State prosecutors set the scene for the night that Trayvon Martin was killed.
Today in the Seminole County Courthouse, the prosecution continued to question witnesses for the case of State of Florida v. George Zimmerman. Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder in the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26, 2012.
The day began with Circuit Judge Debra Nelson addressing an objection made yesterday by lead defense attorney, Mark O’Mara, during the testimony of Ramona Rumph, deputy director of the communications division for the Seminole County Sheriff’s Department. O’Mara objected to the relevancy of a non-emergency call Zimmerman made to police in 2011 about a similar incident. This call that occurred nearly a year before the death of the unarmed Martin, addressed the sighting of another young, Black male whom Zimmerman described as suspicious.
The six-person, all-female jury remained outside the courtroom where they were unable to hear the discussion regarding the admissibility of such evidence. Judge Nelson will make a decision on this evidence after court adjourns for the day, at which time she will listen to Zimmerman’s prior 911 calls.
The prosecution resumed direct examination of Rumph, who finished her testimony by detailing how calls were logged at the call center. Following a sidebar called by O’Mara, the defense declined to cross-examine the witness.
The state also called to the witness stand Wendy Dorival, a volunteer coordinator for the Sanford County Police Department whom Zimmerman had previously contacted about starting a neighborhood watch program over fear of a series of burglaries in the neighborhood. Dorival stated that neighborhood watchmen were “NOT to act as vigilante police,” according to the manual she had given Zimmerman. Neither Dorival nor the manual provided information to the neighborhood watch leaders regarding whether to carry firearms.
Later, when the state began questioning Sergeant Anthony Raimondo Jr., one of the first officers to arrive at the scene after the shooting, the courtroom atmosphere grew palpably tense and the mood somber.
Using Raimondo’s firsthand knowledge of the crime scene, the state set the scene of the night of Martin’s death. On a courtroom projector, it presented photos of the neighborhood and graphic images of Martin’s slain body, including a close-up image of the bullet hole in Martin's chest, which prompted his father, Tracy Martin, to exit the courtroom.
Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, remained in the room though clearly looking away from the images on the projector and blinking heavily.
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(Photo: Gary W. Green-Pool/Getty Images)