Zimmerman cried for help on call: Friends

2013-07-08 19:47
Zimmerman injuries to head.

Zimmerman injuries to head.

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Sanford -  Best friends and a former co-worker of neighbourhood watch volunteer accused of killing a black teenager took the witness stand on Monday to testify that it's George Zimmerman's voice screaming for help on a call to police and not that of the victim.

The three friends joined a series of witnesses called by the defence who have testified that Zimmerman is screaming for help on the police call moments before he fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

After the call was played for Sondra Osterman in the courtroom, defence attorney Mark O'Mara asked who it was.

"Yes, definitely. It's Georgie," said Sondra Osterman, who testified she first met Zimmerman in 2006 while working with him at a mortgage company. Sondra Osterman and her husband, Mark, describe themselves as the best friends of Zimmerman and his wife.

The police call captured the confrontation between Zimmerman and Martin shortly before Zimmerman fatally shot the teen. Zimmerman's mother and uncle testified last Friday it was Zimmerman screaming. Martin's mother and brother also took the witness stand last Friday to say the voice belongs to Martin.

The police call is a crucial bit of evidence and has been played for jurors repeatedly because it could determine who the aggressor was in the confrontation last year.

Zimmerman, a former neighbourhood watch volunteer, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and says he shot Martin in self-defence during a scuffle in the town home complex where he lived. Martin was there visiting his father and his father's fiancée.

The case sparked protests because police did not charge Zimmerman for 44 days and it touched off a nationwide debate about race and self-defence.

Prosecutors contend that Zimmerman was profiling Martin and perceived the teen as someone suspicious in the neighbourhood, which had been the site of a series of break-ins.

Under cross-examination, prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda implied that Sondra Osterman and her husband, Mark, had a stake in the outcome of the trial because they had written a book about Zimmerman's case and were donating the proceeds to their friend.

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