Witness testifies Trayvon Martin was on top of George Zimmerman in fight
Updated On: Jun 29 2013 12:04:52 AM EDT
The state's only eyewitness to the scuffle that preceded the shooting of Trayvon Martin wound up supporting George Zimmerman's claim he was pinned to the ground, straddled by a man in a position to harm him.
John Good confirmed Martin was atop Zimmerman during the crucial seconds prior to the gunshot. Good was a neighbor in the complex who saw some of the altercation and ran out during the struggle. Previously known as Witness 6, Good says he saw the fight before the gunshot with Martin was on top of Zimmerman. Other witnesses said they saw Zimmerman on top of Martin after the gunshot.
Good said he first heard initial "faint" noises before they seemed to get closer and closer. Good previously said he thought Martin was on top hitting Zimmerman with MMA-style punches but later changed his statement.
"It looked like a tussle," Good told prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda describing the fight. Good said he then yelled out "what's going on?" and told them to stop. He said he realized there were two people and saw dark clothing on top and light or red color on bottom.
Good said he never saw anyone being attacked that way during the fight between Zimmerman and Martin. Good said one person was straddling the other person, and the lighter-skinned person on the bottom was face-up.
Good then said it "looked like" Martin was on top, as if he were raining down blows on Zimmerman, but never saw one land. De la Rionda made sounds simulating punches or slamming and Good said he didn't hear those sounds, but heard someone saying "help." He then told the people he was calling the police.
When asked who was saying "help," Good said he couldn't be 100 percent sure that it was the person on the bottom.
De la Rionda then played Good's 911 call after the shot was fired. Records show Good called 911, connecting at 19:17:15, about 20 seconds after the gunshot. Good told de la Rionda that he heard the gunshot while he was dialing 911.
"I'm pretty sure the guy's dead out there. Holy s***!" Good said on the call.
Good said describing the fight as MMA-style first came to his mind because of what he had seen on TV. The straddling position is a common position you would see in mixed martial arts combat, Good said, adding that he didn't see the person on top slamming the person on the bottom's head on the concrete sidewalk, as Zimmerman claims Martin did.
During cross-examination, defense attorney and former Local 6 legal analyst Mark O'Mara had Good identify Martin and Zimmerman as the people on the top and bottom, respectively.
"The person who you now know to be Trayvon Martin was on top correct?" O'Mara asked. "Correct," Good answered.
"And he was the one reigning blows down on the person on the bottom, George Zimmerman?" O'Mara asked.
"Right. That's what it looked like," Good said.
Good had only described the color of the clothing during the state's questioning.
O'Mara showed Good a picture of Zimmerman's jacket to identify if it was Zimmerman on the bottom. Good said he couldn't say for certain that's what he saw, but says it was "definitely a redder color." Good was then shown the 7-Eleven picture of Mrtin confirming the outerwear was the same color as what was worn by the person on top in the scuffle.
O'Mara also questioned Good about the timing of when he first heard the altercation. O'Mara asked Good where the noises of the struggle first originated, but Good refused to speculate.
"It was only a few seconds before that gun shot that you were outside looking at the two individuals in the ground and pound position?" O'Mara asked. "Correct," Good replied.
O'Mara then demonstrated how the straddle position would look in the middle of the courtroom and had Good confirm the person on top looked like that. He then had Good describe the movements by the person on top.
"Arm movements were going downward," Good said. "Couldn't 100 percent say they were strikes."
O'Mara then asked what "ground and pound"-- what Good described the position as-- means. Good said it meant the person on top was the "dominant" position, but he didn't see punches being thrown.
Good then said it "looked like" Martin was on top, agreeing that he was raining down blows on Zimmerman. As O'Mara asked about who Good thought was screaming, Good said "rationally thinking, I would think" the man on the bottom was screaming for help. Good's account appears to be consistent with Zimmerman's account of what happened during the altercation.
O'Mara played the 911 call with the screams after Good previously said the screams on the recording sounded different than what he had heard. O'Mara appears to be trying to show audio recording of the scream isn't an accurate representation of sound.
Good said he couldn't verify the screams on the 911 call match up with the exact same screams he heard. He later told O'Mara that he thought the screams were Zimmerman but that was "his opinion."
On state redirect, de la Rionda asked Good about "ground and pound" and about punches. Good said that he couldn't see punches, only "downward movement."
De la Rionda asked if Good was lying during statements to get him to concede any misstatements or inconsistencies weren't intentional, to which Good said he wasn't.
O'Mara then wanted the jury to hear Good's written statements and the differences but the judge would not allow the statement to be read aloud. Good said he added things but didn't change things in his statements.
O'Mara asked specifically about statements around the punches and quoted Good's statements to Sanford Police Department, "Zimmerman yelled out help." Trayvon was just throwing down blows MMA-style, Good said according to the statements.
After the lunch break the state called the husband of a previous witness that testified earlier this week. John Manalo was at his Retreat at Twin Lakes home with his wife when they heard what sounded like grunts outside.
Manalo said he told his wife to stay away from the window. He said he heard a gunshot and exited through the garage and grabbed a flashlight. Manalo said he went outside after the gunshot, he said he saw Zimmerman walking around with blood streaming down his nostrils onto his lips. He said he was the first person to encounter Zimmerman after the shooting.
Manalo told de la Rionda he took pictures of Zimmerman's face with his cellphone, using his flashlight as lighting aid. Manalo then said the hands of Martin were under his body. Zimmerman told police he stretched out Martin's arms. Manalo said he took a cellphone picture showing Martin's hands tucked under his torso and said no one moved the body.
Manalo said he asked Zimmerman what kind of caliber the gun was that he used. As Zimmerman was handcuffed, he told Manalo to call his wife, Shellie Zimmerman.
When de la Rionda asked what Zimmerman told Manalo to tell Shellie Zimmerman, Manalo said Zimmerman told him "just tell her I shot someone," impatiently. Manalo said he replied, 'OK' and then turned back to the phone and said "he just shot someone."
Manalo described Zimmerman as "coherent ... responding to my questions just like any other person."
In cross-examination, defense attorney Don West had Manalo agree that Zimmerman was "staggering" and "looked like he just got his butt beat." Manalo said Zimmerman told him "I was defending myself so I shot him."
Manalo also said Zimmerman was compliant with authorities.
The state then called Sanford police officer Ricardo Ayala to testify. Prosecutor John Guy questioned Ayala about what he saw as he responded to the shooting.
Ayala said he did chest compressions on Martin upon arriving at the scene. He said they found the gunshot wound right under the button Martin was wearing on his sweatshirt.
After quick questioning, the state called Stacy Livingston of the Sanford Fire Department, who discussed what the department did when they arrived to the scene.
In cross-examination, O'Mara asked Livingston to weigh in on Zimmerman's injuries and showed her a picture of Zimmerman's bloody face and nose. When asked if Zimmerman's injuries were consistent with a fist strike to the nose, Livingston said, "it's possible."
Another Sanford police officer then testified for the state as the state's 20th witness. Tim Smith, who was the first officer on the scene was questioned by Guy about what he saw when he responded to the "suspicious person" call.
Guy then put up an aerial view picture of the complex and asked Smith where he walked when he arrived on scene and where Martin and Zimmerman were. Smith said Martin was face down and that he couldn't see his hands.
Smith said he handcuffed Zimmerman behind his back and took Zimmerman's gun away.
Testimony in the case entered its fifth day Friday with jurors having already been exposed to some of the state's biggest pieces of evidence, including the 911 call featuring cries for help prosecutors believe came from Martin, as well as the sound of the gunshot moments later which killed him.
Smith said that Zimmerman said he was light-headed and that the back of his jacket was covered in grass and wet. The state then showed surveillance video from Sanford Police Department of Smith leading Zimmerman out of the patrol car.
O'Mara cross-examined Smith asking how Zimmerman's attitude was the night of the shooting.
"Did Mr. Zimmerman seem angry? Did he seem spiteful?" O'Mara asked. "No sir," Smith said. O'Mara then quoted the second-degree murder charge by asking if Zimmerman showed "ill-will, hatred or spite," to which Smith said Zimmerman didn't.
The state's 21st witness was Lindzee Folgate, a physician assistant at Altamonte Family Practice--where Zimmerman went to get evaluated the day after the shooting. Records show she measured 2-centimeter lacerations and 0.5 centimeters in length. His height was 5 feet 7 inches and 204 pounds, records show.
The defense objected to portions of the medical records the state was introducing with Folgate's testimony, questioning the relevance of some of the records.
After a sidebar, the state showed Folgate a medical record from Aug. 19, 2011 when Zimmerman sought treatment after he "started to exercise intensely with MMA." Another record from Sept. 23, 2011 states Zimmerman was involved in MMA three days per week.
The medical record from Feb. 27, 2012-the day after the shooting- says Zimmerman was "assaulted and punched in the nose." The record states Zimmerman said "EMT said his nose was broken" but an EMT has not yet testified that Zimmerman's nose was broken. Zimmerman told Folgate he needed a doctor's note for work.
According to the record, Folgate determined Zimmerman's nausea issue was caused by psychological issue from previous night. Zimmerman reportede no headache, vision change, dizziness, numbness, tingling, staggering on the morning after the shooting. He reported having nose pain, the report states, and reported have head trauma but no severe symptoms.
Folgate said she determined no stitches were necessary for Zimmerman's cuts and noted that he did have "black eyes" beneath both eyes. His nose was swollen and bruised and Folgate said Zimmerman's noise was "likely broken," black eyes, bruising, but needed an X-ray to be sure.
During cross-examination, O'Mara asked if Zimmerman's head injuries could have been caused by hitting concrete. Folgate said the head injuries "could be" consistent with being hit on the concrete and also that his injuries could be "consistent" with being punched in the nose and thrown to the ground.
Folgate also mentioned Zimmerman was already seeing a psychologist before the shooting but didn't elaborate.
The state first called Greg McKinney, an IT employee for United Security Alliance, as its first witness of Friday's court proceedings.
Prosecutor Richard Mantei questioned him about video surveillance cameras in the Retreat at Twin Lakes subdivision where Martin was shot and killed by Zimmerman in Feb. 2012.
McKinney showed video from the surveillance cameras, saying that two of the nine the complex weren't working. He said the video is 18 minutes off, meaning you would have to add 18 minutes to the time seen on the tape for the accurate timing.
Zimmerman was in court on Friday wearing a blue sport coat and dress shirt and tie. He has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, claiming self-defense.
Friday's testimony comes after nearly 8 hours of testimony consisting of testy exchanges between Zimmerman's defense attorney and the young woman who was on the phone with Martin shortly before he was fatally shot.
The defense insinuated that 19-year-old Rachel Jeantel wasn't believable because of inconsistencies in her story.
But Jeantel held firm in her testimony about what she heard over the phone while talking with Martin the night the teen was shot and killed by Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer.
In her testimony, Jeantel contended that it was Zimmerman, 29, who confronted the 17-year-old Martin.
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