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Prosecutors could rest today in the George Zimmerman trial

Prosecutors could rest their case today.
Prosecutors could rest their case today.
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Updated: 7/10/2013 9:28 am
SANFORD, Fla. -- Prosecutors in George Zimmerman's second-degree murder trial told Judge Debra Nelson on Wednesday that the state could rest its case by day’s end.

Nelson said she was prepared to stay late for the state to finish. There is no court on Thursday for the Fourth of July. The trial will resume Friday.

In the meantime, a DNA expert said Wednesday tests of Zimmerman's gun revealed the neighborhood watch volunteer's DNA on the firearm's grip -- but not Trayvon Martin's.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement DNA expert Anthony Gorgone testified that none of Zimmerman's DNA was found underneath Martin's fingernails.

Prosecutors called the DNA expert to the witness stand to refute Zimmerman's contention that he fatally shot Martin in self-defense. Zimmerman has said Martin was reaching for his firearm during a fight when he fired the gun into Martin's chest.

Gorgone spent the afternoon explaining how he tested swabs from the gun's trigger, slide and holster, all of which had Zimmerman's DNA.
The slide and holster also tested positive for someone else's DNA, but Gorgone couldn't determine whose.

Gorgone also testified Zimmerman's DNA was found on the inside of Martin's gray sweatshirt, under the hoodie, but he went on to say he couldn't identify all of the DNA found on Martin's clothes.
Martin's damp clothes were packed in plastic and developed an odor, which might explain why the state has enclosed them in wood and glass frames.

The prosecution moved onto the red jacket Zimmerman wore the night he shot Martin.

Gorgone analyzed 17 different stains, and found Zimmerman and Martin's DNA was found.

Defense attorney Don West is now cross-examining Gorgone.

Prosecutors on Wednesday also presented evidence about Zimmerman's work in a college criminal justice course, which they said shows the neighborhood watch volunteer knew about Florida's self-defense law and had aspirations of becoming a police officer.

Zimmerman had maintained in an interview with Fox News last year that he did not know about the law.

Prosecutors said he did have knowledge of it, however, because the subject was covered in the college class. They called as a witness Alexis Francisco Carter, the military attorney who taught Zimmerman's class that covered Florida's stand-your-ground law, which says a person has no duty to retreat and can invoke self-defense in killing someone if it is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm.
Carter described Zimmerman as one of his better students and said Zimmerman got an A in his class.

Under cross-examination, Carter gave two definitions of legal concepts that seemed to bolster the defense's case. He explained that a person can make a self-defense argument if the person has a "reasonable apprehension" of death or great bodily harm.

"It's imminent fear. The fact alone that there isn't an injury doesn't necessarily mean that the person didn't have a reasonable apprehension or fear," Carter said. "The fact that there are injuries might support there was reasonable apprehension and fear."

Carter also explained the concept of "imperfect self-defense," when a person is being threatened but then counters with a force disproportionately greater than the force used against them.

"They would have the right to defend themselves?" said defense attorney Don West.

"Right," Carter said.

Another instructor, Seminole County State College professor Scott Pleasants, testified that Zimmerman had taken his online criminal justice class. Pleasants' testimony via Skype from Colorado, broadcast live on television, was interrupted when he started getting inundated with Skype calls.

Judge Debra Nelson also ruled Wednesday that prosecutors can show the jury Zimmerman's job application to a police agency in 2009 and his application to ride around with Sanford police in 2010.

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 17-year-old Trayvon Martin last year. Martin was black; Zimmerman identifies as Hispanic. The case sparked nationwide protests and touched off a debate about race and self-defense.

Prosecutors have sought to portray Zimmerman as a vigilante who profiled the teen as he walked home from a convenience store on a rainy night.

Prosecutors also began a detailed questioning on the forensics analysis performed on Zimmerman's gun after calling Florida Department of Law Enforcement analyst Amy Siewert to the witness stand. She testified that residue and tearing on Martin's sweatshirt showed Zimmerman's gun was touching Martin's chest when it fired.
Siewert also demonstrated for jurors how the gun is fired by holding the 9 mm semi-automatic handgun, and under cross-examination, said the gun was safe to carry around loaded because it won't fire unless the trigger is pulled.

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 ...It his 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.


SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- Attorneys in the George Zimmerman trial are arguing over whether to allow evidence about a college criminal justice course taken by the neighborhood watch volunteer.

The course included work regarding Florida's self-defense law.

The hearing is taking place outside the presence of jurors Wednesday morning.

Defense attorney Mark O'Mara says the coursework is not relevant to the case and called the prosecution's effort to introduce it as "a witch hunt."

Prosecutors say the school records show that 29-year-old Zimmerman had knowledge of the law, though he maintained in an interview with Fox News last year that he didn't. Jurors heard that interview on Tuesday.

Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin last year. Martin was unarmed.



(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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doug1 - 7/5/2013 10:23 AM
0 Votes
george zimmerman is not guilty of murder 2. what if zimmerman was black on black crime. it wouldn't be news. how come mommy has a different last name? well, i guess when blacks shoot whites. we can demand the little scumbags get sent away. like in brunswick, ga. doug1.

nativejax - 7/4/2013 1:03 PM
1 Vote
RIGHT ON IMTELLIN...You are WISE...If this was a 'Gung hoe want to be cop' who is hiding behind the stand your ground law", in which he is not., Zimmerman would have pulled his weapon and shot him before Martin ever laid a hand on him. I would of. If some punk was charging at me,..he would have been dead before he reached me. Zimmerman would NOT have waited until he was pounded to the ground by somepissed off 180 lb ape, then was then sitting on him pounding him more and going for his gun, in which by this time was either 'exposed or felt' by this punk before Zimmerman finally got it and shot the thug gang banger to get him off of him before he himself died. There is NO WAY this punk was NOT the aggressor now in light of the evidence. He admitted as much when he told his LYING fat ass girlfriend on the phone he was being followed by a "CREEPY ASS CRACKER"..Martin hung up that phone and decided to attack Zimmerman right then and there. TRUTH HURTS THESE PREJUDICE TROUBLE MAKERS WHO ARE ONLY OUT FOR THE MONEY. The Martins got their 2 million...they didn't give a gnats ass about their son when they DUMPED him out there, and they don't care about the truth now. JUST STICK IT TO WHITEY..BECAUSE THEY ARE RACIST.

murphette88 - 7/3/2013 10:23 PM
0 Votes
Hmmm, your dumb.

imtellin - 7/3/2013 5:45 PM
1 Vote
so if zimmerman was a cop, this would have been a righteous shoot !! because he hadn't begun training as one, left him open to angela corey's political version of justice !!! face it, the kid would have been dead in 6 months to a year, or doing back to back bullets !!! who goes out in the rain walking for skittles & ice tea ??? someone casing the hood !!!
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