Day 3 of the Zimmerman second-degree murder trial began with the release of an alternate juror for unrelated reasons.  As well, Judge Debra Nelson ruled to allow the prosecutors to present the jury with the 5 previous non-emergency calls made by Zimmerman in the 6 months preceding the incident on February 26, 2012.

The first witness called today was Jane Surdyka, a neighbor and eye/ear-witness.  She stated that she was lying on her bed in the upstairs of her townhome.  She got up to close her window because it was “pouring rain”.  She said that she heard a loud “dominant”, “very aggressive…angry” voice and a “softer”, “higher-pitched” voice.  Her light was glaring in the window, so she couldn’t see anything outside.  Anywhere between 5 and 10 minutes, she turned her light off, so that she could see out the window.  She couldn’t see any arms moving, but she could hear “scuffling” and “wrestling”.  She saw two people on the ground, one on top of the other.  As she grabbed her cell phone to call 911, she heard two “yells for help”.  She stated that the last yell was more like a “yelp”.  She testified that she thinks the “boy” was the one yelling.  She based her opinion on the two pitches or tones of the voices, but she could not see anything, just figures.  She stated she heard “three popping noises,” but she admitted she doesn’t know what a gun sounds like.  She stated she was afraid and “shaking”.  She saw one person get up and start walking in the direction of her home.  The person walked normally and they walked into the range of a porch light and she could see that it was George Zimmerman.  He shielded his eyes or touched his forehead, in sort of “like a salute” and was bending down at the knees slightly.  She also saw her neighbor go out of his house and up to Zimmerman.  She attested to the fact that she never knew Trayvon Martin or George Zimmerman before that.  Her 911 call was played for the jury.  It backed up her testimony.  One of the only minor differences was that she told the 911 dispatcher that she heard a “bang”.  The entire call, she was very frantic and cried several times.  She also refuses to give her last name because she doesn’t want to be a witness.

On cross-examination by the defense, she was staunch with her opinion that Trayvon Martin was the one crying for help.  She testified that she was able to hear the 911 call with the screams in the background on the news and the radio, “a couple of times”.  At first, she didn’t think an argument was going on, it was just an “unusually loud” voice.  She couldn’t hear what was being said at any time.  She stated that both men were vertical as best as she could tell.  Don West asked her if perhaps the first time she heard a voice, that it could have been someone talking over the wind in a cell phone?  She answered, “I guess so.”  This seemed to be her patented answer to any defense question that questioned her recollection.  She was a bit resistant to the defense.  She testified she couldn’t “pinpoint” the voices, but they seemed closer than the “argument” that happened later.  She admitted that everything happened so quickly that night and she was nervous and traumatized by the whole thing.  At one point during the 911 call, she stated that she couldn’t live in the neighborhood anymore because she was so scared.  She did testify that the person on top had “darker clothes”.

She also recollects being on the 911 call when the gunshot went off.  She also testified that she didn’t remember George Zimmerman being hurt and that she thought when he grabbed his head he was thinking, “oh my gosh, what did I do?”  She stated that she has never seen any photos of Zimmerman’s injuries on the news.  She stated that after everything was over that she saw Zimmerman put his hands up in the air when police arrived and state, “I shot him.”  He never tried to run or resist and he was handcuffed.  Even though she testified that she was looking at the two figures when the gunshot went off, she never saw a “muzzle blast” and in fact she said, “I don’t even know what that is.”  The defense questioned her about something they mentioned in opening statements.  Ms. Surdyka testified that Trayvon Martin was face down in the grass and George Zimmerman was on top of him and she saw no position change when the shots were fired.

“Can you reconcile that with where Trayvon Martin was shot (in the chest)?”

“That’s what I saw and that’s the only thing I can tell you.”

Additionally, she was resistant when the defense tried to question her about her basis for her opinion that it was Trayvon Martin yelling for help.  In the 911 call, she had mentioned being a teacher previously.  Don West asked her, if when she was a teacher, she had experiences with teenagers having different pitches and tones due to puberty and that some 17-year-old males can have mature voices.  She stated, “I guess so.”

When asked if she ever heard Martin’s voice before, she answered that she heard it when she “opened the window.”  (There was an odd inconsistency with her 911 call about the window being open.  She told the dispatcher that she could open the window if he wanted her to, but she said on the stand that she had already opened the window part way through the incident.)  She admitted, however, that she has never heard Zimmerman’s or Martin’s voices before or after that.  Also, she stated on the 911 call that she wanted to be anonymous, but immediately talked to police that night.  She also admitted to going on national television and being interviewed by CNN’s Ashleigh Banfield.  She stated that she was disguised and her voice distorted.  She was asked a series of questions about being disgruntled toward the Sanford Department for various occurrences involving the case, including Detective Serino refusing to go up to her bedroom and view her vantage point.  She denied being upset by them.  She stated the reason that she went on TV, wasn’t just that she though Trayvon Martin was the one yelling, but also because she wanted people to hear what she saw.  “People can make their own judgment.”

The second witness of the day was Jeannee Mamalo, she was also a neighbor and eye/ear-witness.  She is also the wife of the man that brought the Walmart bag to the officer giving Trayvon Martin CPR.  She stated she was in her living room, in the downstairs, watching television with her family.  The back of her house faces the courtyard where the incident occurred.  She heard a “howling” sound that was far to the right of her house and she looked out the sliding glass door, but didn’t see anything.  She then, later, heard “help” being yelled and she looked out again, but didn’t see anything.  The sounds were getting closer.  A third time, she heard a “struggle” and looked out.  This time she also saw her neighbor looking directly at the two figures and she stated he was extremely close.  She could see two people on the ground in the grassy area.  Her husband told her to mind her own business.  Later, she heard a shot and looked out again.  When she saw the two figures, she could see the one “hitting down” on the other one.  It was too dark to see anything else.  The issue with this witness is media influence.  She stated that she didn’t notice size at the time, but later when she saw media reports, she sized the two up.  The big issue with this is, of course the obvious, the media didn’t give accurate reports.  The defense tried to object to improper foundation because she was basing her opinion on what the media told her, but Judge Nelson overruled and allowed her to answer.  It is quite disturbing that a witness is allowed to testify to something they based upon a media report.  On direct, she told the jury that it was Zimmerman on top based upon what she compared in the media.

On cross, she identified the pictures she used of Trayvon Martin to compare to George Zimmerman, whom she saw from the side that night talking to her husband.  She wanted to look at a more recent picture; Judge Nelson did not allow her to do that.  I thought that was a terrible ruling.  She stated that she knew that the bigger person was on top, but after a series of questions on the ages of the photos she identified as being the ones she used.  She stated she saw the “hoodie picture”.  The jury was shown both the real photo and the media’s airbrushed photo.  She also identified the “football photos”.  She admitted that the pictures looked like he was younger, 11 or 12.  She knew that Trayvon Martin was 17 that night.  She stated that she doesn’t know how tall or how much either of them weighs.  After the shooting, she told her husband “someone got shot” and he went outside.  She never went outside or talked to police that night.  She had no idea who was screaming that night.

In her depositions and police statements, she never mentioned that the person on top was larger, but she stated that she didn’t do so because no one asked her specifically.  I thought she was a disaster for the prosecution.  So far, she is the only witness who can testify to seeing George Zimmerman on top of Trayvon Martin attacking him, but her opinion is based upon media information.  She admitted that she wasn’t sure anymore.  Essentially, she stated she was unsure who was where during the incident.

The next witness was Ramona Rumph, the 911 administrator, who was recalled.  She presented the previous non-emergency calls made by George Zimmerman.  I didn’t see anything damning and actually thought that they helped the defense.

PREVIOUS NON-EMERGENCY CALLS

Call 1:  August 3, 2011 – George Zimmerman called at 6:35 p.m.  He was calm and explained to the operator that there was a recent burglary, which his wife was a witness to.  She has been in contact with a detective working the case and that he saw a suspicious person that matched the description near the back entrance of the complex.

Call 2:  August 6, 2011 – Again, George Zimmerman called at 10:20 p.m.  He was calm and he reported about the burglary again and stated that he saw two teens near the back entrance and that they typically run away so the officer should be cognizant of that.  He also stated that the people in the neighbor think they usually run to the next neighborhood over.  There was a police contact made with this report.

Call 3:  September 23, 2011 – George Zimmerman called at 11:08 p.m.  He stated that the neighborhood had just had the neighborhood watch presentation and that there was a garage door open.  He said that the house was poorly lit, but he thinks he can make it out.  He tells them the address.  At the end of the call, he tells the operator “thank you” and to have a great day.

Call 4:  October 1, 2011 – George Zimmerman called at 12:53 a.m.  He reported two loiterers at the back entrance.  They were hanging out at the gate.  He stated that they were “African American” and in their late 20s to early 30s.  There was also police contact made in this case.  At the end of this call, he also thanked the operator and told them to “have a great night”.

Call 5:  February 2, 2012 – George Zimmerman called at 8:29 p.m.  He reported that there was a man walking up to a neighbor’s house looking around and walking away, several times.  He also stated that he had seen the guy before going through people’s garbage on trash day.

He stated in a couple of the calls that he didn’t want to approach anyone or call attention to himself.  On cross-examination, it was revealed that the last call, call 5, was about the man that subsequently later got arrested for burglarizing the neighborhood.  The prosecution stated that they had wanted the calls in to prove that George Zimmerman was angry and sick of the people always getting away and that he didn’t have to go look at the address because he knew all the addresses.  I didn’t see anything like that in the previous calls.

The last witness of the day was Rachel Jeantel, Trayvon Martin’s friend.  Now, the media obviously was misleading, if you want to be nice, inaccurate about Trayvon Martin’s age, but they also didn’t do much to clear up the “girlfriend rumor”.  She testified that she is not Trayvon Martin’s girlfriend, just his friend, but that he did have a girlfriend.  She is, literally, the worst witness as far as attitude I have ever seen.  She stated that Trayvon Martin went to the store for his future stepbrother.  It was about to rain when he left around 6:00 p.m.  When he was returning, he stated that a man was watching him.  The man kept watching him and Martin was complaining to her about it.  She asked him what he looked like and Martin responded that he was “a creepy, a**, cracker”.  She joked with him that he was a rapist.  He told her that he was going to try to lose him because the rain calmed down.  He left the “mailing area”.  She stated that Trayvon Martin said that the man was following him.  But, they started talking about the All-Star Basketball game.

Later, Trayvon Martin said that he was following him again.  She stated she told Martin to run and he refused because he was almost to his father’s fiancée’s house.  However, she also said that after that he said that he would run “from the back” and she could hear wind and then the phone cut out.  She called him back and he answered.  He said that he lost him.  She asked where he was at and he said near his father’s fiancé’s house.  A couple seconds later, she said that Trayvon said, “Oh s***” that the man was behind him again.  She said she told him that he “better run”.  She could hear Trayvon Martin say, “Why are you following me for?” and the “hard breathing man” answered “what you doing around here?”  She then heard a bump and a “wet grass sound” and Martin say, “get off,” and then the phone cut off.  She called back, but no one answered.  So she assumed it was just a fight and that someone would help him, like his father.  Two days later, her friend sent her an article that said he was dead.

On cross-examination, she explained that she lied about her age because she wanted to maintain privacy.  She said she was 16, but she is in fact, 19.  She also admitted to lying to Sybrina Fulton about being in the hospital as to why she couldn’t go to the funeral.  She said the real reason was because she didn’t want to see the body and she didn’t like to see people cry.  She also stated she was guilt-ridden by being the last person to talk to Martin.  The defense questioned her on the missing 30 minutes of Trayvon Martin’s timeline, but she provided no answers.  He was in 7/11 at 6:23 p.m. and George Zimmerman didn’t call non-emergency until 7:09 p.m.  She testified that Martin took a shortcut through the mailing area because it was raining.  She said she never contacted police because on TV, police contact you.

In mid-March, Tracy Martin, Trayvon Martin’s father, called her and requested she talk to his attorney Benjamin Crump.  The next day, Sybrina Fulton texted her and asked her to talk to Benjamin Crump.  She stated she didn’t want to talk to him because she didn’t know him.  Ms. Fulton thought she was a minor, so she lied and said she was.  Ms. Fulton thought she had to get her mother’s permission so she asked to talk to her mother.  Ms. Jeantel testified that she called her mother first and told her not to give her permission.  Her mother gave her permission anyway.  She testified her “plan A” was to send Trayvon Martin’s mother a letter through a friend, she never wanted to meet her.  She admitted that she never went into detail with Martin’s family or their attorney and that she “cleaned” it up.  She only told them that he was followed and that he got into a fight.  She did admit to feeling bad and wanting to help the family.

She also stated that she had no idea the family was going to broadcast her recorded statement and she didn’t give consent for that.  She was texted by her brother about her statement being broadcast at a press conference about the case.  She said that people she knew told her that they said she was Martin’s 16-year-old girlfriend, which wasn’t true.  She assumed that they probably thought that because of the volume and types of texts and calls they gave back and forth.  The defense questioned her about why she said in the Crump interview that the man (Zimmerman) responded to Trayvon Martin’s question (“Why you following me for?”), “What are you talking about?”  She stated that she didn’t want to give Crump the interview and didn’t really pay attention.  Also, in a deposition, she stated that she couldn’t be sure it was Trayvon screaming in the background, but in court she testified that it was.

Her testimony will resume at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow.  I’m curious to see what the jury will do with her testimony.  Her history of lying in relation to the case might be an issue and of course, her attitude is a serious problem.  The defense indicated that they want to play the Crump interview for the jury, as well.

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Comments
  1. Lon Spector says:

    George Zimmerman is the Leo Frank of our time! Leo Frank was a Jewish pencil manufacturer in Atlanta Georga in 1901. One day, a 12 year-old white girl was found dead-raped and murdered in the basement of the factory.
    The police who investigated didn’t like his “attitude” so he quickly became the prime suspect. The actual murderer was an African-American employee who was very educated named Jim Conley. Conley saw his opportunity and perjured himself against Frank. It was the first time in the long history of the south that a black man’s testimony was taken over a whiteman’s. The newspapers had a field day, very much like H.L.N. of today. “We know that the Jew’s lust for the white woman is every bit as intense as the______’s”
    Frank was sentenced to life in prison but that wasn’t enough for the K.K.K. they snatched him from prison and lynched him. His body was placed on display and viewed by thousands to assure the public that he hadn’t gotten away. The body was then shipped up north for burial in Brooklyn. The story is recounted in a book titled “The Dead Shall Raise” it was written a few years ago, I forgot by whom.
    So now we’ve got Leo Frank II. A person who many thought was Jewish when they first heard
    his name (I bet they were dissapointed when they found out otherwise) is set to be lynched goaded on by an hysterical media. The evidence against him is flimsy to non-exsistent like it was against Frank.
    They don’t like Zimmerman’s attitude either. “That crazed racist made five prior calls to the
    police “profiling” young black men.” No doubt when the media gets it’s way and Zimmerman is sent to his death they will consider it a job well done.

    Like

  2. JanCorey says:

    Proprietorial-Misconduct, at least according to the judge in this case.

    Like

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