July 3, 2013

Expert: Trayvon Martin's DNA not on gun

George Zimmerman says he shot the unarmed teenager in Florida because Martin grabbed his firearm and was attacking him.

The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

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George Zimmerman looks at State Attorney Angela Corey, during a recess in his trial at the Seminole circuit court, in Sanford, Fla., Wednesday, July 3, 2013. Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teen, in 2012. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Jacob Langston, Pool)

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Amy Siewert, a firearms expert with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, faces the jury as she demonstrates George Zimmerman's gun during the George Zimmerman trial in Seminole circuit court, in Sanford, Fla., Wednesday, July 3, 2013. Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teen, in 2012. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Jacob Langston, Pool)

Lt. Scott Kearns of the Prince William County Police Department in Virginia testified that Zimmerman wasn't initially hired because of a less-than-stellar credit history.

Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Martin last year. Martin was black; Zimmerman identifies himself as Hispanic. The case sparked nationwide protests and touched off a debate about race and self-defense.

Prosecutors said Zimmerman's ability to understand criminal investigations and desire to be a police officer doesn't show wrongdoing, but is relevant to Zimmerman's state of mind on the night Martin was killed.

"He has applied to be a police officer before, he still wants to be one, according to some of his homework assignments. ... This wasn't some sort of passive thing," said prosecutor Richard Mantei, who noted Zimmerman took a course on how to be a good witness and expressed a desire to go on police ride-alongs. "This is simply a fact the jury ought to know."

When he was interviewed by detectives, Zimmerman spoke "in written police jargon" and talks about "justifiable use of force" and says he "'unholstered my firearm,' not 'I pulled my gun,'" Mantei said.

Defense attorneys believe the items are irrelevant and asked the judge not to allow them.

Defense attorney Mark O'Mara said Tuesday that if prosecutors start bringing up Zimmerman's past, the defense will dig into Martin's past, including fights. The judge had ruled previously that Martin's past fights, drug use and school records couldn't be mentioned in opening statements.

"There is no relevance and the suggested relevance will be far more outweighed by the prejudice," O'Mara said of the evidence admitted Wednesday.

 

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