The defense in the trial of George Zimmerman rested their case Wednesday, ending their presentation in the case of the man who shot and killed Trayvon Martin 17 months ago, as the defendant told the judge that he will not testify in the trial.
Judge Debra S. Nelson had asked Zimmerman whether he planned to testify in the trial, prompting his lawyers to press the judge to prevent their client from responding immediately. But in a contentious exchange, Nelson continued to demand that Zimmerman answer the question. And after a short break, he spoke to the judge, saying he had decided “after consulting with counsel, not to testify.”
Earlier in the day, Zimmerman’s father, Robert Zimmerman Sr., testified briefly, saying that the voice on the 911 recording in the second before Trayvon Martin was killed belonged to his son.
Prior to that, Zimmerman’s lawyers called to the stand a former neighbor of the defendant who said she was a victim of a home invasion by two African-American young men a few months before the unarmed, 17-year-old Martin was shot.
The former neighbor, Olivia Bertalan, said the men who broke into her home entered the residence when she was at home with her son and that she went to hide in a bedroom. She said she grabbed a pair of scissors as the intruders went through her belongings and stole some objects.
During cross examination by the prosecution, Bertalan said she had spoken about the incident with Zimmerman and that she had described the suspects to him. She also said she follows Zimmerman's defense team on Twitter.
Zimmerman is on trial for second-degree murder in the death of Trayvon Martin, who was walking in a gated community in Sanford, Florida, on his way from a convenience store to the home of his father’s fiancée.
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(Photo: AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Gary W. Green, Pool)