit of Trayvon Martin.
Sanford, Florida (pop. 53,570) is a about 20 miles northeast of Orlando.