Riveting Testimony in|Zimmerman Murder Trial

     SANFORD, Fla. (CN) – Emotional testimony in George Zimmerman’s murder trial Wednesday included a tape of a 911 call in which a sobbing woman tells the dispatcher, “He was yelling for help. Why didn’t someone help him?”
     Zimmerman shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin to death in February 2012. He invoked Florida’s “stand your ground” law as his defense to a charge of second-degree murder.
     Jane Surdyka, who heard and saw the altercation between Zimmerman and Martin, was the state’s first witness.
     Prosecutors played for the six-woman jury a 911 call in which Surdyka is heard crying and asking the dispatcher to please send someone.
     “He was yelling for help,” Surdyka said through her sobbing. “Why didn’t someone help him?”
     Surdyka said she saw Martin lying in the grass and saw Zimmerman walk toward her townhouse with his hand on his forehead. She said it sounded like the screams of a young boy. She told the dispatcher she was scared to live there now and couldn’t believe this could happen in a nice neighborhood.
     “Why would someone shoot somebody?” she asked the dispatcher through her tears.
     Surdyka testified Wednesday that the event was traumatic for her and she no longer lives in that subdivision.
     Another former resident of the subdivision, Jeanee Manalo, testified that she saw two men on the ground. She said that based on news reports that jogged her memory, it looked like the bigger person was on top.
     She said she heard struggling and yells for help.
     Manalo no longer lives at The Retreat at Twin Lakes subdivision.
     On the night he was killed, Martin was on the phone with his friend Rachel Jeantel.
     She testified Wednesday, appearing agitated and hostile with attorneys.
     Jeantel, 19, acknowledged that she lied about why she did not attend Martin’s funeral.
     She said at first that she was in the hospital but later said she just didn’t want to see Martin’s body.
     “You gotta understand, I was the last person to speak to him,” Jeantel said.
     She also acknowledged she had lied about her age, telling defense attorneys she was 16 though she was 18 at the time.
     Jeantel testified that Martin told her on the phone call, “Some creepy-ass cracker is following me.”
     Martin began to run, she said, and the phone disconnected. She said she called back and Martin told her he had lost the man.
     She testified that Martin then said, “Oh shit, the nigga is behind me,” and then said, “What you following me for?”
     Jeantel said she heard a heavily breathing man say, “What are you doing around here?” and then heard grass rubbing on the phone before it hung up.
     When attorneys asked Jeantel why she didn’t call the police, she replied, “Don’t you watch ‘First 48?'”
     “First 48” is a TV show about homicide investigations.
     Jeantel said she thought the police would call her because she was the last person Martin spoke with.
     Jeantel testified that she thought the screams for help in the 911 call could have been Martin because “he has a baby voice.”
     Seminole County Judge Debra Nelson recessed court for the day after Jeantel testified.
     Nelson asked prosecutors how long they would need Jeantel today (Thursday). A defense attorney said they would need her for about two hours.
     “What!,” Jeantel said.
     She said she hoped to be done testifying Wednesday, but Nelson said she will be the first one called today.
     Twelve witnesses have testified since Monday.
     Before court began Wednesday, Nelson announced that Juror number B-72 had been dismissed for matters unrelated to the case. That leaves the jury with six women, and two women and one man as alternates. The dismissed juror was a young Hispanic man.
     Nelson also ruled that the state may play other calls Zimmerman made to police that describe “suspicious persons.” Prosecutors claim the calls are relevant because they speak to his state of mind.
     If convicted of second-degree murder, Zimmerman could face up to life in prison.
     Testimony resumes today.

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