Witness Describes Zimmerman's Injuries, Phone Call To Wife
FLORIDA--A resident of the Florida community where George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin last year told jurors Friday afternoon how he encountered a bloodied Zimmerman immediately after the confrontation and took pictures of the murder defendant's injuries.
State witness Joe Manalo testified that took the photos with his cell phone that showed blood on Zimmerman's lip and scalp.
"He had blood running down his nose from both nostrils and over his lips," Manalo told Prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda.
Manalo said Zimmerman asked him to call his wife, Shellie, and tell her that he just shot someone as cops arrived on the scene.
"He had a cell phone in his hand and he tossed it on the ground asking if I could call his wife," Manalo testified. "He gave me her number. I had a connection right away and said, 'Your husband has been involved in a shooting. He's detained by Sanford police.'"
"Just tell her I shot someone," Manalo recalled Zimmerman saying, to which he obliged.
On cross-examination, defense attorney Don West read a transcript of what Manalo claims Zimmerman told him after the shooting.
"This guy was beating me up and I was defending myself. I shot him," the statement read.
West then asked Manalo, "George Zimmerman asked, 'Am I bleeding?'" Manalo confirmed that he did.
Manalo also confirmed his earlier statement that when the police officer asked him who shot Martin, Zimmerman replied immediately saying that he had.
Earlier on Friday, another neighbor, John Good, testified how he witnessed an MMA-style fracas between Zimmerman and Martin. He described seeing one person straddling another and throwing punches down at the person which he described in a statement as a "ground and pound."
Good said he was watching TV with his wife when they heard a noise and he went out to investigate, despite his wife warning him not to. At first, he thought a dog might be attacking someone, but as he moved closer, he said he observed what looked like "a tussle" between two people.
"It looked like a tussle," Good said. "I could only see one person. At one point, I yelled out, 'What's going on? Stop it,' I believe.
Under questioning by De la Rionda, Good said one of the combatants was straddling a man lying face up on the pavement, and throwing punches. The testimony appeared to corroborate Zimmerman's claims that he shot the 17-year-old African-American with a legally registered gun in self defense, as he was being pummeled.
"I could tell that the person on the bottom had a lighter skin color," testified Good, who also said the person on the bottom appeared to be wearing "white or red," while the one on top wore dark clothing. Zimmerman identified that day as Hispanic and was wearing a red jacket. That also would corroborate Zimmerman's claims he was on the losing end of a violent confrontation when he fired the fatal shot.
But Good said he did not see the person on top slam the other one's head into the pavement. Zimmerman had wounds to his scalp following the confrontation.
Good, who went back inside and was calling 911 when he heard a gunshot, listened as an audio recording of his call was played in the courtroom.
"It looks like there's a black guy down, and he's dead," Good said on the call.
During cross examination, defense attorney Mark O'Mara asked Good to be more specific as to the exact positions of the two men on the ground and even demonstrated in the courtroom asking for visual confirmation. He also asked what Good meant on the 911 call when he said the person on top was engaged in an "MMA-style" move of "ground and pound". The witness also said during testimony that the person on the bottom was unable to move under a flurry of punches.
When O'Mara asked him if the person on top was Martin, Good said: "Correct, that's what it looked like."
Good also said he believed the person on the bottom yelled for help, but later conceded that he was not 100 percent sure it was the person on the bottom calling for help while he was in his house placing the emergency call, only that it "sounded like" it came from the person being attacked.
During cross-examination, O'Mara got on his knees to recreate the fighting as he asked Good to walk him through it.
Good was also shown by O'Mara a picture of Martin in a 7-Eleven convenience store and said that the person on top during the struggle was wearing the same dark clothing in the image.
Questioning was then redirected back to the prosecutor who tried to discredit a strong testimony for the defense.
De La Rionda asked Good if he used the term "ground and pound" in his statements to investigators or if it was a Sanford Police Department investigator first used the term. Good replied that it was possible. De La Rionda also used water bottles to help demonstrate the position of Zimmerman and Martin and even got Good to concede that he did not actually see punches thrown and that he "only saw downward movement" of arms.
The testimony came as Zimmerman’s murder trial entered its fifth day Friday, a day after the former neighborhood watch volunteer's attorney tried to demonstrate that the woman who was on the phone with Trayvon Martin shortly before he was fatally shot was not believable because her story changed over the course of the last year.
An attorney for Martin’s family, meanwhile, suddenly declared Thursday that the high-profile case was not about race.
“It’s not about racial profiling,” Daryl Parks told reporters. “He was profiled (criminally). George Zimmerman profiled him.”
Parks made the comments after prosecutors spent several days arguing that Zimmerman profiled the 17-year-old specifically because he was black. Asked why he changed his take on the matter, Parks replied: “We never claimed this was about race.”
Zimmerman, 29, has said he opened fire only after the teenager jumped him and began slamming his head against the concrete sidewalk. Zimmerman identifies himself as Hispanic and has denied that his confrontation with the black teenager had anything to do with race, as Martin's family and its supporters have claimed.
Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty, claiming self-defense. He could face life in prison if convicted.