Win for defense: Jury to hear Martin's pot use

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 Feb. 26, 2012
Win for defense: Jury to hear Martin's pot use

Tracy Martin: I couldn't identify voice on tape

Tracy Martin: I couldn't identify voice on tape

'That's Georgie': Zimmerman's pals on 911 screams

'That's Georgie': Zimmerman's pals on 911 screams

Judge Debra Nelson ruled Monday that jurors in the George Zimmerman trial will be allowed to hear about marijuana found in Trayvon Martin’s system the night he was fatally shot.

Prosecutors argued the amount was so minimal that “we just don’t know” what effect it had on Martin. They also accused the defense of trying to "backdoor some very negative character evidence” into the trial.

But the defense said the amount found in Martin’s system would have had an impact on his judgment that night and is therefore relevant to the case.

The judge ruled she would allow the testimony about Martin’s toxicology results in front of the jury and told the prosecutors they would have their chance to cross-examine the defense’s witness and present rebuttal witnesses of its own.

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 because there had been a rash of crime in the area. A confrontation ensued, and Zimmerman said he was forced to kill Martin.

INTERACTIVE TIMELINE: The George Zimmerman Case

Protests were held around the country, calling for Zimmerman’s arrest 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.

Trayvon Martin’s father, Tracy, took the stand on Monday to describe what he heard in the background of a 911 call made by one of Zimmerman’s neighbor.  

"Basically what I was listening to, I was listening to my son’s last cry for help. I was listening to his life being taken and I was trying to come to grips with that -- that Trayvon was here no more. It was just tough," said Martin.

Read more: Was Trayvon Martin impaired by marijuana?

Earlier in the day, the defense called the former lead investigator from the Sanford Police Department, Chris Serino, who said Martin told him “no,” under his breath, when asked if the voice belonged to his son.

Another investigator, Doris Singleton, also said there was no doubt Martin told them it wasn’t his son screaming for help on that 911 call.

“He was very upset, he was very sad, he hung his head, he cried,” said Singleton. "I was choked up myself. I had to stand back. I could feel how he must feel because I have children. I was choked up by it – I felt horrible for him."

But Martin testified that he never said it wasn’t his son. He said that he pushed his chair away from the desk where he was listening to the call and told investigators he “couldn’t tell.”

The man who trained George Zimmerman how to fight also testified on Monday that the former neighborhood watch captain didn’t know how to throw a punch after training for almost a year.

Watch Tracy Martin testify: I couldn't identify voice on tape

"He was -- and I don’t really like to use this terminology – soft, just physically soft. He was an overweight, large man -- and a very pleasant, nice man -- but physically soft," said Adam Pollack.

Zimmerman started taking grappling classes where Pollack said trainers teach chokeholds, arm locks and leg locks to students -- "Basically make the person say, 'Uncle,'" according to Pollack.

After his school schedule changed, Zimmerman moved on to boxing training, where he didn’t advance beyond learning how to jab, according to Pollack.

When asked what level Zimmerman was at right before the shooting, Pollack said, "He's still learning how to punch. He didn't really know how to effectively punch.”

"Did he ever get to the point where he could box somebody else?" asked defense attorney Mark O'Mara.

"Absolutely not," said Pollack.

Read more: 10 questions police should have asked Zimmerman

At one point during his testimony, Pollack stepped down from the witness stand to mount defense attorney O’Mara, who laid on the ground. O’Mara wanted Pollack to demonstrate what the technique “ground and pound” looks like.

A witness who saw the fight between Zimmerman and Martin testified earlier in the trial that it looked like a “ground and pound” and that Zimmerman was on the bottom.

Pollack showed how the person on top usually has the advantage in this position, which is associated with mixed martial arts fighting (MMA). Pollack demonstrated how his knees would be placed above the person’s waist and explained how gravity helps the person on top punch the person on the bottom.

In a continued effort to show Zimmerman was not the aggressor in the altercation, the defense also called a slew of his friends on Monday to identify the voice heard screaming in the background of the 911 call made by a neighbor.

John Donnelly, a former Vietnam War combat medic, grew emotional on the stand as he explained why he thought the screams were made by his friend Zimmerman.

Watch: Did the prosecution prove its case?

Choking back tears, Donnelly explained that the reason he could identify the screams is due to his experience with war. During combat, Donnelly had to recognize the screams of his fellow soldiers and run to them when they needed help. He said he has heard a 250-pound man scream like a little girl.

"In the midst of combat, there are a lot people yelling and screaming," said Donnelly. "Sometimes they are screaming for help." 

If the jury believes Zimmerman was screaming on the 911 call, it could buttress his claim that he was forced to shoot the teenager in self-defense. On the other hand, if the jury believes Martin was screaming on the 911 call, the jury may be convinced Zimmerman murdered the teenager.

Donnelly told the court that he views Zimmerman as a "son," but his close relationship with Zimmerman would not affect his testimony. Donnelly donated almost $3,000 to Zimmerman's defense fund and paid for $1,700 in suits for Zimmerman to wear during the trial.

Donnelly's testimony Monday was preceded by that of four of Zimmerman's other friends, who all said that they also recognized the screams on the 911 call as Zimmerman's voice. During cross-examinations, prosecutors focused on potential bias -- due to their close relationships with the defendant -- on the part of the witnesses.

The defense team told the judge that it expects to introduce Martin’s toxicology reports sometime on Tuesday. Testimony is expected to resume at 9 a.m. ET.

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

6:39 p.m. ET: The judge says the prosecution can take a deposition of this witness now. There are no objections. The court will recess for the evening and the attorneys have been asked to return to court at 8:30 a.m. ET Tuesday.

6:31 p.m. ET: The judge is back on the bench. Prosecutor Mantei says the witness spoke to another defense witness and then made a new version of the animation. Mantei says this wasn't mentioned to prosecutors and that he needs time to look into it further through depositions.

6:20 p.m. ET: The defense expert has arrived. Defense attorney O'Mara and prosecutor Mantei are reviewing the computer reenactment. Once they're finished, the judge will be back on the bench to decide on its admissibility.

5:35 p.m. ET: The judge recesses court until the witness gets there. She tells the attorneys to meet with him to resolve their questions.

5:31 p.m. ET: The judge is back on the bench. Defense attorney O'Mara says the witness they're waiting on who created the animation  is 10-15 minutes away.

5:10 p.m. ET: The attorneys are at a sidebar. The judge has recessed court for 15 minutes so the attorneys can discuss an animation.

5:08 p.m. ET: The judge won't allow a defense witness to testify that Zimmerman was reasonable in his use of deadly force and that he didn't break the law.

4:59 p.m. ET: Prosecutor Guy says the marijuana results need to have a definite effect on a person -- "In this case, we just don't know." Guy says Martin wasn't swaying while in 7-Eleven. He says the defense is trying to "backdoor some very negative character evidence." The defense tells the judge it plans to have a witness testify on this matter Tuesday. The judge says the prosecution will have a chance to cross-examine the witness and call rebuttal witnesses. She will allow the testimony about Martin's toxicology results.

4:52 p.m. ET: Defense attorney Don West says the medical examiner now says that THC from marijuana would have some affect on Martin's thinking. He also points out that Zimmerman said Martin looked like he was on "drugs or something." Martin was also swaying on surveillance video from 7-Eleven, according to West, and a lighter was found on him. He argues that the amount of marijuana found in Martin's system had some impact on his judgment and is very relevant to the case.

4:48 p.m. ET: Prosecutor John Guy says toxicology results showing marijuana in Trayvon Martin's system should be excluded from trial. He says there isn't enough to show it had any affect on him the night he was shot and would be highly prejudicial.

4:44 p.m. ET: The judge says she has reviewed Donnelly's deposition and the state had a chance to ask him about this background. She says she believes the defense should have told the state he had heard the 911 call but she won't strike Donnelly's testimony from the record.

4:42 p.m. ET: O'Mara says both sides could have played the 911 call for Donnelly during the deposition but didn't. He says the prosecutors should have to show what, exactly, they would have done differently if they knew Donnelly heard the 911 call on Saturday and was planning to testify about it.

4:39 p.m. ET: Mantei says intentionally keeping information from the prosecutors has hampered their ability to do a proper cross-examination.

4:37 p.m. ET: Prosecutor Richard Mantei is explaining to the judge how not knowing about this witness's testimony hurts their case. He says they would have tried to postpone questioning him in front of the jury to explore certain issues in a deposition. The judge asks what difference it would make if Donnelly heard the tape for the first time in court instead.

4:32 p.m. ET: The prosecution says it didn't know John Donnelly, who testified earlier today, was going to identify about the voice screaming on the 911 call as belonging to Zimmerman. In a deposition, Donnelly said he hadn't heard the calls.

4:29 p.m. ET: The judge has excused the jurors for the day. Testimony will resume at 9 a.m. ET on Tuesday. The judge is hearing some legal matters now.

4:27 p.m. ET: The possibility for influence in this case was potentially greater than other cases, according to Lee. He says that, if this were an investigation, they would question each family member separately. This witness has been excused.

4:24 p.m. ET: Lee explains how they do photo line ups. Prosecutor de la Rionda has finished his cross-examination.

4:20 p.m. ET: Lee says he believes the audio should have been played to the family members individually. He believes the 911 call was played to the family as a group in the mayor's office with no law enforcement officers present. He says he offered to be present but was excluded from the room. O'Mara has finished his direct examination.

4:18 p.m. ET: Lee says he knew the 911 call was going to be released to the Martin family so they could hear it. If you're showing a photo lineup, you should show it to each person individually "so their decision is not influenced," according to Lee. He says a similar process should be done with audio.

4:14 p.m. ET: The defense has called Bill Ray Lee Jr. to the witness stand. He is the former Chief of Police for the Sanford Police Department.

4:11 p.m. ET: The police said Martin told them it wasn't his son screaming on the call. Martin says he never told his lawyer to say that the police had lied. Tracy Martin has been excused.

4:09 p.m. ET: "You were playing that recording over and over. You were stilling dealing with his death?" asked de la Rionda, in reference to Martin listening to the call in the mayor's office.

"Yes," said Martin. "I was just trying to figure out... why did the defendant get out of his vehicle and chase my son?" said Martin.

The prosecutor has finished his questions.

4:07 p.m. ET: "Basically what I was listening to, I was listening to my son’s last cry for help. I was listening to his life being taken and I was trying to come to grips with that, that Trayvon was here no more. It was just tough," said Martin.

4:05 p.m. ET: "You still, at that time, were in denial in the sense of not wanting to believe your son was dead?" asked prosecutor de la Rionda.

"Correct," said Martin.

"You realized that that was the shot -- " said de la Rionda.

"-- That killed my son, yes," said Martin.

"Did you really know what to do at that point?" asked de la Rionda.

"My world was, from that point until today, my world has just been turned upside down," said Martin.

4:01 p.m. ET: The day after the shooting, officers came to Martin's home and asked him to identify his son because he didn't have identification on him. Prosecutor de la Rionda asks if police showed him a picture of his son's body on the ground. The defense objects and the attorneys are at a sidebar.

3:59 p.m. ET: "It’s very difficult to believe that Trayvon’s not living. As I’ve said over and over, my best friend in life, and to have him gone is tragic," said Martin.

3:58 p.m. ET: O'Mara asks Martin about listening to the tape with family members at the mayor's office.

"After listening to the tape maybe 20 times, I said I knew it was Trayvon's voice. I didn't direct that towards any family members. Matter of fact, I think the family members had started leaving out the room. It was too much for them, they couldn't take it," said Martin.

O'Mara has finished his direct examination.

3:54 p.m. ET: The defense has called Trayvon Martin's father, Tracy Martin, to the stand. O'Mara is asking him about the voice heard screaming on the background of the call.

"As best as I recall, after he played the tape he basically just said, 'Do you recognize the voice?'" said Martin.

"And what was your response?" asked O'Mara.

"My response was that I didn’t tell him, 'No that wasn’t Trayvon.' I think I kind of pushed away from the table and kind of shook my head and said, 'I can’t tell," said Martin. He says he has no knowledge of an enhanced version of the call and he didn't tell anyone he had listened to one.

3:50 p.m. ET: The jury is being seated.

3:39 p.m. ET: The judge is back on the bench and the attorneys are at a sidebar.

3:20 p.m. ET: The judge has recessed court for 15 minutes.

3:19 p.m. ET: When Zimmerman was last at the gym, Pollack says: "He had lost quite a bit of weight so he was in physically better shape but he still had a long way to go. He wasn’t shredded and ripped like a competitive fighter." He agrees with O'Mara that he would still consider Zimmerman to be "soft" at this point. This witness has been excused.

3:18 p.m. ET: Pollack says Zimmerman was still working on his jab.

"He had not gotten proficient, truly proficient, with any of it," said Pollack. "He was a hard worker but he was no an accomplished athlete in any shape or form."

3:17 p.m. ET: Prosecutor Mantei has finished his cross-examination of Pollack. Defense attorney O'Mara is now asking more questions.

3:15 p.m. ET: Pollack says Zimmerman did several months of grappling classes then switched to boxing classes when his school schedule changed. He would have done a max of six hours per week of classes.

3:13 p.m. ET: Zimmerman would have learned foot work first, then how to hold his body position, then he would learn a jab, a straight right hand, then a hook and then combinations.

3:11 p.m. ET: Pollack says you can't arm-lock somebody from the ground position. "You have to be extremely skilled," said Pollack and agreed that Zimmerman didn't have the skills for this maneuver.

3:10 p.m. ET: "A one-minute round can seem like eternity if you’re not in condition for it," said Pollack.

3:09 p.m. ET: Pollack says he wouldn't teach a beginner about the first blow strategy because they'd need the foundation first. He also says if you can't execute it well, it could leave you open to quick counter attack.

3:07 p.m. ET: Zimmerman was 250-260 pounds when he joined the gym and lost between 50-80 pounds, according to Pollack.

3:06 p.m. ET: Pollack says he doesn't know if Zimmerman joined another gym or was working out at home while taking a hiatus from his gym.

3:04 p.m. ET: Pollack says he would describe Zimmerman as "non-athletic."

"He was -- and I don’t really like to use this terminology – soft, just physically soft. He was an overweight, large man, and a very pleasant, nice man. But physically soft," said Pollack. O'Mara has completed his direct examination.

3:01 p.m. ET: Pollack saw Zimmerman a few days after the shooting.

"He had black eyes, his nose was scraped up, he had some bandages on his head… he looked emotionally traumatized," said Pollack. "He had the look of a human being who had been through an extremely traumatic experience and was traumatized from it."

2:58 p.m. ET: Zimmerman was obese when he first came to the gym, according to Pollack. Both the dietary changes and exercise program helped Zimmerman get in better shape. Pollack wouldn't teach Zimmerman how to kick because "he didn't have a handle on punching."

2:57 p.m. ET: On a scale of 1 to 10 in regards to boxing proficiency, Pollack gives Zimmerman a 0.5 when he first started.

Pollack says Zimmerman never got in the ring -- "He wasn't skilled enough for that."

After training, Pollack says of Zimmerman: "He's still learning how to punch, he didn't really know how to effectively punch."

"Did he ever get to the point where he could box somebody else?" asked defense attorney O'Mara.

"Absolutely not," said Pollack.

2:53 p.m. ET: Pollack also gives Zimmerman "about a 1" on a scale of 10 when it comes to his overall athleticism.

2:52 p.m. ET: Pollack said that after a year of training, he would give Zimmerman a 1 or 1.5 on a scale of 10

"It's not that he made such little progress, it's a tremendous amount of work," said Pollack.

2:51 p.m. ET: Pollack gives Zimmerman a 0.5 on a scale of 10 before his training started. Pollack says Zimmerman trained for about a year, except for a few months of hiatus. He took classes on grappling, boxing and would occasionally come in on his own.

2:48 p.m. ET: Zimmerman wanted to box, but the classes didn't fit his schedule, so Pollack had him start grappling. Zimmerman would have learned chokes, arm locks, leg locks -- "Basically make the person say, 'Uncle,'" said Pollack. Training sessions are normally two hours long and Zimmerman would have taken classes 2-3 times each week.

2:45 p.m. ET: Pollack says he met Zimmerman in October 2010: "He came to the gym to lose weight and get in shape." Pollack says he put Zimmerman on a diet and started an exercise program, which was tailored around his schedule.

2:43 p.m. ET: "When you’re on the top, you have gravity working for you. So if you strike downward, it’s going to be extremely effective for you," said Pollack. He also describes a term called "shrimping" where the person on the bottom tries to get free.

2:42 p.m. ET: O'Mara gets on the ground and has Pollack show him a mounted position. Pollack says the knees of the person on top should be above the waist of the person on the bottom. He says the person on top has a better advantage from this position.

2:39 p.m. ET: On the benefit of getting the first punch in, Pollack says: “If you’re effective with it, that’s going to put you in a much stronger position over your opponent.”

2:38 p.m. ET: Defense attorney O'Mara asks Pollack about the term "ground and pound." Pollack says you have to get an opponent on the ground, keep them on the ground and start striking them from the top, downwards.

"If you're effective with the first blow, that can effectively end the match immediately," said Pollack.

2:35 p.m. ET: Pollack describes mixed-martial arts (MMA) as a "competitive fighting sport that has gotten extremely popular recently." You can fold kickboxing and wrestling into it, according to Pollack.

2:33 p.m. ET: The defense has called Adam Pollack to the witness stand. He is a trainer and has owned a gym for 14 years. He says he has been involved in fight training for most of his life.

2:29 p.m. ET: The attorneys are at a sidebar.

2:28 p.m. ET: "To know that he was hearing the sound that ended his son’s life – it was tough to watch," said Singleton. She said Tracy Martin didn't lose it but you could see he was upset. She agreed with the prosecutor that he acted appropriately for a grieving father.

"There’s no doubt that he was telling us that it didn’t sound like his son to him," said Singleton. She has been excused.

2:26 p.m. ET: "I don’t know his exact words but he was telling Chris it was not his son’s voice screaming for help," said Singleton. "I was choked up myself. I had to stand back. I could feel how he must feel because I have children. I was choked up by it – I felt horrible for him."

2:25 p.m. ET: The defense has called Doris Singleton to the stand again. She says she was about 8 or 10 feet away from Serino and Tracy Martin when the 911 call was played.

"Mr. Martin’s response?" asked O'Mara.

"That it was not his son," said Singleton. "He has his head down, he was wiping his face with tissues." O'Mara has finished his direct examination.

2:22 p.m. ET: Serino says a lot of people don't recognize their own voices on recordings. He didn't think Zimmerman was denying it was his voice on the call. The witness has been dismissed.

2:20 p.m. ET: Serino says Zimmerman told him "that doesn't even sound like me" when he heard the screams on the 911 call. Tracy Martin's girlfriend was providing comfort to him and didn't give her opinion, according to Serino.

2:18 p.m. ET: "Did Mr. Martin’s response fit into the other information you already had available?" asked O'Mara.

"At that point in time it did sir," said Serino. He says Tracy Martin never called to hear the 911 call again and he never called to change his opinion of who was yelling in the background. O'Mara has finished his questions.

2:17 p.m. ET: Serino says the screams became an issue later in the case after there was a discrepancy over who was yelling. Defense attorney O'Mara has Serino list all the evidence that it was Zimmerman screaming.

2:14 p.m. ET: "You stated it was under his breath," said de la Rionda.

"Yes, sir," said Serino.

"You interpreted it as he said, 'No,'" said de la Rionda.

"Yes sir," said Serino.

"You didn't flat out hear the word 'no' unequivocally?" asked de la Rionda.

"I heard it and saw the movement of his mouth," said Serino.

"Your opinion is he said, 'No,'" said de la Rionda.

"Yes sir," said Serino.

Serino agrees with de la Rionda that saying, "No," could be seen as denial when being told or hearing that a loved one is dead. De la Rionda has concluded his cross-examination.

2:11 p.m. ET: "It was trying for me, yes it was," said Serino. He says he attempted to be as sensitive as he could as he was dealing with the death of a young boy.

2:09 p.m. ET: "Was he having a hard time dealing with this?" asked prosecutor de la Rionda.

"In my opinion, yes sir," said Serino. He agrees that Tracy Martin wanted some answers and that he didn't excuse himself and wanted to hear all the recordings.

"Is this emotion kind of building up, do you see that building up?" asked de la Rionda.

"It was a very emotional moment, sir," said Serino.

2:07 p.m. ET: Serino says he doesn't recall specifically telling Tracy Martin that he'd hear a shot in the one of the calls, the shot that killed his son. He says he believed Tracy Martin's reaction was appropriate.

2:04 p.m. ET: "I let him listen first before I asked anything. I believe my words were, ‘Is that your son’s voice in the background’ or I think I said it a little differently than that," said Serino. He describes Tracy Martin's response: "It was more of a verbal and non-verbal. He looked away and under his breath, as I interpreted it, said, ‘No.’"

Serino says Tracy Martin didn't ask for the tape to be played again. O'Mara has finished his direct examination of Serino.

2:01 p.m. ET: A few days after the shooting, Serino updated Tracy Martin on the case along with his girlfriend. He played all of the recordings for him, including the 911 call made by a neighbor.

1:59 p.m. ET: The sidebar has ended and Serino is being brought back into the courtroom and sworn in.

1:55 p.m. ET: Serino has exited the courtroom. The attorneys are still at a sidebar.

1:53 p.m. ET: Serino waits to be sworn in while the attorneys are still at a sidebar. Martin's father, Tracy, left the courtroom with his attorney and then returned shortly after.

1:47 p.m. ET: The defense has called Chris Serino to the witness stand. He was the lead investigator on the case from the Sanford Police Department and testified earlier for the prosecution. The attorneys are at a sidebar.

1:46 p.m. ET: The 911 call made by a neighbor was played once for Martin's dad and his girlfriend.

“He was very upset, he was very sad, he hung his head, he cried,” said Singleton. She isn't allowed to say what Tracy Martin said about the voice heard screaming on the call. She has been excused.

1:43 p.m. ET: The interview with Martin's dad was about two days after the shooting, according to Singleton. Tracy Martin was asking why an arrest wasn't made in the case.

1:40 p.m. ET: The prosecution objects after defense attorney O'Mara starts to ask Singleton about an interview with Martin's father, Tracy. The attorneys are at a sidebar.

1:38 p.m. ET: The defense calls Doris Singleton to the witness stand. She is a detective for the Sanford Police Department and took a statement from Zimmerman shortly after he was arrested. She testified about that earlier for the prosecution.

1:36 p.m. ET: The jury is being seated.

1:29 p.m. ET: The judge is on the bench and the attorneys are at a sidebar.

12:11 p.m. ET: Judge Nelson is recessing court until 1:30 p.m. ET.

12:08 p.m. ET: Donnelly has been excused, and the attorneys are at a sidebar with the judge.

12:07 p.m. ET: Donnelly said he never discussed Zimmerman's non-emergency call with his wife. Donnelly also said he is not augmented his testimony to help Zimmerman's case.

"This courtroom is about truth." said Donnely. "This is where truth is supposed to come out."

12:06 p.m. ET: De La Rionda has finished his questions for Donnelly. O'Mara is now asking Donnelly questions.

12:04 p.m. ET: Donnelly said he could hear Zimmerman call for help on the 911 call. During combat, Donnelly said he has heard a 250 pound man sound like a little girl in combat.

12:02 p.m. ET: Rionda asked Donnelly if Zimmerman's tone changed when he said "(expletive) they always get away," Donnely said he heard it, but he does not think his tone changed.

11:59 a.m. ET: De La Rionda is now playing the non-emergency call Zimmerman made the night of the shooting for Donnelly.

11:57 a.m. ET: Donnelly said he gave Zimmerman's defense about $3,000, and bought Zimmerman about $1,700 worth of suits. He said he feels like Zimmerman is like a son to him.

11:53 a.m. ET: O'Mara is done questioning Donnelly, and now De La Rionda is asking him questions. Donnelly said he heard the 911 call with the screams for the first time two days ago.

11:52 a.m. ET: Donnelly said he has no doubt in his mind that the person screaming on the 911 call was Zimmerman, and he wishes to god he did not have the ability to understand who was screaming on the 911 call.

11:49 a.m. ET: Appearing to choke back tears, Donnelly said he did not want to listen to the 911 call with the screams in the background, because it can be "distressing" to hear a friend cry for help. O'Mara is now playing the 911 call with the screams in the background for Donnelly.

11:47 a.m. ET: "In the midst of combat, there are a lot people yelling and screaming," said Donnelly. "Sometimes they are screaming for help."

11:43 a.m. ET: O'Mara is asking Donnelly about his duties as a medic in combat. Donnelly said he had to attend to people injured in combat, and appeared to be choking back tears. The attorneys are now at a sidebar with the judge.

11:40 a.m ET: Donnelly is talking about his experience with his company of soldiers in Vietnam.

11:35 a.m. ET: O'Mara asked Donnelly about him describe his experience as a combat medic in Vietnam. De La Rionda objected as to the relevance of the question, and now the attorneys are at a sidebar with the judge.

11:34 a.m. ET: Donnelly said he bought Zimmerman some suits and ties for the trial, and he also donated money to Zimmerman's defense fund.

11:32 a.m. ET: Donnelly said Zimmerman was sharp, and one time he tought Zimmerman how to tie a Windsor knot.

11:28 a.m. ET: O'Mara has called John Donnelly to the stand. He is married to Benjamin, and is a Zimmerman's friend.

11:25 a.m. ET: Benjamin has been excused from the witness stand.

11:24 a.m. ET: O'Mara has finished his questions for Benjamin. De La Rionda is now asking her questions.

11:23 a.m. ET: Benjamin said when Zimmerman said "(expletive) punks" he was just making a casual comment.

11:21 a.m. ET: Benjamin said based on the non-emergency call she does not think Zimmerman was angry or acting with ill will.

11:18 a.m. ET: De La Rionda has finished his cross examination of Benjamin. O'Mara is now asking her questions.

11:17 a.m. ET: Benjamin said she has encountered people who use "cussing" in conversations and it does not convey anger.

11:14 a.m. ET: Benjamin said Zimmerman does not seem to be an "excited state" on the non-emergency call when he says "(expletive) punks."

11:12 a.m. ET: De La Rionda is playing a part of the non-emergency call where Zimmerman said Martin is running and he says "(expletive) punks."

11:09 a.m. ET: Benjamin said on the non-emergency call Zimmerman seems to be "manner of fact" like, and he it also seemed like he was walking outside.

11:06 a.m. ET: Benjamin said she has heard only bits and pieces of Zimmerman's non-emergency call from the night of the shooting before today.

11:02 a.m. ET: De La Rionda is playing the non-emergency call Zimmerman made the night of the shooting for Benjamin.

10:59 a.m. ET: Benjamin said it is difficult for her to tell whether the screams on the 911 call were continuous.

10:57 a.m. ET: Benjamin said both times she heard the 911 calls on the news she was cooking.

10:55 a.m. ET: De La Rionda is asking Benjamin all the different times she heard the 911 call with the screams on it. Benjamin said she has heard it on the call on the news.

10:52 a.m. ET: Benjamin said she and her husband have contributed about $2,500 to Zimmerman's defense fund.

10:51 a.m. ET: Benjamin said she believes the screams on the 911 call came from Zimmerman, and she knows what Zimmerman's voice is like when he gets excited. O'Mara has finished his questions for Benjamin. Prosecutor De Le Rionda is now asking Benjamin questions.

10:49 a.m. ET: Benjamin said her connection to the Zimmerman family will not affect her testimony today, because she believes in just telling the court what she knows. O'Mara is now going to play the 911 call with the screams in the background for Benjamin.

10:46 a.m. ET: O'Mara asked Benjamin the first time she spoke with Zimmerman after the shooting. She said she spoke with him a couple of weeks after the shooting.

10:44 a.m. ET: Benjamin said she encouraged Zimmerman to go back to school to get an education in criminal justice.

10:41 a.m. ET: Benjamin said she is friends with Zimmerman, but over the last few years she hasn't seen a lot of Zimmerman, because she has been taking care of her father.

10:37 a.m. ET: Russo said the first time she heard the 911 call she immediately thought it was Zimmerman screaming on it. Russo has been excused, and O'Mara has called Lee Ann Benjamin to the stand. Benjamin worked at real estate company, and would refer her costumers to the insurance company that employed Zimmerman.

10:33 a.m. ET: Russo said she has never heard Zimmerman or Martin yell. However, she believes the voice on the 911 call was Zimmerma. Guy has finished his questions for Russo.

10:31 a.m. ET: O'Mara has finished his direct examination of Russo. Prosecutor John Guy is now asking Russo questions.

10:29 a.m. ET: Russo said she has no doubt in her mind the person screaming on the call is Zimmerman.

10:26 a.m. ET: Russo said she did not speak with Zimmerman until a few months after the shooting. O'Mara is now playing the 911 call with the screams in the background for Russo.

10:23 a.m. ET: O'Mara has called Geri Russo to testify. She worked with Zimmerman at a mortgage company and considers herself Zimmerman's friend.

10:20 a.m. ET: O'Mara is sticking his hands in his pants to demonstrate the internal holster Zimmerman was using the night of the shooting. Osterman said Zimmerman was allowed to use that type of holster, because he had a concealed and carry permit. Osterman has been excused.

10:17 a.m. ET: Osterman said he instructs his wife to a keep a bullet in the chamber of her gun in case she needs it.

10:15 a.m. ET: Osterman said he thinks Zimmerman is more accurate shooting a gun with his right hand. De La Rionda has finished his questions for the Osterman. O'Mara is now asking him questions.

10:14 a.m.. ET: Osterman agreed with De La Rionda when he said it's normal for a police officer to keep a bullet in the chamber of their gun, but it is not normal practice for a citizen to keep a bullet in the chamber.

10:12 a.m. ET: De La Rionda is asking Osterman when he would holster his weapon after shooting someone. Osterman said it would depend on whether he feels the person is armed, and if they are still able to access the weapon.

10:09 a.m. ET: Prosecutor De La Rionda is now asking Osterman about the book he wrote with his wife about Zimmerman.

10:07 a.m. ET: Osterman explained the difference between single action and double action guns to the jury. O'Mara is now down with his questions for Osterman.

10:05 a.m. ET: Osterman said he thinks the screams on the 911 call sound like Zimmerman, because of the tone and volume.

10:02 a.m. ET: O'Mara asked Osterman how familar he is with Zimmerman's voice. Osterman said he is very familar with Zimmerman's voice, because he has known him for five years. O'Mara is going to play the 911 call with the screams in the background.

10:01 a.m. ET: Osterman said Zimmerman writes with his left hand, but shoots with his right hand.

9:59 a.m. ET: Osterman is a Federal Air Marshal, and he said he keeps a bullet in the chamber of his gun at all times in case he needs it. He told Zimmerman to keep a round chambered in his gun in case he needed it.

9:56 a.m. ET: Osterman recommended to Zimmerman to buy the type of firearm that he used to shoot Martin. He says the gun is safe, and reliable.

9:53 a.m. ET: Osterman is explaining how he would visit a gun range with Zimmerman, and how they would discuss gun safety regularly.

9:51 a.m. ET: O'Mara has called Mark Osterman back to the witness stand.

9:49 a.m. ET: O'Mara is now Osterman questions, and he asked if there were any gaps in the screaming. She said there were a lot of screams and it was long.

Osterman has been excused.

9:46 a.m. ET: Osterman said she recognized the voice on the non-emergency call as Zimmerman. De La Rionda also asked Osterman if the screams on a the 911 call that was played for her were continuous screams. She said yes they were continuous.

9:42 a.m. ET: De La Rionda is now playing the entire non-emergency phone call Zimmerman made the night of the shooting for Osterman.

9:38 a.m. ET: De La Rionda is now asking Osterman questions. He played Zimmerman's non-emergency call from the night of shooting for Osterman again. 

Osterman said she does not hear Zimmerman say "(expletive) punks" on the non-emergency call.

9:35 a.m. ET: De La Rionda is done with his cross examination of Osterman. O'Mara asked if the recordings that De La Rionda played for Osterman indicate that Zimmerman was mad or acting with ill will. Osterman said she did not think he was angry.

9:32 a.m. ET: De La Rionda played a tape with Zimmerman saying these "(expletives) always get away." Osterman confrims it is Zimmerman saying "(expletives) always get away."

9:30 a.m. ET: O'Mara has completed his questions for Osterman. Prosecutor Bernie De La Rionda is now asking Osterman about a book she wrote with her husband about Zimmerman. She said they are saving the profits from the book for Zimmerman for "after." Likely, referring to after the trial.

9:27 a.m. ET: O'Mara is playing the 911 call where screams can be heard in the background.

After the call is finished playing, O'Mara asks Osterman if she recognizies who is screaming.

"Definitely, it's Georgie." Osterman said choking back tears. "I hear him screaming."

9:24 a.m. ET: Osterman just called Zimmerman "Georgie." She said they used to work together at a mortgage company. O'Mara has asked Osterman about her familiarity with Zimmerman's voice. It appears O'Mara is going to ask Osterman if she recognizes the screams on a 911 call from the night of the shooting as coming from Zimmerman.

9:21 a.m. ET: Sandra Osterman is married Mark Osterman, Zimmerman's best friend.  Mark Osterman testified earlier in the trial. The couple are friends with Zimmerman.

9:20 a.m. ET: Defense attorney Mark O'Mara has called Sandra Osterman to the stand as the defense's third witness.

9:16 a.m. ET: The jury is being seated. Testimony should begin shortly.

9:15 a.m. ET: The attorneys are still at a sidebar with the judge.

9:09 a.m. ET: The attorneys are still at a sidebar with the judge.

9:03 a.m. ET: The attorneys are at a sidebar with the judge.

8:59 a.m. ET: Judge Debra Nelson is on the bench. She told the attorneys they have can a a few moments to prepare their materials.

8:56 a.m. ET: Zimmerman is in the courtroom awaiting testimony to begin in a few minutes.

8:33 a.m. ET: Testimony is scheduled to resume at 9:00 a.m. ET.

As defense attorneys in George Zimmerman's trial continue to present their case Monday, the question of whether the former neighborhood watch captain will take the stand looms over the proceedings.

HLN's Nancy Grace said she would not advise Zimmerman to testify if she were representing him, because conventional wisdom says a defendant shouldn't take the stand and be exposed to intense cross-examination.

"Look at what happened to Jodi Arias and her 18 days on the stand. It turned the jury against her," said Grace. "Casey Anthony didn't take the stand, and we saw what happened there, an acquittal."

Vote here: Do you think Zimmerman will have to testify in his defense?

Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder for killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, on Feb. 26, 2012. Zimmerman told police that night 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 that 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 sparked national conversations about race, racial profiling and self-defense laws.

This week, Zimmerman's attorneys are expected to call more of his family members to testify, along with the the responding officer who took the first picture of Zimmerman after the shooting. They may also call Sanford police Det. Chris Serino, the lead investigator in the case, back to stand, and they could also call forensic pathologist and gunshot expert Dr. Vincent DiMaio to support their case.

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