The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

June 29, 2013

First week of testimony in Martin case wraps up

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) — The first week of George Zimmerman's second-degree murder trial wrapped up with testimony from two neighbors and a police officer that seemed to bolster the defense's argument that he was pinned on his back by Trayvon Martin before shooting the teen.

Neighbor Jonathan Good testified Friday that it appeared the unarmed teen was straddling the neighborhood watch volunteer, while another neighbor, Jonathan Manalo, said Zimmerman seemed credible when he said just after the fight that he shot Martin in self-defense. Officer Tim Smith testified that Zimmerman's back side was covered in grass and wetter than his front side.

All three were called as witnesses for prosecutors who are trying to convict him of second-degree murder.

Good, who had perhaps the best view of any witness, said he did not see anyone's head being slammed into the concrete sidewalk, as Zimmerman claims Martin did to him. Good initially testified that it appeared "there were strikes being thrown, punches being thrown," but during detailed questioning he said he saw only "downward" arm movements being made.

Zimmerman has claimed that he fatally shot 17-year-old Martin in February 2012 in self-defense as the Miami-area teen was banging his head into the concrete sidewalk behind the townhomes in a gated community.

Under prosecution questioning, Good said he never saw anyone being attacked that way. Good said he heard a noise behind his townhome and he saw what looked like a tussle when he stepped out onto his patio. He said he yelled: "What's going on? Stop it."

Good testified he saw a person in black clothing on top of another person with "white or red" clothing. He said he couldn't see faces but it looked like the person on the bottom had lighter skin. Martin was black and was wearing a dark hoodie. Zimmerman identifies as Hispanic and was wearing a red jacket. Good was back inside calling 911 when he heard a gunshot.

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