Eight days into its presentation the prosecution in the George Zimmerman second degree murder trial signaled that it planned to finish its case by the end of the day.
Prosecutors did not rest but their midday statement signaled that they were essentially done showing the jury all of their evidence and witnesses.
Keep in mind that all witnesses (more than 30 of them) that have testified thus far are just the witnesses for the prosecution.
In conversations with friends and family, and judging by comments on social media, there seems to be a consensus that the majority of the state’s witnesses were not helpful to the prosecution’s case against Zimmerman. In some instances, it appears that the witnesses may have even helped the defense.
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Rachel Jeantel, Martin’s close friend, testified for two days. She evoked great public response -- primarily because of her negative courtroom demeanor.
But in the eight hours she spent on the stand, the jury learned little from Jeantal other than that she was the last person to talk to Martin on the phone and that she did not witness the incident. Jeantel’s testimony certainly did not give a big boost to the prosecution.
The lead Sanford Florida Police Detective Christopher Serino, testified that during his investigation Zimmerman told him that Martin attacked him, and that he believed Zimmerman was telling him the truth.
The following morning, Judge Debra Nelson instructed the jurors to disregard the portion of Serino's testimony where he revealed that he found Zimmerman’s story to be credible. (A witness (Serino) cannot testify to the credibility of another. Rather, it is a jury’s job to assess credibility of the witnesses and evidence.)
But bear in mind that the jury still heard Serino’s opinion, regardless of the judge’s ruling the following day.
Mark Osterman testified that Zimmerman is “the best friend I ever had.” He said that his friend essentially told him the same version of events that Zimmerman told to police.
Yes, Osterman once wrote a book about shooting but why the prosecution would choose to use the defendant’s best friend as its witness is bizarre (unless Osterman was going to testify that Zimmerman told him a completely different story.)
The prosecution also played a previously-televised interview of Zimmerman with Fox News anchor Sean Hannity.
Fox News producer Sarafin Gomez, who has been inside of the courtroom, stated that the jury was very “fixed” on the interview in which Zimmerman stated he had no regrets about what happened with Martin because it was “God’s plan.”
Of course, if Zimmerman takes the stand, the Hannity interview can be used to impeach him but for the prosecution’s purposes, playing the interview for the jury revealed nothing incriminating except for an inconsistency here and there.
Neighbor Selma Mora testified that she only saw one man on top of another. Period. Zimmerman was the aggressor.
Her testimony can support Zimmerman’s claim that he and Martin were on the ground but it certainly does not help the prosecution prove that Zimmerman is guilty of murder or was not acting in self defense.
Medical examiner Dr. Valerie Rao testified that Zimmerman had “minor” and “very insignificant” head injuries. But self-defense does not require that Zimmerman have a broken skull and swollen brain.
Dr. Rao proved that, regardless of the severity of the wounds, Zimmerman’s scalp was wounded.
Captain Alexis Carter, a member of the military JAG Corps, taught a Criminal Litigation course at Seminole State College. He was Zimmerman’s teacher. Carter testified that Zimmerman received an A grade in his Criminal Litigation class.
He even said “Hi, George” to Zimmerman when he entered the courtroom. A prosecution witness’ friendly exchange with the defendant is certainly not helpful.
Carter stated that Zimmerman learned about Florida's “Stand your Ground” law in his class, whereas Zimmerman told Sean Hannity that he did not know about the law. Regardless of this inconsistency, Carter showed that Zimmerman was a good and likable student.
Martin is not alive to tell his side of the story. We will never hear his version of events.
At this point, however, the prosecution appears to be making a very poor case against Zimmerman. It has so far failed to show, through its witnesses and evidence, that he is guilty of Second Degree Murder beyond a reasonable doubt.