SANFORD, FL. – It wasn’t through actual testimony on the stand, but the jury in the George Zimmerman trial heard from the man himself.
Jurors intently listened to Zimmerman's words during several police interviews in the hours and days following the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Furiously taking notes and leaning forward to listen to the recorded interviews, jurors heard for the first time and in detail Zimmerman's own description of the events that happened on February 26, 2012, when he admitted to killing Martin.
Jurors seemed completely transfixed, fully focused.
"I shot him and didn't think I hit him because he kinda sat up and said 'Oh gosh, you got it, you got me,' Zimmerman said to Christopher Serino, the former police investigator who interviewed the confessed shooter.
Zimmerman, 29, led Serino through a step-by-step re-enactment of what happened on that rainy, dark night at the site of the altercation in this central Florida community.
Zimmerman said he became suspicious when he did not recognize Martin and that there had been a series of break-ins in his neighborhood.
"These guys always get away," Zimmerman told Sanford Police Officer Doris Singleton in his first taped statement to police.
When he approached Martin in his car, the teenager then "circled" Zimmerman’s car. Then, Zimmerman told Serino, he lost sight of Martin and got out of his truck.
Zimmerman said he then called a non-emergency line to report Martin, describing him as wearing a hoodie and looking at houses. Zimmerman then informed the police dispatcher that Martin started running. The dispatcher told Zimmerman to not chase after Martin.
"I wasn't following. I was going in same direction as him," Zimmerman told Serino in an interview a couple days after the shooting.
"That's following," Serino replied, incredulous.
Another police investigator, Doris Singleton, then jumped in, asking Zimmerman: "Do you think he was afraid?" she asked. "You never told him you were? You could have told him? Right?"
Zimmerman replied: "He caught me off guard.”
Singleton said that Martin may have thought Zimmerman was "creepy" -- a similar description given my state witness Rachel Jeantel last week. Jeantel said Martin had described Zimmerman as a "creepy ass cracker."
In the audio tapes, Zimmerman described to police officers that he lost sight of Martin and left his vehicle to look for a street name for the dispatcher. He then started heading back to his truck, he said, when Martin" jumped out" from the bushes.
"What the f*ck is ur problem homey?" Martin said, according to Zimmerman.
Zimmerman replied he didn't have a problem.
"Now you have a problem," he said Martin replied.
He then punched him in the nose and was "wailing on my head," according to Zimmerman.
Zimmerman said he was "yelling for help" but no one came out to help him.
Zimmerman said Martin was banging his head against the concrete and "put his hands" on his nose and mouth.
"You are going to die tonight" Zimmerman said Martin threatened him. Zimmerman said he felt Martin going for Zimmerman’s gun.
That's when Zimmerman shot him.
"You got me," Zimmerman said Martin told him.
Serino testified that he bluffed Zimmerman during his questioning and told him the fight was taped to see his reaction.
"Thank God," Zimmerman said.
When cross-examined by lead Zimmerman counsel Mark O'Mara, Serino, who had initially recommended manslaughter against Zimmerman, was asked about his thoughts on Zimmerman’s reaction to the possibility that the fight was caught on tape.
"Either he was telling the truth or he was a complete pathological liar," Serino said, as jurors furiously scribbled notes.
O'Mara then asked to Serino to clarify if he thought Zimmerman was telling the truth in this matter.
"Yes," Serino, looking tired from long hours of testimony, said bluntly.