Does DNA evidence contradict Zimmerman?

NEED TO KNOW
  • HLN is covering the George Zimmerman trial live, gavel to gavel
  • Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder for killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012
George Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder for killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

Prosecutors in the George Zimmerman trial presented evidence of DNA test results to the jury Wednesday that may contradict the former neighborhood watch captain's story of how Trayvon Martin died.

Anthony Gorgone, DNA lab analyst for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, methodically walked the jury through the results from his DNA testing of Zimmerman's gun, the clothing both individuals wore the night of the shooting, and scrapings from Martin's finger nails.

Zimmerman did not show any emotion as the Gorgone gave his testimony, but it appeared he was paying close attention.

Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder for killing 17-year-old Martin in Sanford, Florida, on February 26, 2012. Zimmerman told police that the teenager looked suspicious and that there had been several break-ins in the neighborhood. The two got into a physical altercation and Zimmerman said he was forced to draw his gun and kill Martin in self-defense.
 
Protests were held around the country when it appeared Zimmerman wasn’t going to be arrested for Martin’s death. Zimmerman was eventually charged with second-degree murder in April of 2012. The case has reinvigorated national conversations about race, racial profiling and self-defense laws.

Gorgone testified Wednesday that he only found Zimmerman's DNA on the gun he used to shoot Martin, and did not find any of Martin's DNA on the gun. Zimmerman's holster only tested positive for Zimmerman's DNA as well. The lack of Martin's DNA on the gun and the holster may contradict Zimmerman's claim that Martin grabbed his gun during the altercation.

Gorgone testified that testing of Martin's hooded jacket that he was wearing as an outer layer the night of shooting did not yield much of Zimmerman's DNA. Only one stain on Martin's hooded jacket yielded a partial DNA profile that matched Zimmerman. This may challenge the claim Zimmerman and Martin were in fight for their lives, if only a minimal amount of Zimmerman's skin or blood transferred to Martin's outer clothing. Scrapings from under Martin's fingernails yielded none of Zimmerman's DNA.

Martin was also wearing a gray sweatshirt under his hooded jacket. Gorgone said two stains on that sweatshirt matched both Martin's and Zimmerman's DNA.

During cross examination, defense attorney Don West pointed out that Martin's sweatshirts were wet from rain the night of the shooting, and they were not allowed dry before they were stored in plastic bags. Gorgone said if wet evidence is not left to air dry before being stored in plastic mildew can degrade DNA evidence.

West asked, "Frankly then you just didn't find much of anything on this gray hooded sweatshirt when it boils right down to it?"

"Just that partial profile on stain A" said Gorgone.

West asked, "That was the shirt that stunk to high heaven?"

"It didn't smell good," said Gorgone.
 
Earlier Wednesday, prosecutors called several witnesses to help support their assertion that the former neighborhood watch captain was a "wannabe cop" who well knew Florida's self-defense and "Stand Your Ground" laws.
 
Records admitted into evidence on the eighth day of testimony included a letter rejecting Zimmerman’s application to be a police officer in Virginia in 2009 because of his credit issues. A release form filed with the Sanford Police Department lists Zimmerman’s reason for wanting to ride along with them as, “solidify my chances of a career in law enforcement.” Records also indicate Zimmerman applied for a diploma in criminal justice in 2011 at Seminole State College in Florida.
 
The instructor who taught Zimmerman’s criminal litigation class testified Wednesday that he covered Florida’s self-defense laws extensively, even though there was no mention of them in the course book. "It's not one of those things that you're just going to whisk through in a day,” said Alexis Carter, who is now a military prosecutor.
 
The testimony seemed to counter a key claim that Zimmerman made last year in a Fox News interview that was replayed in court: that he didn’t know about Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” laws until after the shooting.
 
Self-defense laws were “something that I constantly iterated ... it was something that I think the students really wanted to know about, it was so practical, they were very much engaged in class discussion," Carter said. He called Zimmerman “one of the better students” in his class and said he gave him an A. He also said he taught his students about “imperfect self-defense,” which he said means “the force that you are encountering, you meet that force disproportionately -- excess force. Like a gunshot."
 
Prosecutors say that while evidence showing that Zimmerman wanted to be a cop isn’t “bad,” they hope it will give jurors some insight into his thought process the night he shot and killed Martin. They also suggest that his studies in criminal justice show Zimmerman knew how to testify and talk to police.
 
Scott Pleasants, another Seminole State College teacher, testified Wednesday via webcam about the criminal investigations class in which he taught Zimmerman. He says that while the course book covered profiling and how to testify as a witness, they never actually discussed it in class. A bizarre moment occurred when several Skype users started flooding prosecutor Richard Mantei’s account with calls. "There's a really good chance we're being toyed with," defense attorney Mark O'Mara said. Pleasants was able to resume his testimony via speakerphone and proceedings continued.
 
A firearms expert with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Amy Siewert, examined Zimmerman’s gun and said he had one bullet ready to fire in the chamber as well as a fully loaded magazine when he fatally shot Martin.
 
"They’re not much use if they’re not ready to fire, are they?" asked O'Mara.
 
"No," said Siewert.

The defense got her to agree that many law enforcement agents carry fully loaded weapons that are ready to fire. Siewert also showed jurors how the gun wouldn’t fire accidentally -- the trigger has to be pulled. But Siewert wouldn’t go so far as to call the loaded gun “safe,” saying it’s a matter of personal preference.

HLN is live-blogging Zimmerman's trial. Click here for HLN's live blog of Tuesday's testimony. Read below for minute-by-minute updates:

5:24 p.m. ET: The attorneys have joined the judge for a sidebar.

5:23 p.m. ET: Judge Nelson has recessed court for the evening. Court will pick back up Friday morning at 8:30 a.m. ET.

5:20 p.m. ET: Gorgone is done testifying, and the attorneys are now at a sidebar with the judge.

5:19 p.m. ET: De La Rionda has finished his re-direct examination. West is now asking Gorgone about the right cuff of Zimmerman's jacket again.

5:17 p.m. ET: Gorgone said none of Zimmerman's DNA was found on Martin's hooded jacket.

5:15 p.m. ET: De La Rionda asked Gorgone how Martin's DNA got of right cuff of Zimmerman's jacket. Gorgone said it could have gotten there many different ways, but it had to come in contact with Martin's DNA.

5:11 p.m. ET: The attorneys are at a sidebar with the judge.

5:10 p.m. ET: West has finished his cross examination of Gorgone. Prosecutor De La Rionda is now asking him questions.

5:09 p.m. ET: West has asked for a moment to confer with O'Mara.

5:07 p.m. ET: So far Gorgone has pointed out two stains, one on the front of Zimmerman jacket and one on the right cuff that containing both Martin and Zimmerman's DNA.

5:04 p.m. ET: Gorgone is just going over the stains found on Zimmerman's jacket that included Martin's DNA.

5:01 p.m. ET: West is now asking Gorgone to go back over the DNA results from Zimmerman's jacket.

4:58 p.m. ET: Gorgone is going back over the DNA he found on Martin's gray sweatshirt.

4:56 p.m. ET: West is now asking Gorgone about the testing conducted on Martin's gray sweatshirt he was wearing under the hooded jacket.

4:53 p.m. ET: West asked, "Frankly then you just didn't find much of anything on this gray hooded sweatshirt when it boils right down to it?"

"Just that partial profile on stain A" said Gorgone.

West asked, "That was the shirt that stunk to high heaven?"

"It didn't smell good," said Gorgone.

4:50 p.m. ET: West had Gorgone point out to the jury what stains he tested from Martin's hooded sweatshirt.

4:48 p.m. ET: Gorgone said he does determine or predict how DNA gets onto a surface.

4:45 p.m. ET: West is now going back over the DNA results from Martin's hooded sweatshirt.

4:43 p.m. ET: Gorgone is explaining how he uses chemicals to isolate DNA evidence, and ultimately tests it.

4:41 p.m. ET: West is asking Gorgone about how he tests materials for the presence of blood.

4:39 p.m. ET: Gorgone said the general practice is to let "wet" evidence air dry, before being placed in a plastic bag to avoid degradation of the DNA. The sweatshirts were still damp when he pulled them out of the plastics bag for testing.

4:35 p.m. ET: Martin's sweatshirts were sealed in biohazard plastic bags when he received them for testing.

4:33 p.m. ET: Gorgone is explaining how "wet" biological evidence should be dried or their is a risk environmental factors could degrade the DNA evidence. West is now asking about how Martin's sweatshirts were taken care by the evidence collectors.

4:29 p.m. ET: West is asking Gorgone about how his lab is accredited, and standardized.

4:26 p.m. ET: Gorgone said one stick is used to scrap each finger on one hand, and another stick is used for the fingers on the other hand.

4:24 p.m. ET: West keeps making the point that Gorgone was not involved in any DNA sample collection from evidence in the case or at the crime scene.

4:21 p.m. ET: Gorgone said when he tests fingernail scrappings he is really just looking for DNA that is foreign to person's whose fingernails are being tested.

4:18 p.m. ET: West is now asking Gorgone about the DNA samples from the scrapings from Martin's fingernails.

4:14 p.m. ET: Gorgone said he could not exclude or include Martin's DNA from being on the holster for Zimmerman's gun.

4:13 p.m. ET: West is asking Gorgone about the DNA tests results from the slide on Zimmerman's gun. Gorgone said he was unable to exclude Zimmerman's and Martin's DNA from being present on the gun slide. West made the point that environmental factors like rain could have affected the DNA quality on the slide.

4:10 p.m. ET: Gorgone said envirmental factors like moisture and heat and degrade DNA samples.

4:08 p.m. ET: West is asking Gorgone about his role in collecting DNA evidence. He said he does not collect DNA samples from the crime scene that is left to someone else.

4:05 p.m. ET: Defense attorney Don West is about to cross examine Gorgone.

4:04 p.m. ET: Judge Nelson is on the bench, and the jury is being seated.

3:40 p.m. ET: De La Rionda has finished his direct examination of Gorgone. Judge Nelson has recessed court for 15 minutes.

3:38 p.m. ET: Multiple stains on Zimmerman's shirt matched Zimmerman's DNA. None of the stains on the shirt have matched Martin's DNA.

3:35 p.m. ET: De La Rionda has now moved on to Gorgone's DNA testings results from Zimmerman's shirt he was wearing the night of the shooting.

3:28 p.m. ET: Multiple stains on Zimmerman's jacket tested positive for Zimmerman's DNA. At least two stains from Zimmerman's jacket, tested positive for a mixture of DNA that included Martin's DNA.

3:25 p.m. ET: Gorgone said a stain found on the back right shoulder of the jacket had a mixture of DNA. The major contributor to the mixture of the stain was Zimmerman, but the lesser contributor to that stain could not be determined. However, it is possible Martin contributed to that mixture.

3:22 p.m. ET: Two stains on Zimmerman's jacket tested positive for Zimmerman's DNA.

3:19 p.m. ET: Gorgone is pointing out to the jury all the different stains he tested from Zimmerman's jacket.

3:17 p.m. ET: De La Rionda has now moved on to the DNA testing Gorgone did on Zimmerman's jacket he was wearing the night of the shooting.

3:13 p.m. ET: One stain on the grey sweatshirt did not yield any results of foreign DNA, but Gorgone could not exclude the possibility that Zimmerman's DNA was in that stain.

3:08 p.m. ET: Gorgone said one stain on Martin's gray sweatshirt contained Zimmerman's DNA. Another stain tested positive for Martin's DNA, and yet another had a mixture with both Martin's and Zimmmerman's were included in the DNA mixture.

 

 

3:03 p.m. ET: De La Rionda has now moved on to testing Gorgone did on the sweatshirt Martin was wearing under his hooded jacket.

3:00 p.m. ET: Gorgone said he did not find anyone else's DNA on Martin's hooded jacket.

2:58 p.m. ET: One stain on Martin's hoodie did test positive for his DNA.

2:55 p.m. ET: De La Rionda is asking Gorgone to point to the stains he tested from Martin's clothing.

2:52 p.m. ET: Gorgone found Martin's DNA on the skittles bag he bought from the store moments before being shot.

 

2:48 p.m. ET: Scrapings from Martin's fingernails did not show the presence of Zimmerman's DNA.

 

2:46 p.m. ET: Gorgone did match DNA found on the holster for his gun to Zimmerman. He was able to exclude Martin's DNA as being on his holster.

2:44 p.m. ET: There was no testable DNA found on the slide of Zimmerman's gun.

2:41 p.m. ET: Gorgone was unable to find any testable DNA off the trigger of Zimmerman's gun.

2:38 p.m. ET: This chart shows the DNA testing results from DNA found on handle or grip of Zimmerman's gun. The DNA from the gun matched George Zimmerman's DNA profile. Martin's DNA was not present on the DNA mixture that was found on the grip of the gun.

 

2:36 p.m. ET: Defense attorney West is reviewing a chart that shows Gorgone's results from testing the DNA samples from Zimmerman's gun.

2:33 p.m. ET: De La Rionda is now asking Gorgone about DNA samples swabbed from Zimmerman's gun.

2:30 p.m. ET: De La Rionda is displaying results of the DNA testing in Zimmerman's case. Gorgone is explaining what the data means.

2:27 p.m. ET: De La Rionda is showing Gorgone the DNA samples he tested in this case.

2:24 p.m. ET: De La Rionda has now moved on Gorgone work in Zimmerman's case.

2:21 p.m. ET: Gorgone is explaining the probability another person in the population would match the DNA in sample from a crime scene.

2:17 p.m. ET: Gorgone said if he has a mixture of DNA from multiple people he can determine whose DNA is in the mixture.

2:14 p.m. ET: De La Rionda asked Gorgone how a DNA sample from a crime scene is compared to a DNA sample taken from a suspect.

2:11 p.m. ET: Gorgone is now talking about how a DNA sample can be taken by swabbing a surface like a gun or a table.

2:09 p.m. ET: Gorgone is explaining how he makes a DNA profile for a DNA sample.

2:07 p.m. ET: De La Rionda is now asking Gorgone about the specific DNA testing he did in Zimmerman's case.

2:04 p.m. ET: De La Rionda asked Gorgone to tell the jury about the precautions he takes to make sure the DNA samples being tested are not contaminated.

2:00 p.m. ET: Gorgone is explaining DNA and how it is used to identify to criminal suspects.

1:58 p.m. ET: Prosecutor Bernie De La Rionda has called Anthony Gorgone, Florida Department of Law Enforcement crime lab, to the stand.

1:55 p.m. ET: Nelson said she will go as late as necessary to get the state to rest today, and she wants the defense to begin Friday morning. The jury is being seated.

1:53 p.m. ET: West said the defense team has been tied up with issues, and hasn't had time. Nelson seems to be getting frustrated with West.

1:51 p.m. ET: Nelson said she wants to hold court on Friday, because the jury is sequestered away from their families.

1:49 p.m. ET: Nelson said the prosecution has indicated they plan to rest today with the defense starting their case Friday morning.

1:48 p.m. ET: Judge Debra Nelson is on the stand. Defense attorney Don West is discuss some scheduling issues with some depositions they want to conduct over the next few days. West has asked for court to be recessed Friday.

1:44 p.m. ET: Zimmerman has entered the courtroom. Testimony should resume shortly.

12:13 p.m. ET: The judge has recessed jurors for lunch until 1:45 p.m. ET. She tells them she wants to give them extra time because there's something different for lunch today. The live blog will pick back up once testimony resumes.

12:12 p.m. ET: Siewert says this gun doesn't shift into single action after you fire it -- each pull has to be the full pull. O'Mara has finished his questions and this witness has been excused.

12:09 p.m. ET: Prosecutor Guy has Siewert show jurors what it takes to fire the gun. She aims it at the wall to demonstrate.

12:08 p.m. ET: Siewert explains how you have to physically engage the safety on the gun if it has one.

12:07 p.m. ET: Siewert says she only examines clothing, she doesn't look at the wound a victim might have. O'Mara has finished his questions. Prosecutor Guy asks if the gun could have been used for murder. The defense objects and the judge sustains.

12:05 p.m. ET: O'Mara says there was no evidence that the gun was pressed into the sweatshirt. Siewert says it was consistent with the firearm touching the shirt, whether that touch was light or more pressed into the shirt. She says there may potentially have been different evidence if the sweatshirt was wrapped around the gun.

12:01 p.m. ET: Siewert says again that most law enforcement guns she sees have a bullet in the chamber.

11:59 a.m. ET: Siewert agrees that most law enforcement carry guns with a bullet in the chamber.

"They’re not much use if they’re not ready to fire, are they?" asked O'Mara.

"No," said Siewert.

11:58 a.m. ET: O'Mara asks if Zimmerman's gun is a safe one to carry loaded. "This gun, again in working order, is safe in terms of it will not fire unless the trigger is pulled," said Siewert. She says having a loaded gun be considered safe is a personal preference.

11:57 a.m. ET: Siewert says the trigger on this gun in particular needs to be pulled back much farther than other guns. She says this feature potentially makes it safer.

11:56 a.m. ET: O'Mara says that if someone were carrying a gun for self-defense, they would want it ready to fire and to not have a safety. Siewert says she believes that's personal preference.

11:53 a.m. ET: Defense attorney O'Mara has Siewert hold Zimmerman's gun. She says that the "double action" aspect of the gun also works as a safety feature. She agrees that a double action gun, when it's ready to fire, is safer to carry than a single action gun that's ready to fire.

11:48 a.m. ET: Siewert did the same test on Martin's inner shirt.

"This as well was consistent with residues and physical effects consistent with a contact shot," said Siewert. She says she believes the muzzle of the gun was against Martin's sweatshirt when it fired. The prosecution has finished its questions.

11:47 a.m. ET: Zimmerman's gun and one of the live rounds was used by Siewert to conduct a test on part of the fabric from Martin's hooded sweatshirt.

"The clothing displayed residues and physical effects consistent with a contact shot," said Siewert.

11:44 a.m. ET: Siewert looks at a close-up of the sweatshirt where the bullet entered. She says there was darkening, tearing of the fabric, burning and singing.

11:42 a.m. ET: Siewert also examined the shirt Martin was wearing under his black hoodie. She also removed part of this shirt for testing.

11:40 a.m. ET: Prosecutor John Gun brings out Martin's black sweatshirt. Siewert explains how she examined the area around the gunshot. She says she removed a portion of the back of the sweatshirt for testing purposes.

11:37 a.m. ET: Siewert couldn't tell if bullet fragments were fired from the gun because they were damaged.

11:35 a.m. ET: The trigger pull for the gun was measured between 4.5 and 4.75 pounds, according to Siewert. She also matched the shell casing found at the scene with Zimmerman's gun.

11:32 a.m. ET: Siewert shows jurors how the gun works. She says the gun's magazine was fully loaded with one cartridge in the chamber at the time the gun was fired. She also says there are safeties in place to keep the gun from accidentally firing.

11:27 a.m. ET: Siewert examined Zimmerman's gun and says a pull of the trigger is required every time the gun is fired. She test-fired the gun and found that it was functional.

11:25 a.m. ET: The prosecution has called Amy Siewert to the stand. She is a Crime Laboratory Analyst with the Florida Depart of Law Enforcement and is reviewing her education and background.

11:22 a.m. ET: In their introductions during the first week of class, Pleasants says Zimmerman said he wanted to become an attorney and eventually a prosecutor. The witness has been excused. 

11:20 a.m. ET: Pleasants says he didn't cover strategies as a witness or testifying in the class discussions but it was part of the required reading.

11:18 a.m. ET: There was no coursework that touched on criminal profiling, according to Pleasants. He says there are records that Zimmerman participated in all the online discussions that they had. He's reviewing the records.

11:16 a.m. ET: O'Mara is now asking questions of Pleasants. The professor says his class was online and there was no required attendance. Pleasants says he can't guarantee that what's in the textbook was covered in class or that students in the class read the material.

11:12 a.m. ET: Multiple people keep trying to call into the Skype conversation. O'Mara says he believes they're being toyed with so they're now calling Pleasants back on the phone.

11:11 a.m. ET: Pleasants says chapters in the book include how to testify as a witness and profiling.

11:09 a.m. ET: The prosecution has called Professor Scott Pleasants to testify. He taught Zimmerman in a class about criminal investigations in the summer of 2011 at Seminole State College.

11:05 a.m. ET: The jury is being seated.

11:00 a.m. ET: The judge is back on the bench. The prosecutor says there are some audio issues with the next witness, who is testifying over webcam.

10:38 a.m. ET: The judge says the next witness will be testifying via webcam and won't be available until 11 a.m. ET. She has recessed court until then.

10:36 a.m. ET: Krzenski tells defense attorney O'Mara that this is the only rider release filed by Zimmerman. He has been excused and the attorneys are at a sidebar.

10:34 a.m. ET: The prosecution has called Jim Krzenski to the witness stand. He is the Administrative Manager for the Sanford Police Department. He's reviewing a rider release form filled out by Zimmerman on March 15, 2010. Zimmerman lists the reason for his ride-along as: "Solidify my chances of a career in law enforcement." The prosecution has no more questions.

10:33 a.m. ET: Carter says "imperfect self-defense" is where "the force that you are encountering, you meet that force disproportionately -- excess force. Like a gunshot." The prosecution has finished its questions and the witness has been excused.

10:30 a.m. ET: The defense has finished its questions. Prosecutor Mantei wants to know about claiming self-defense when you provoked the attack. The defense objects and the attorneys are at a sidebar.

10:28 a.m. ET: Carter says "imperfect self-defense" is where someone counters force from a threat with a disproportionate level of force.

10:25 a.m. ET: Carter says he also taught the class about "imperfect self-defense," where the tables turn in the situation.

10:24 a.m. ET: Injuries support a person's fear of great bodily harm, according to Carter, but a  person can still have a fear of harm without having injuries.

"You don't have to wait until you're almost dead to defense yourself?" asked West.

"No, I would advise you probably not do that," said Carter.

10:22 a.m. ET: "It’s fluid, the law as it applies isn’t static. Any change in a certain fact can weigh differently in terms of whether someone acted reasonably," said Carter. He says he would show his class videos and pause it to look at how things were changing in the situation.

10:20 a.m. ET: Carter says he taught his class: "When stuff hits the fan, you’re judged by jurors and your actions have to meet a reasonable standard, objectively. So whether or not a reasonable person in your position would have felt the way you felt." He also says part of self-defense is the individual's subjective feelings of facing death or "grievous bodily harm."

10:16 a.m. ET: Carter says he talked about the evolution of the Castle Doctrine in his class.

"Right, I think what happened is the presumption changed. If you're attacked in your home, there's a presumption that you're in fear of your life... it extended outside of the home but there wasn't that same presumption. That same presumption doesn't exists outside of a home," said Carter.

10:14 a.m. ET: Carter says he used his knowledge of Florida law, having been admitted to the Florida Bar, to talk to his class about self-defense.

10:09 a.m. ET: The attorneys are at a sidebar.

10:08 a.m. ET: Carter says he's familiar with the laws of self-defense in Florida. He says "Stand Your Ground" is a nickname. Carter agrees with West that if you're in your home, you have "no duty to retreat" and may "meet force with force" to defend yourself. West points out that the "Stand Your Ground" law extend this to outside the home. West says that before, you had to retreat if you could.

10:04 a.m. ET: "Stand Your Ground" is not in the course book, according to Carter. He says his discussions about the law in Florida would have been done in class.

10:02 a.m. ET: Carter says he didn't write the book he used in class, which didn't focus specifically on Florida law.

9:58 a.m. ET: Defense attorney Don West begins his cross-examination. He points out Zimmerman and Carter waves to him, saying, "Hey George." West asks Carter about his background.

9:56 a.m. ET: Carter says the course book was more generic, not covering Florida law, but he wanted to make the class more practical. He says he taught his students about the "Stand Your Ground" law.

"It's not one of those things that you're just going to whisk through in a day... it was something that I constantly iterated ... it was something that I think the students really wanted to know about, it was so practical, they were very much engaged in class discussion," said Carter. He also says he would review all the material before a test.

The prosecution has finished its questions.

9:54 a.m. ET: "You always kind of remember your smarter student or the one who stood out the most… he was probably one of the better students in the class," said Carter.

9:51 a.m. ET: The prosecution calls Alexis Carter to the witness stand. He's a military prosecutor who taught a criminal litigation class at Seminole State College in 2010. He says he remembers Zimmerman and gave him an "A" in the course.

"We talked about elements of the law, criminal procedure, constitutional rights -- things of that nature," said Carter.

He looks at the course book, which has information on self-defense.

9:49 a.m. ET: West has no more questions for Kearns who has been excused.

9:48 a.m. ET: West is showing Kearns the "extract" from Zimmerman's application that the police department keeps on file after destroying the application. One column lists "credit."

"Do you take that to mean that Mr. Zimmerman had a problem with his credit?" asked West.

"Yes sir... that's a reason why we did not consider him further, based on that record," said Kearns.

Kearns says it's possible that if Zimmerman fixed his credit issue that he would have been able to reapply.

9:45 a.m. ET: The prosecution has no further questions and defense attorney Don West is cross-examining Kearns. Kearns says Zimmerman's application was destroyed and he has no memory of Zimmerman's references or any of the contents of his application. Kearns says a lot of people apply to become police officers.

9:42 a.m. ET: The prosecution has called Scott Kearns to the witness stand. He works with the Prince William County Police in Virginia. He says they destroy applications to become a police officer after three years. He has a letter dated July 8, 2009 that shows Zimmerman's application wasn't accepted.

9:38 a.m. ET: The prosecution calls Sonja Boles-Melvin, a registrar for Seminole State College. She says Zimmerman applied for a grade change in a legal studies class called "criminal litigation." She also says he applied for a degree on October 17, 2011. The defense has no questions and the witness has been excused.

9:31 a.m. ET: The judge is back on the bench and the jury is being seated.

9:19 a.m. ET: The page that lists "bad credit" as the reason Zimmerman's police officer application was rejected will be removed from the evidence. The judge has recessed court for 10 minutes.

9:17 a.m. ET: Mantei shows a picture of a shore horn as he makes his final argument. The judge rules that the defense's objections are overruled and the prosecution's witnesses will be able to testify about Zimmerman's coursework in criminal justice and his desire to be a cop.

9:15 a.m. ET: O'Mara says the prosecutors have to show a definite connection between the evidence and their theory and he says they're failed to do so.

9:12 a.m. ET: "They are putting them in so they can turn them into seething bad acts. Subtle but seething bad acts by my client," said O'Mara. He says  the case law presented by the prosecutor showed bad acts by the defendants.

9:10 a.m. ET: Mantei says it doesn't matter if Zimmerman was in a particular class -- it's more relevant that he voluntarily signed up for the course and had an interest in it. Defense attorney O'Mara asks for a couple hours to review the prosecution's case law. The judge tells him she gave them the night to prepare.

"In all due respect, we started this issue yesterday afternoon. I had the jury out for a half hour so you could have time to research this issue," said Judge Debra Nelson. She also says the defense asked for the night to prepare, which she gave them. She won't give them any more time to research the issue.

9:06 a.m. ET: The judge tells prosecutor Mantei that all the information about Zimmerman's credit issues would need to be redacted. Mantei says he wouldn't have any issues with that.

9:05 a.m. ET: “He would know what might be asked of him, done with certain pieces of evidence, what he might be asked about… he would know these things or at least have reason to know these things,” said Mantei.

9:02 a.m. ET: Zimmerman's desire to be a police officer isn't bad, says Mantei, but it helps show his state of mind the night of the shooting.

8:56 a.m. ET: Mantei is showing case law to explain why he thinks this evidence is relevant. He says it helps show Zimmerman's state of mind the night of the shooting.

8:51 a.m. ET: Prosecutor Richard Mantei says the evidence also shows Zimmerman learned about testifying and talking to police. Mantei says you don't get to consider Zimmerman's frustrations in a vacuum. He is showing the judge a PowerPoint presentation that outlines his argument. Mantei says Zimmerman's  "extracurricular life mirrors" his desires to be a cop. Mantei says Zimmerman used police jargon like "I unholstered my firearm." He also says Zimmerman told police he "knew the legal side" of the situation he was in.

8:44 a.m. ET: O'Mara is now discussing Zimmerman's school-related paperwork and says it's irrelevant because of how long ago it happened and the lack of connection to the case. O'Mara makes the same argument about some of Zimmerman's homework and a project he submitted about the Fourth Amendment. He also questions the relevancy of a book from Zimmerman's class that has three pages on self-defense. O'Mara says Zimmerman may not have read it.

8:39 a.m. ET: Zimmerman's application to become a police officer seems to have been rejected because of his credit issues, according to O'Mara. He says this evidence is irrelevant and that they'd demand Zimmerman's actual application, not just a letter to him about it. O'Mara also wants to talk to witnesses who reviewed the application.

8:38 a.m. ET: O'Mara argues that the fact that Zimmerman asked to ride along with police two years before he shot Martin is irrelevant.

8:35 a.m. ET: O'Mara says the prosecutors need to show Zimmerman was actually present for class when there was a discussion about "Stand Your Ground." O'Mara says the class's book was generic, not based on Florida law. O'Mara says prosecutors are trying to use out of court evidence to impeach an out of court statement. He also says he believes the professor will say he talked about self-defense but he's not sure if Zimmerman was present or not. O'Mara says that if prior coursework can be introduced, then the defense should be able to talk about Trayvon Martin getting into fights in the past.

8:30 a.m. ET: Zimmerman is in the courtroom and the judge is on the bench. Defense attorney Mark O'Mara has asked for a few minutes to get ready.

8:17 a.m. ET: Attorneys are expected to make legal arguments on the admissibility of Zimmerman's school records starting at 8:30 a.m. ET. Jurors have been asked to return at 9 a.m. ET.

Prosecutors in the George Zimmerman trial will bring forward evidence on Wednesday that they hope shows the former neighborhood watch captain was a "wannabe cop" who well knew Florida's self-defense and "Stand Your Ground" laws.

Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder for killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, on February 26, 2012. Zimmerman told police he was pursuing the teenager throughout the neighborhood because there had been a series of break-ins in the area. The two fought, and Zimmerman said he was forced to draw his gun and kill Martin in self-defense.

One of Zimmerman's professors who taught a course on criminal justice will take the stand, along with several other witnesses who will introduce evidence that Zimmerman was interested in police work.

Records show that Zimmerman completed 149 hours towards a degree in criminal justice, that he applied to be a police officer in Virginia, and that he applied for a ride-along with the Sanford Police Department.

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