Key Testimony From Police|in Zimmerman Murder Trial

SANFORD, Fla. (CN) – Prosecutors on Monday questioned the police detectives who interrogated George Zimmerman about what happened the night he shot Trayvon Martin.
     The Sanford Police Department’s lead investigator Chris Serino and Det. Doris Singleton testified as the state attacked Zimmerman’s story and claim of self-defense.
     Prosecutor Bernie De la Rionda asked Serino about discrepancies in Zimmerman’s story.
     The court played a recording of the interrogation for the six-woman jury.
     Serino asked why Zimmerman was watching Martin, and Zimmerman said Martin seemed suspicious because he was standing in the rain.
     “That’s what threw me off, was it’s raining,” Zimmerman said in the interrogation. “I can’t understand why someone would be just stopping in the rain.”
     “Did it ever occur to you to just ask this person what he was doing out there?” Serino asked.
     “I didn’t want to confront him,” Zimmerman said. “He looked like he had something in his waist band.”
     Serino said Martin was probably holding his fruit drink can.
     Zimmerman first told police he made a non-emergency call by the clubhouse of the gated community, but later said he was moving around.
     Serino asked Zimmerman if he followed Martin because he “had it in for this kid.”
     “I wasn’t following him. I was just moving in the same direction as him,” Zimmerman said.
     “That’s following him,” Serino said.
     “It sounds like you’re running, too,” Singleton added, on the tape.
     Singleton suggested that Martin might have found Zimmerman “creepy.”
     “You’re concerned about confronting this guy when you’ve been chasing him, essentially?” Singleton asked.
     Serino then told Zimmerman, “Had you stayed in your car, we probably wouldn’t be here right now.”
     Also during the interrogation, Serino asked Zimmerman how he could have screamed if he was being smothered, as he first told investigators.
     “At what point was he smothering you?” Serino asked.
     “The screams sound continuous,” Singleton added.
     In court, De la Rionda asked Serino if Zimmerman had told him “that doesn’t even sound like me” when he heard a person screaming for help in a 911 call.
     Serino replied, “Yes.”
     Serino said that Zimmerman had only minor injuries.
     On the interrogation tape, Serino asked Zimmerman if Martin would have been suspicious if he were white.
     Zimmerman responded, “Yes.”
     On cross-examination, Zimmerman’s attorney Mark O’Mara called Serino’s technique a “challenge interview,” trying to poke holes in Zimmerman’s story.
     Serino agreed about trying to poke holes, and said, “Or trying to find out the truth.”
     Serino said he recommended a manslaughter charge when his department wouldn’t arrest Zimmerman.
     It took more than six weeks, and nationwide protests, before Zimmerman was arrested and charged after he killed Martin in February 2012.
     O’Mara called Serino’s interrogation of Zimmerman a “virgin interview” because it was done without evidence or witnesses.
     The jury watched a video of Zimmerman the day after the shooting as he re-enacted the incident.
     Zimmerman said he got out of his car to check what street he was on. As he walked back to his car, he said, Martin came out of the darkness and attacked him.
     Singleton told Zimmerman, on tape, that he should have known the few streets in the subdivision, since he was on the Neighborhood Watch.
     Zimmerman said on tape that Martin told him, “You’re going to die tonight.”
     He told the detectives that Martin was banging his head onto the pavement, that he thought the teenager would try to take his gun, so he pulled it out and shot Martin.
     In court, Singleton said that Zimmerman was shocked when he was told that Martin had died. She said Zimmerman shook his head and said, “He’s dead?”
     Singleton said that Zimmerman did not seem spiteful or angry.
     She said he asked her if she was Catholic and believed that killing is wrong no matter what. Singleton said no, but she was Christian and didn’t think God meant that you shouldn’t kill to protect yourself.
     Singleton read Zimmerman’s statement to the jury. She said she didn’t see any discrepancies and that people usually do not tell a story the same way twice.
     Also testifying Monday was voice expert Hirotaka Nakasone. He testified that the voice samples screaming for help on a 911 call were too far away to be used for evaluation.
     Nakasone said only someone who had heard the voices before in that type of situation would be able to tell who it was.
     Zimmerman, 29, claims he killed 17-year-old Martin in self-defense under Florida’s “stand your ground” law. He is charged with second-degree murder and could face life in prison if convicted.
     The state is expected to wrap up its case this week.
     Serino continues his testimony today.

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