June 24, 2013

Zimmerman portrayed as vigilante in Trayvon Martin shooting

The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

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Don West, a defense attorney for George Zimmerman describes the shooting of Trayvon Martin to the jury while holding an evidence photo of a gun during opening statements in Zimmerman's trial in Seminole circuit court, in Sanford, Fla., Monday, June 24, 2013. Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder for the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Joe Burbank,Pool)

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The father of Trayvon Martin, Tracy Martin, cries as he listens to the description of his son's death during opening statements in the George Zimmerman trial, with Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon's mother, left, and Daryl Parks, a family attorney, right, in Seminole circuit court, in Sanford, Fla., Monday, June 24, 2013. Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder for the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Joe Burbank/Pool)

Additional Photos Below

The second 911 call, from a witness, captures screams in the distant background from the struggle between Zimmerman and Martin. Martin's parents said the screams are from their son, while Zimmerman's father contends they are his son's.

Circuit Judge Debra Nelson ruled last weekend that audio experts for the prosecution won't be able to testify that the screams belong to Martin, saying the methods used were unreliable.

On Monday, one of the first witnesses for the prosecution was a custodian of police dispatch calls. During the witness' testimony, prosecutors started playing police calls Zimmerman had made in the months before he shot Martin. The defense objected, arguing the calls were irrelevant.

The judge said she would address the matter Tuesday and sent the jurors to the hotel where they are being sequestered for the duration of the trial, which could last several weeks

Other witnesses who testified Monday included a convenience store clerk and the 911 dispatcher who took Zimmerman's call when he was following Martin. Martin had gone to the convenience store to buy Skittles and a can of iced tea.

The 911 dispatcher, Sean Noffke, testified that he had advised Zimmerman not to follow Martin.

Randy McClean, a criminal defense attorney in Florida with no connection to the case, called the prosecution's opening statement "brilliant" in that it described Zimmerman's state of mind. But he described the knock-knock joke as less than stellar.

"If you're defending your client for second-degree murder, you probably shouldn't start your opening with a joke," McClean said.

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Additional Photos

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George Zimmerman stands as judge Debra Nelson arrives in Seminole circuit court for his trial, in Sanford, Fla., Monday, June 24, 2013. Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder for the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Joe Burbank, Pool)

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In this undated photo provided by the Martin family, Trayvon Martin holds an unidentified baby. Martin, 17 of Miami Springs, Fla., was killed by George Zimmerman in Sanford, Fla. as he walked from a convenience store in February 2012. Zimmerman's murder trial began on Monday, June 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Martin Family, File)

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George Zimmerman smiles as attorney Mark O'Mara questions potential jurors for Zimmerman's trial in Seminole circuit court in Sanford, Fla., Thursday, June 20, 2013. Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder for the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Gary Green, Pool)



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