Mystery girl to testify in Trayvon Martin murder case

George Zimmerman enters the courtroom for his trial in Seminole circuit court in Sanford, Florida, June 25, 2013. Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder for the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin. Credit: Reuters
George Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder for the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
Credit: Reuters

Prosecutors in the Florida murder trial of neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman will reveal a star witness for the first time Tuesday, the girl Trayvon Martin was talking with in the last minutes of his life.

The teenage girl, known as Witness #8 until now, was due to testify about what Martin, the unarmed black 17-year-old shot and killed by Zimmerman last year, told her what he saw that night.

Identified in court on Monday only as Rachel, a friend of Martin from Miami, she received a running account about what was happening, starting when he noticed a man, Zimmerman, watching him in the gated central Florida community he was visiting.

Zimmerman, 29 and part Hispanic, was a neighborhood watch volunteer in the Retreat at Twin Lakes community in Sanford at the time of the Feb. 26, 2012, killing. He has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and could face life imprisonment if convicted.

The racially charged case triggered civil rights protests and debates about the treatment of black Americans in the U.S. justice system, since police did not arrest Zimmerman for 44 days.

To win a conviction for second-degree murder, the prosecution must convince jurors that Zimmerman acted with “ill will, hatred, spite or an evil intent,” and “an indifference to human life,” according to Florida jury instructions.

In previous written testimony, Rachel described Martin as scared and trying to get away from the man. She was urging him to run. She last heard Martin say, “why are you following me” after which she said she heard what sounded like Martin falling. Then the phone line went dead.

The Martin family lawyer, Ben Crump, has said her testimony helps destroy Zimmerman’s claim that he acted in self-defense.

Zimmerman placed a four-minute phone call to police when he first spotted Martin, telling a dispatcher that the Miami teen looked “real suspicious.”

Martin was a student at a Miami-area high school and a guest of one of the homeowners. He was walking back to the house after buying snacks at a nearby convenience store when he was shot in the chest during a confrontation with Zimmerman.

Also on Tuesday, lawyers will continue to dissect witness testimony about Zimmerman’s call to police. Jurors heard the “suspicious person” call three times on Monday, twice during the opening statements and again during witness testimony.

In opening statements Monday, the prosecution portrayed Zimmerman as a man with a concealed weapon who committed a vigilante-style killing. The defense suggested that Martin was the aggressor, and Zimmerman acted to protect his own life.

Six jurors, all women, were selected last week to hear the case. Florida law requires a minimum of six jurors except in cases where the death penalty is sought.

Under Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, which was approved in 2005 and has since been copied by about 30 other states, people fearing for their lives can use deadly force without having to retreat from a confrontation, even when it is possible.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

NBA

Deron Williams leads Nets over Raptors in Game…

The Nets traveled to a raucous Air Canada Centre but came out with an important Game 1 victory over the Raptors.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.