A witness in the George Zimmerman trial testified today about the deadly confrontation in Sanford more than a year ago, describing how she heard a “boy’s voice” yelling for help the night Trayvon Martin was shot dead.
While the Zimmerman trial has focused so far on defense claims that the defendant was forced to shoot the teen after Martin allegedly caused him to fear for his life, the testimony of resident Jane Surdyka appears to contradict that assertion.
Surdyka, who later cried as her 911 call the night of the shooting was played in the courtroom, says she believes the pleas for help came from Martin and not Zimmerman as the boy allegedly begged for his life, testifying:
I truly believe the second yell for help was a yelp … It was excruciating. I really felt it was a boy’s voice.
Another witness, Jeannee Manalo, recalls seeing the pair struggle before Martin was fatally shot.
The Orlando Sentinel reports that Manalo was initially unsure who was who, but says that she now believes Zimmerman was pummeling the teen before the shot that killed Martin was fired:
“Manalo said she heard ‘howling’ sounds while in her living room with her family. She later heard cries for help and a struggle outside. She looked out her sliding door and saw two people on the ground, one on top, hitting the other … The witness said she initially didn’t have an opinion on who was on top, but after watching news coverage, believes it was Zimmerman, who she described as the bigger of the two.”
In what has been viewed as another blow to the defense in the Zimmerman trial, the judge ruled today that prior 911 calls made by Zimmerman about what he described as a presence of suspicious black males in the neighborhood can be admitted as evidence, and a state prosecutor argued the recordings demonstrate the defendant’s “ill will,” as well as “the context in which the defendant sought out his encounter with Trayvon Martin.”