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Zimmerman Trial, Day 7: Murder or Self-Defense?

07/03/2013 02:39 EDT | Updated 09/02/2013 05:12 EDT
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SANFORD, FL - JULY 03: George Zimmerman, left, and Defense attorney Mark O'Mara chat during an early morning recess in Zimmerman's trial in Seminole circuit court, July 3, 2013 in Sanford, Florida. Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder for the February 2012 shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. (Photo by Jacob Langston-Pool/Getty Images)

Here are six significant take-aways from the seventh day of the trial:

1) The Prosecution's Hollow Victory Over an Objection

The day started with Judge Debra Nelson instructing the jurors to disregard the earlier question and answer posed in cross-examination to the lead investigator, Chris Serino, where he had offered a favourable opinion about George Zimmerman's credibility in his police statements. However, Serino was permitted to testify that there weren't any significant inconsistencies in any of Zimmerman's statements to the police and that ''nothing major'' changed in his various narratives of the shooting incident with Trayvon Martin. He also stated that there was no tangible evidence to contradict Zimmerman's story that Martin confronted him as he was walking back to his car. The jury received strong signals from the lead investigator that he believed that George Zimmerman was credible. It will be noteworthy to the jurors that Zimmerman was never charged with a crime while he was in police custody.

2) The Lack of Trace Evidence on the Gun or on Trayvon Martin's Hands

A latent print examiner, Kristen Bentson, testified that she examined the latent print on Zimmerman's firearm and was unable to identify the source of the print. This was a helpful finding for the defence as Zimmerman's best friend, Mark Osterman, testified that he believed that Zimmerman told him that during the struggle with Trayvon Martin, Martin touched his gun. Chris Serino offered a plausible account why none of Zimmerman's blood was found on Trayvon Martin's hands. He testified that the blood may have been going back down Zimmerman's nose and throat and it may have dripped down after he stood up.

3) Observations of George Zimmerman's Trauma

Mark Osterman's career was in law enforcement and he had recommended to George Zimmerman to obtain a gun because the ''police aren't always there.'' He testified that after the incident Zimmerman had a blank stare and appeared not to be processing what was going on. ''He had a stunned look on his face, wide-eyed, just kind of a little bit detached perhaps from maybe not realizing he had just gone through a traumatic event.'' The reference to a traumatic event links up with Chris Serino's previous evidence that trauma may be a factor in the presentation of inconsistent versions. It will be used by the defence to challenge the prosecution theory that Zimmerman's inconsistencies were a web of lies.

4) Sean Hannity's Interview with George Zimmerman

The prosecution introduced an interview between Sean Hannity of Fox News and Zimmerman conducted on July 18, 2012. There were a couple of inconsistencies in Zimmerman's account including an assertion that Trayvon Martin may have punched him a dozen times. An exaggerated account, however, doesn't deflect from a claim of self defense. The interview also provided the jury with a more natural and human side of George Zimmerman than any of the police interviews. His lawyer, Mark O'Mara, was seated beside him. Zimmerman stated that he had no regrets from the night of the shooting and he felt that the media had rushed to judgment about what happened the night of the shooting.

5) The Medical Examiner's Conclusion About Zimmerman's Injuries

Dr. Valerie Row, a medical examiner who reviewed the photographs and records of the injuries to George Zimmerman testified that his injuries were insignificant and that they were consistent with "one strike, two injuries at one time.'' In cross-examination she conceded that Zimmerman could have been hit in the face more than one time and that the injuries to the back of his head were consistent with one blow to concrete and possibly more blows to concrete. Dr. Row's evidence didn't advance the prosecution's case.

6) Zimmerman's Knowledge of Law Enforcement

The defence objected to the introduction of evidence that Zimmerman had taken course work pursuing a criminal justice degree. According to the prosecution, it is relevant as it may have provided Zimmerman with the knowledge to inform law enforcement when they arrived at the scene of the shooting. The judge will hear argument on the objection on Wednesday morning.