Latest updates from the Zimmerman trial
By Graham Winch
(CNN) — HLN, CNN’s sister network, is covering the George Zimmerman trial, gavel to gavel. Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012. Here is testimony from Tuesday:
[Updated at 12:22 p.m. ET]
The judge has recessed court for lunch until 1:30 p.m. ET. The running update will pick back up when testimony resumes.
[Updated at 12:21 p.m. ET]
“He may have had it [the gun] still in his hand as he jumped on top of Trayvon and perhaps holstered when it saw the flashlight. I don’t remember specifically,” says Osterman. De la Rionda has him look back in his book, and Osterman says Zimmerman holstered his gun and then pinned Martin down.
[Updated at 12:19 p.m. ET]
“You haven’t made anything up to help one side or the other?” asks prosecutor de la Rionda.
“Not whatsoever,” says Osterman.
He says Zimmerman told him he put out Martin’s hands and pinned them down. He also says Zimmerman was afraid he missed Martin, so he put his gun in his holster and got on top of him. The prosecutor has finished his questions.
[Updated at 12:18 p.m. ET]
If the evidence suggested something different from his book, then Osterman says he would defer to the evidence.
O’Mara has no further questions for Osterman.
[Updated at 12:16 p.m. ET]
Osterman wrote the book four months later. He says this was his best memory of what Zimmerman said, he didn’t take any notes, the two didn’t talk further and he didn’t show Zimmerman a draft.
“We were not able to contact each other after he was arrested the first time,” says Osterman.
[Updated at 12:15 p.m. ET]
Osterman says it’s not unusual for someone to talk after being shot. He says Zimmerman pinned Martin’s hands down after shooting him. (Martin’s father shakes his head as Osterman says this.) Osterman says he didn’t know Martin’s hands were found underneath him.
[Updated at 12:12 p.m. ET]
Martin reached for Zimmerman’s gun, according to Osterman.
“That’s when he had to — he freed one of his hands and got the gun. He either broke contact or knocked Trayvon’s hand away … and then he drew it,” says Osterman. He says he believes Zimmerman said Martin touched the gun.
[Updated at 12:11 p.m. ET]
Osterman says Zimmerman’s focus was on Martin’s hands on his face, which kept him from breathing.
“It was critical. … He was losing oxygen; he felt he was not able to breathe. That’s why he was desperate to clear an airway,” says Osterman.
Osterman says it’s typical for someone to have tunnel vision in this type of situation and only focus on certain things.
[Updated at 12:09 p.m. ET]
The position of Martin’s knees may have changed as Zimmerman squirmed, according to Osterman. Zimmerman said that it was Martin who straddled him and that Zimmerman was screaming for help.
[Updated at 12:07 p.m. ET]
Osterman says Zimmerman told him he went straight through to find an address, he didn’t turn to go down the “T” in the sidewalk. When he was on his way back, Zimmerman said, the altercation began.
[Updated at 12:05 p.m. ET]
Osterman says it makes more sense for you to be able to keep an eye on a suspect while on the phone with the dispatcher.
Zimmerman told Osterman he lost sight of Martin at some point.
“That’s one of the reasons he got out of the vehicle,” says Osterman. He also says that as an officer gets on the scene, dispatch likes to ask for someone’s exact location so they can meet up.
[Updated at 12:02 p.m. ET]
At some point, Martin walked around Zimmerman’s car and the two made more eye contact, according to Osterman.
“Very aware of each other’s presence,” says Osterman. He says Zimmerman didn’t seem angry.
[Updated at 12:01 p.m. ET]
Osterman says Zimmerman went to Target “every single Sunday, like clockwork.” He says Zimmerman saw Martin going between homes, and the two made eye contact.
[Updated at 11:59 a.m. ET]
Zimmerman’s wife went into “nurse mode” once they got into Osterman’s car. She wanted to put ice on his injuries. Zimmerman explained what happened that night.
[Updated at 11:57 a.m. ET]
“Is detached different from the way he normally is?” asks O’Mara.
“Vastly,” says Osterman.
Osterman says Zimmerman seemed to not be processing what was going on, describing him as having a blank stare.
[Updated at 11:56 a.m. ET]
Osterman says that Zimmerman was “stunned” and that he immediately tried to reassure his wife.
“He had a stunned look on his face. Wide-eyed, just kind of a little bit detached perhaps from maybe not realizing he had just gone through a traumatic event,” says Osterman.
[Updated at 11:53 a.m. ET]
O’Mara asks if their friendship would affect the way Osterman testifies.
“You’re going to speak the truth, good or bad, for Mr. Zimmerman?” asked O’Mara.
“Correct,” said Osterman.
He says that Zimmerman’s wife was “indescribably hysterical” and that he had to put his arm around her to keep her from blacking out.
[Updated at 11:51 a.m. ET]
Osterman has been in law enforcement since 1992 and helped Zimmerman buy his gun.
“He asked whether he should or shouldn’t, to start with, and I recommended that he should. Anybody who’s a nonconvicted felon should carry a firearm. … The police aren’t always there,” says Osterman.
[Updated at 11:49 a.m. ET]
Osterman says the place where Martin grabbed the gun seemed to be where it was being held by the holster, which is why he didn’t say Martin grabbed the holster. Prosecutor de la Rionda has finished his questions.
[Updated at 11:47 a.m. ET]
Zimmerman told Osterman that he had been instructed, in general, to “get where you can observe and try not to make contact.”
[Updated at 11:46 a.m. ET]
“After putting his gun back in the holster, he jumped on top of Trayvon Martin and pinned him down,” says de la Rionda.
“That’s correct,” says Osterman.
[Updated at 11:44 a.m. ET]
Zimmerman told Osterman he believed Martin felt the gun with his leg and then grabbed for it.
“He says, ‘You’re going die,’ and he used the MF term again. I’m sorry I don’t like to curse in front of ladies,” says Osterman.
Zimmerman told Osterman that he grabbed the gun out of Martin’s grip and shot him. Martin told him, “You got it” or something like that. Zimmerman says he then scooted out from Martin. He says he didn’t believe he hit him.
[Updated at 11:42 a.m. ET]
“One hand was trying to cover his nose and one hand was trying to cover his mouth to keep him from screaming,” says Osterman.
Zimmerman told Osterman that because his jacket had ridden up, Martin may have seen he had a gun. Zimmerman was trying to remove Martin’s hands so he could breathe and scream.
[Updated at 11:39 a.m. ET]
“Once he started screaming, George said Trayvon grabbed his head and started smashing it into the concrete,” says Osterman.
As Zimmerman squirmed to get his head off the concrete, his jacket came up, according to Osterman. Zimmerman said he directed his screams for help at the people who came out.
[Updated at 11:37 a.m. ET]
Osterman says Zimmerman looked down to get his phone out of his pocket, and when he looked back up, “the punch came squarely in his face.” Zimmerman says he stumbled to the ground and Martin straddled him.
“His knees were up somewhere near his chest or up near his armpits, and he was beginning to punch him,” said Osterman.
[Updated at 11:34 a.m. ET]
Osterman has written a book about the case and quoted Martin as saying, “Do you have a problem?” Osterman says that there was an expletive, “mother [expletive],” but that his publisher wanted him to take it out of the book because it was graphic.
[Updated at 11:32 a.m. ET]
There were two phases of contact, according to Osterman: When Zimmerman first saw Martin and pulled into the clubhouse parking lot, and the second one, when Martin walked down a side street and Zimmerman followed him with his car and lost sight of him, getting out of his car to find an address.
[Updated at 11:30 a.m. ET]
Martin circled the car, according to Zimmerman. Osterman says they looked at each other and Zimmerman briefly lost sight of Martin.
[Updated at 11:28 a.m. ET]
“Someone who usually looks through a neighborhood while it’s raining — it’s suspicious,” said Osterman. Zimmerman told him he called the nonemergency number.
[Updated at 11:26 a.m. ET]
Osterman recounts the story Zimmerman told him the day after the shooting. Zimmerman was going to Target to get lunches for the week. He saw someone he didn’t know walking through homes and looking into windows.
[Updated at 11:24 a.m. ET]
The prosecution has called Mark Osterman to the witness stand.
“Would you consider him a very good friend?” asked prosecutor de la Rionda.
“The best friend I’ve ever had,” said Osterman.
[Updated at 11:22 a.m. ET]
The jury is being seated.
[Updated at 11:04 a.m. ET]
The judge has recessed court for a 15-minute break.
[Updated at 11:03 a.m. ET]
Serino says the blood may have been going back down Zimmerman’s nose and throat and that it may have dripped down once he stood up.
“Could the attempt to suffocate literally be momentary as well?” asked de la Rionda.
“Yes sir,” said Serino.
Prosecutor de la Rionda says he just has a couple more questions for Serino.
“Right now, it could be raining outside?” asked de la Rionda.
“Yes sir,” said Serino.
“And that would be pure speculation on your part?” asked de la Rionda.
“Yes sir,” said Serino.
Serino has been dismissed and is subject to recall.
[Updated at 11 a.m. ET]
Serino says there’s no law stating you can’t go into a 7-Eleven with a hoodie. He has finished his questions. The judge says she’ll give the defense five minutes to ask more questions of Serino.
[Updated at 10:59 a.m. ET]
Serino says no blood was found on Martin’s hands. He also says he’d be fighting back if someone had their hand on his face and was punching him. He says no blood was found on Zimmerman’s hands.
[Updated at 10:56 a.m. ET]
Serino describes the word “a**hole” as being derogatory.
Prosecutor de la Rionda says Zimmerman said “[expletive] punks” under his breath as he left his vehicle.
“And then he followed Trayvon Martin, correct?” asked de la Rionda.
“Yes sir,” said Serino.
[Updated at 10:55 a.m. ET]
Serino says there was no evidence that the piece of awning found behind a neighbor’s home was used as a tool.
[Updated at 10:54 a.m. ET]
“After somebody dies, they don’t get taller?” asked prosecutor de la Rionda. Serino says he wouldn’t dispute the medical examiner if Martin’s height was measured to be 5’11″
“Are you saying it’s against the law for somebody to wear a hoodie at night?” asked de la Rionda.
“No sir,” said Serino.
[Updated at 10:52 a.m. ET]
Serino says there was quite a height and reach difference between Zimmerman and Martin.
“Reach is measured arm-to-arm, sideways,” said Serino. O’Mara has finished his questions for Serino.
[Updated at 10:49 a.m. ET]
Serino says the medical examiner’s report supports Zimmerman’s story of how and where he shot Martin. It also supports Zimmerman’s claim that Martin was on top of Zimmerman when he shot him. Serino says the evidence contradicts the idea that Zimmerman pressed his gun to Martin’s chest.
[Updated at 10:47 a.m. ET]
During the police reenactment, Serino says nobody pointed out to Zimmerman that there was a number on one of the houses. Serino says it didn’t seem like “active deception” that Zimmerman said he didn’t see an address. The fact that Zimmerman couldn’t remember the three streets in his neighborhood did raise red flags for Serino. He believed that could be “active deception.”
[Updated at 10:44 a.m. ET]
Serino agrees that Zimmerman may have seen the address on the neighbor’s house if he wasn’t blocked by a tree and was looking to the right. He also says there was no number on the side of the house, so Zimmerman wouldn’t see the address after he walked by the house.
[Updated at 10:41 a.m. ET]
“On the screaming on the 911 call, there wasn’t a great deal of muffling, wouldn’t you agree?” asked O’Mara.
“No sir, there was not,” said Serino. He agrees that the scream came from one person. He also says someone may interpret that they’re getting smothered if someone else has a hand on their broken nose.
[Updated at 10:39 a.m. ET]
Zimmerman didn’t seem smug, according to Serino.
“He seemed quite interested in the fact that there might be a videotape?” asked O’Mara.
“Yes he did,” said Serino.
O’Mara says Zimmerman hoped that the neighborhood put up a new video camera that he didn’t know about to document what happened.
[Updated at 10:36 a.m. ET]
Serino says that in Zimmerman’s mind, he might have viewed it as a rash of burglaries. Serino would need more numbers before he could make that determination.
[Updated at 10:34 a.m. ET]
O’Mara says that if you consider Zimmerman’s story to be true, about his head being hit against concrete, “Do you consider him [Trayvon Martin] to have armed himself with concrete?”
“Yes sir,” said Serino.
[Updated at 10:33 a.m. ET]
Serino agrees that he wasn’t worried that a crime was happening; just that someone was where he shouldn’t be.
O’Mara asks Serino if it was it appropriate for Zimmerman to call the nonemergency number, based upon seeing someone at night, in the rain, between two homes.
“That would be reasonable, to call nonemergency,” said Serino.
“If you were driving an unmarked car and saw Trayvon Martin standing there … would you have stopped and talked to him?” asked O’Mara.
“Not just based on his presence, no I would not,” said Serino. “He might live there.”
“Would you stop and ask him?” asked O’Mara.
“Not just based on what you observed, no,” said Serino.
[Updated at 10:30 a.m. ET]
Serino says he has information that Zimmerman continued to follow Martin after being told not to. He says he based that on the location of Martin’s body and the fact that the confrontation happened afterward. But Serino also says there’s no tangible evidence against Zimmerman’s story that Martin confronted him as he was walking back to his car.
[Updated at 10:28 a.m. ET]
Serino points out on a map where Zimmerman says he was walking that night. He says Zimmerman was close to his car when the operator told him he didn’t need to follow Martin.
[Updated at 10:24 a.m. ET]
Serino says it’s not illegal to follow or approach someone and ask them what they’re doing.
[Updated at 10:22 a.m. ET]
O’Mara asks Serino about the nonemergency call operator asking Zimmerman about Martin’s location.
“Does that indicate that he wants him to keep an eye on him?” asked O’Mara.
“Yes sir,” said Serino.
[Updated at 10:20 a.m. ET]
Serino says “these [expletive] punks always get away” and “[expletive] punks” was said in a matter-of-fact kind of way. A few days after the shooting, Serino says a tool was found in the bushes behind one of the witness’s homes.
“It was a piece of an awning; I believe it was a piece of a window, piece of hardware basically. It looked like a slim jim,” said Serino. He explains that this tool is used to break windows.
[Updated at 10:18 a.m. ET]
When Zimmerman said “s**t” on the call, Serino says he saw that as a sign of urgency.
[Updated at 10:16 a.m. ET]
Serino says that he has personally used the expletive Zimmerman used that night (a**holes). He also says it can be used as slang and seemed more like a generalization than something specific.
[Updated at 10:14 a.m. ET]
The prosecutor has finished his redirect examination. Defense attorney O’Mara is now asking more questions of Serino.
[Updated at 10:13 a.m. ET]
“Would you classify the defendant as a skinny kid?” asked de la Rionda.
“No sir,” said Zimmerman.
[Updated at 10:10 a.m. ET]
“You felt like he was exaggerating certain parts of it?” asked de la Rionda.
“Among other things,” said Serino.
“Did you feel he exaggerated the manner in which he was hit?” asked de la Rionda.
“Yes sir,” said Serino.
[Updated at 10:09 a.m. ET]
Zimmerman told police he got on Martin’s body and spread his arms out, holding them down. De la Rionda shows Serino a photo taken by a neighbor that shows Martin on the ground with his hands under him. Serino says the positioning of the arms is inconsistent with Zimmerman’s statements.
[Updated at 10:07 a.m. ET]
Serino says the street Zimmerman didn’t know the name of was the street that goes through the front gate.
[Updated at 10:05 a.m. ET]
De la Rionda is now playing part of Zimmerman’s reenactment with police. Zimmerman says he got out of his car to find an address. The prosecutor puts up a photo of a neighbor’s house, showing the address on the front.
“There’s an address right there staring at him?” asked de la Rionda.
“Yes there is,” said Serino.
[Updated at 10:01 a.m. ET]
Prosecutor de la Rionda plays more of Serino’s interview with Zimmerman. Serino says he remembers challenging Zimmerman about whether he was smothered or not.
[Updated at 9:58 a.m. ET]
Serino says he bluffed about Martin’s phone maybe having filmed the incident. He also said there may have been cameras in the neighborhood. De la Rionda says Zimmerman would have known what cameras were in the neighborhood. The prosecutor also asks if there was any evidence that Martin used his phone before being shot. Serino says no.
[Updated at 9:55 a.m. ET]
During his interview, Serino asks Zimmerman what’s behind his statement about “these [expletives].”
“People that victimize the neighborhood,” said Zimmerman.
[Updated at 9:53 a.m. ET]
“Isn’t it accurate that he was profiling Trayvon Martin as a criminal?” asked prosecutor de la Rionda.
The defense objects, calling it speculation, and the judge sustains.
“If I were to believe that somebody was committing a crime, could that not be profiling that person?” asked de la Rionda.
“It could be construed as such, yes,” said Serino.
“Was there any evidence that Trayvon Martin was committing a crime that evening, sir?” asked de la Rionda.
“No sir,” said Serino.
“Was there any evidence that that young man was armed?” asked de la Rionda.
“No sir,” said Serino.
[Updated at 9:50 a.m. ET]
The prosecutor is now playing part of Zimmerman’s interview with police Officer Doris Singleton. Zimmerman says that the neighborhood has had a lot of crime and that his wife saw a residence being broken into. He says he decided to start a neighborhood watch program.
“There’s been a few times where I’ve seen a suspicious person in the neighborhood … these guys always get away,” said Zimmerman.
[Updated at 9:47 a.m. ET]
Serino says the nonemergency line operator, in so many words, asked Zimmerman to not follow Martin.
[Updated at 9:46 a.m. ET]
Prosecutor de la Rionda plays a part of Zimmerman’s police call where he says “these [expletive] always get away.”
“Is that something you would use in reference to somebody that you’re going to invite over to dinner?” asked de la Rionda.
“No sir, I would not,” said Serino.
“Does that seem like a friendly comment about somebody else?” asked de la Rionda.
“No sir, it does not,” said Serino.
Serino says that calling someone “[expletive] punks” shows ill will and spite.
[Updated at 9:42 a.m. ET]
O’Mara has finished his cross-examination, and prosecutor de la Rionda is asking more questions of Serino.
[Updated at 9:40 a.m. ET]
Zimmerman spoke with Serino several times after their initial interviews. Serino says Zimmerman was always compliant.
[Updated at 9:39 a.m. ET]
Serino says that Zimmerman’s injuries didn’t seem life threatening and that no injuries were needed for him to look into the case.
[Updated at 9:38 a.m. ET]
Serino says he moved the interview to his desk to play the police calls because he didn’t have a computer in the interrogation room.
[Updated at 9:36 a.m. ET]
Defense attorney Mark O’Mara plays Serino’s interview with Zimmerman in court, where Serino plays the 911 call made by a neighbor.
“You hear that voice in the background? That’s you,” said Serino on the audio recording.
Zimmerman says it doesn’t even sound like him. Serino says this statement didn’t change the direction of his interrogation of Zimmerman. He also says the statement didn’t cause him any concern.
[Updated at 9:32 a.m. ET]
Serino says the purpose of his second interview could have been to challenge Zimmerman or extract the truth. He says Zimmerman was consistent throughout the interview.
[Updated at 9:29 a.m. ET]
The court reporter reads back part of Serino’s testimony from yesterday:
“So if we were to take pathological liar off the table as a possibility … you think he was telling the truth?” asked O’Mara.
“Yes,” said Serino.
The judge tells jurors this was an improper comment made by a witness and to disregard the question and the answer.
[Updated at 9:27 a.m. ET]
The jury is being seated.
[Updated at 9:25 a.m. ET]
“Simply not coming isn’t really a reason to bar the direct testimony,” said Mantei. He says he wants to play the video and the defense can cross-examine the witness when he’s available on the phone or on webcam. The judge asks Mantei to figure out the witness’ schedule and says she’ll table the discussion until the afternoon.
[Updated at 9:22 a.m. ET]
Defense attorney Don West says it’s unacceptable for the video to be played and the defense to not have an option to cross-examine the witness. West says they’d want a chance to talk to the witness because they didn’t know the prosecution wanted to call him until after the trial started. West says the defense wasn’t able to make the interview last week because of a scheduling conflict. He says they should shoot for a time when the witness is available.
[Updated at 9:20 a.m. ET]
Prosecutor Richard Mantei is talking to the judge about a witness who was unable to testify in person. Mantei says they scheduled a deposition for him but the defense didn’t show up. Mantei says the witness may be available sporadically by phone but is unavailable today to testify remotely. Mantei wants to know how the defense feels about them playing the video from the deposition.
[Updated at 9:17 a.m. ET]
O’Mara says the cases he’s reading affected the rights of the defendant. He says Serino was supposed to be determining if Zimmerman was telling the truth, so he should be able to testify about it. Prosecutor de la Rionda says the state is also entitled to a fair trial. He wants the statements read back to jurors and for the judge to tell them to dismiss Serino’s answers.
[Updated at 9:11 a.m. ET]
O’Mara says it comes down to the client’s right to a fair trial. He says he doesn’t believe this hurts the prosecution’s case, since it’s the prosecution’s own witness. O’Mara is reading the case law now.
[Updated at 9:09 a.m. ET]
O’Mara says the whole premise of a challenge interview is to determine truthfulness, so he says Serino should be able to give his opinion. The judge reads case law that says it’s an error for a witness to give an opinion about the credibility of another witness’ statements. The case law goes on to say it’s especially harmful for a police officer to do this.
[Updated at 9:07 a.m. ET]
Defense attorney O’Mara is cuing up audio while prosecutor de la Rionda reads Serino’s statements that he wants the judge to have jurors dismissed.
[Updated at 9:04 a.m. ET]
The prosecutor says it’s improper for the defense to ask lead investigator Chris Serino about the truthfulness of Zimmerman’s statements. He wants the judge to strike the answers.
[Updated at 9:01 a.m. ET]
Defense attorney Mark O’Mara asks the judge to set up another time to discuss the matter so it’s not right in the middle of his cross-examination. The judge says she wants to take a moment to read the case law.
[Updated at 8:59 a.m. ET]
Judge Debra Nelson is on the bench, and prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda is giving the judge some case law in reference to a motion that was filed.
[Posted at 8:55 a.m. ET]
George Zimmerman has entered the courtroom.