SANFORD, Fla. (AP) — Testimony in the second week of the George Zimmerman trial begins Monday with an expected shift by prosecutors toward witnesses that will testify on the scientific evidence they have against a former neighbor watch leader charged in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin.
Prosecutors have yet to call forensics experts or investigators that performed testing on the handgun Zimmerman used to shoot the teenager during an altercation between the two last year.
That testimony will shed more light on the positioning of Martin and Zimmerman at the time of the shooting.
More than 20 witnesses testified during the opening week of a trial that has opened up national debates about race, equal justice, self-defense and gun control.
Zimmerman has said he fatally shot 17-year-old Martin in February 2012 in self-defense as the Miami-area black teenager was banging his head into the concrete sidewalk behind the townhomes in a gated community. Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder and has pleaded not guilty.
Zimmerman defense attorney Mark O’Mara said at the end of last week that the trial was progressing at a faster pace than anticipated, but that he was reserving judgment on the prosecution’s case so far.
“We’re in the middle of it. They’ve got a lot more to show. These things build up slow, and it’s sort of like pieces of a puzzle,” O’Mara said. “People say, ‘wait a minute, I can’t see the picture yet.’ They’re very good prosecutors, they’re gonna do very good job, and they’re gonna put on their evidence. We’ll see how it goes. We’re certainly ready to respond to it.”
Zimmerman, 29, could get life in prison if convicted of second-degree murder. The state argued during its opening statement that Zimmerman profiled and 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.
Over the first five days of testimony, jurors heard 911 calls from neighbors that included cries for help and the fatal gunshot. Zimmerman’s attorneys are adamant that he is the one screaming on the recordings, while Martin’s parents have said it’s their son.
Jurors also listened to more than six hours of testimony from Martin’s friend Rachel Jeantel, who testified that she was talking on the phone with the teen as the fight started.
She testified that Martin told her he was being followed by “a creepy-ass cracker.” But it was her testy cross-examination exchanges with defense attorney Don West that commanded the most attention.
West attacked inconsistencies in multiple statements she gave attorneys and law enforcement officials about what she heard, including whether she heard Martin say “Get off! Get off!”
There also was conflicting testimony from neighbors that witnessed parts of the struggle between Martin and Zimmerman. Some said it appeared the larger Zimmerman was straddling Martin, but neighbor Jonathan Good said it appeared Martin was on top.
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