To win a conviction for second-degree murder, the prosecution must convince jurors that Zimmerman acted with “ill will, hatred, spite or an evil intent,” and “an indifference to human life,” according to Florida jury instructions. – Mystery girl to testify in Trayvon Martin case [Reuters]
TESTIMONY today continues as jurors await what is being characterized as the “mystery girl,” witness number 8, known as Rachel, no last name, who was on the phone with Trayvon Martin just minutes before he was killed. What follows offers a snapshot of a crucial part of the trial.
Pictures of Trayvon Martin after George Zimmerman shot him were shown in court, which reveal a skinny kid that emphasizes the magnitude of this tragic killing.
Not yet in evidence 911 calls were played for the judge, the jury absent at this point, with state attorney Richard Mantei arguing that the series of calls should be heard by the jury.
“Anything that is relevant to establish… the defendant’s state of mind meets the definition of relevance.” – State Attorney Richard Mantei
Hearing the calls, the level of interest of George Zimmerman is obvious. Whether there was a “building level of frustration” [see Global Grind for more] is up to a juror’s interpretation, obviously. It is clear, however, that Mr. Zimmerman was concerned, some might call it fixated. After hearing Zimmerman’s words, “fucking punks, these assholes, they always get away,” there can be little doubt he brought a certain prejudice into the situation that ended in Trayvon Martin’s killing.
What was going on in the neighborhood, the burglaries that had occurred, which Dorival confirmed when Zimmerman’s defense attorney cross examined her, as did the homeowners association president Donald O’Brien, may have further led to this feeling of suspicion by Mr. Zimmerman. But it’s clear he was already suspicious when he went walking through the neighborhood the night he shot Trayvon Martin dead.
Wendy Dorival of the Sanford Police Department who trained George Zimmerman as a volunteer “neighborhood watch coordinator,” was a key witness. Through her testimony with the defense, Ms. Dorival offered that George Zimmerman was a criminal justice major. She gave testimony that proved Mr. Zimmerman took his role as neighborhood watch coordinator very seriously. She said he was “meek,” “very professional with me.”
Ms. Dorival also explained the obvious that the neighborhood watch was instituted so neighbors can share information if they see something “suspicious.” She also listened to people’s concerns and logged them. At one point defense attorney Don West asked about a home invasion, which Dorival confirmed, which was objected to as hearsay, the judge disallowing it. However, as the old saying goes, the jury still heard it.
“Citizens should never take action on their observations,” is part of the neighborhood watch manual, which was read directly from a national hand out often used in communities, during analysis on HLN. As Dorival offered, however, anyone is free to defend themselves if attacked. No advice on guns is ever offered, Dorival said, because it’s not part of the job.
Gun laws should be at the center of this trial when discussed outside the courtroom, specifically so-called “Stand Your Ground” laws that take the Second Amendment beyond what it’s ever meant before. A homeowner can defend herself inside her home, but once she steps outside of her house, shooting someone will be a very serious offense in most states.
Under Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, which was approved in 2005 and has since been copied by about 30 other states, people fearing for their lives can use deadly force without having to retreat from a confrontation, even when it is possible. [Reuters]
During questioning by defense attorney Don West, Dorival talked about the limits of the neighborhood watch, which includes not directly engaging suspicious persons, but reporting them to police instead.
The Global Grind has live streaming of the trial and court testimony. I also heard this testimony on HLN, the following important to note, emphasis added:
Dorival says she tells neighborhood watch (NW) not to follow people. But share your suspicions. “We say ‘don’t do that. That’s the job of law enforcement.'”
Did George Zimmerman’s interest in criminal justice lead him in his volunteer position to make assessments that were beyond the scope of his position? Did it lead to a “building level of frustration the defendant had,” as Mantei stated? Does it reveal “he considers a lot of other things to be suspicious,” as was alleged by Mantei?
Was it a situation building to the inevitable conclusion of a confrontation, because Mr. Zimmerman saw a black male, like those he’d seen on other occasions, who wore a hoody and was seen walking a dark neighborhood that George Zimmerman had taken upon himself to protect by carrying a firearm?
The defense made it clear that George Zimmerman was right to call when he saw something suspicious, which the prosecution isn’t contesting. What remains the issue is why Trayvon Martin walking in the rain met the standard of suspicious. There is nothing in evidence that suggests he was at this point.
The opening words of prosecuting attorney John Guy ring out. George Zimmerman saying, ““fucking punks, these assholes, they always get away.”
That’s the attitude Mr. Zimmerman carried with him on the night he shot Trayvon Martin. After making several 911 calls over the six months prior to this event, reporting suspicious “black” males in an area where a neighborhood watch was instituted, because people felt unsafe.