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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Self-Defense or Murder?: The George Zimmerman Trial
Aired June 28, 2013 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening and welcome to tonight's A.C. 360 special report, "Self-Defense or Murder?: The George Zimmerman trial."
Tonight, two key witnesses tell what happened during and immediately after Trayvon Martin's deadly encounter with George Zimmerman. One neighbor in the apartment complex who saw their struggle up close provided testimony that could help jurors answer that crucial question. Was Zimmerman or Martin the aggressor?
Also tonight, a 360 exclusive. I will speak with a woman you probably never heard from, Trayvon Martin's stepmother. She says she lost the child she raised, the young man she calls not just a stepson, but a son.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm the one that took him to the football games. I'm the one that was there when he was sick.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: We will hear more from her shortly.
First, Martin Savidge on another big day in court.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What Jonathan Good saw the night Trayvon Martin died goes to the heart of the Zimmerman case.
MARK O'MARA, ATTORNEY FOR GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: That night that you saw, the person who you now know to be Trayvon Martin was on top, correct?
JOHN GOOD, WITNESS: Correct.
O'MARA: And he was the one who was raining blows down on the person on the bottom, George Zimmerman, right?
GOOD: That's what it looked like.
SAVIDGE: Good lives in the subdivision where the shooting took place. He was watching from his patio about 15 to 20 feet away. Zimmerman that night was wearing a red and black jacket, Martin a dark-hooded sweatshirt.
O'MARA: The color of clothing on top what did you see?
GOOD: It was dark.
O'MARA: OK. How about the color of clothing at the bottom?
GOOD: I believe it was a light white or red color.
SAVIDGE: But that's not all Good says he saw. He witnessed physical blows being thrown and then a style, mixed martial arts.
O'MARA: What you saw was the person on top in MMA-style straddle position, correct?
JOHN GOOD, WITNESS: Correct.
O'MARA: That was further described, was it not, as being ground and pound?
SAVIDGE: Good also testified about one more key question, that voice screaming for help in the darkness he believes belonged to Zimmerman.
O'MARA: That voice screaming for help, however many times that you heard it, it was just one person's voice?
GOOD: When I heard it outside, I believe it was just one person's voice, yes.
O'MARA: And you now believe that was George Zimmerman's voice, correct?
GOOD: I never said that.
GOOD: I said it could have been his, but I was not 100 percent sure.
O'MARA: I'm not asking for 100 percent certainty. I'm asking you to use your common sense and to tell us if you think that that was George Zimmerman's voice screaming for help, the person on the bottom?
GOOD: That's just my opinion.
SAVIDGE: The next person to take the stand was another neighbor, Jonathan Manalo, who was the first person to talk to Zimmerman seconds after the shooting.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were you the first person after the shot that came into contact with anybody out there, the defendant and the victim on the ground?
JONATHAN MANALO, WITNESS: Yes.
SAVIDGE: The prosecution seemed to be focused on Zimmerman's state of mind, zeroing in on a phone call Manalo made that night. A handcuffed Zimmerman had Manalo to call his wife for him.
MANALO: I had a connection with her right away and I said, your husband is involved in a shooting. He's been handcuffed and is going to be held for questioning at the Sanford Police Department.
And around that time, he kind of cut me off, and he says, just tell her I shot someone.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you respond to that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did you say?
MANALO: OK, well, he just shot someone.
SAVIDGE: Manalo also testified that Zimmerman had the look of a man who had just been beaten up and even snapped this picture of Zimmerman's bloody head.
On cross-examination, Manalo seemed to encapsulate Zimmerman's entire defense, quoting what Zimmerman told him moments after the fatal shot and with the body of the teenager lying sprawled nearby.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This guy was beating me up and I shot him.
MANALO: And I had to defend myself and I shot him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sorry?
MANALO: I was defending myself and I shot him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So this guy was beating me up, I was defending myself and I shot him is what he told you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Without hesitation?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And from what you could tell at the moment, it seemed completely true?
SAVIDGE: Testimony later from a police officer who was one of the first-responders on the scene seemed to align with Zimmerman's claims.
JOHN GUY, FLORIDA DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Was his jacket pushed up in any way? TIM SMITH, SANFORD POLICE DEPARTMENT: I don't believe so.
GUY: Did you see any tears in his jacket?
SMITH: No, sir.
GUY: What, if anything, did you notice about the condition of his jacket?
The back of it was better than the front of it, and it was also covered in grass.
COOPER: Martin, the last witness of the day was a physician's assistant who treated George Zimmerman's injuries the day after the shooting. And she testified that Zimmerman was familiar with mixed martial arts. What was that all about?
SAVIDGE: Lindzee Folgate was that person, and, yes, very interesting actually because this had been a day that really looked like it was going in the defense's directional. And then all of a sudden this comes up. And why does a physician's assistant start talking about mixed martial arts?
Actually, it's George Zimmerman, and apparently it was part of his medical records. And you can bet the prosecution keyed in on that. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did you note take there in terms of social history exercises to the defendant George Zimmerman?
LINDZEE FOLGATE, WITNESS: That he was involved in mixed martial arts three days per week.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: The reason that is so crucial and why the prosecution fixed on that is because earlier in the day you heard testimony from someone who said, hey, I saw what appeared to be a man beating down on somebody else in a mixed martial arts style and that's the way the jury was left to go on their weekend. Interesting way to finish.
COOPER: All right, Martin, thanks very much.
Let's dig deeper now with our own legal team. Former federal Sunny Hostin joins us. Former Los Angeles deputy DA Marcia Clark, her latest Rachel Knight legal thriller is titled "Killer Ambition." And on the defense side tonight, we have criminal defense attorneys Danny Cevallos and Mark Geragos, co-author of "Mistrial: An Inside Look at How the Criminal Justice System Works, and Sometimes Doesn't."
So, Mark, the key eyewitness today, Jonathan Good, was called by the prosecution, but his testimony really seemed critical for Zimmerman's defense. What impact do you think he had on the jury?
MARK GERAGOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I'm astonished that they would have put him in there. Maybe they figured -- the prosecution figured don't let the defense call him, and don't play hide the ball, so put him out there first to try to deflect from having the defense have some powerful witness. I don't understand how this witness was anything but somebody who was positive for the defense.
COOPER: Sunny, do you agree with that? He seems to be the star really for the defense, but though as we said he was put on by the prosecution.
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, no, I do agree with that.
As a prosecutor, you can't hide from the facts of your case and you certainly can't let the jury believe that you're hiding the facts of your case. So you put that type of witness on and you try to frame the narrative. But we all knew going into this, if you looked at the discovery, this is what the testimony was going to be coming from John Good.
And I imagine and suspect that they sort of bookended his testimony. They buried him in the middle and they have many more witnesses to come forward and I suppose put this all into context and put all the pieces of the puzzle together. But there's no question about it, he was a great witness for the defense.
COOPER: Marcia, how significant then that you have this other witness who comes forward, the physician's assistant who says that on Zimmerman's medical history, it says he was involved in mixed martial arts three times a week?
MARCIA CLARK, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Well, I guess I would assume he's not very good at it, because Trayvon Martin was depicted by John Good as being on top. So you could take the classes. It doesn't mean you're great.
But let me point something out to you legally speaking, Anderson. You can believe all of the witnesses testified so far, including Rachel Jeantel, and still find Zimmerman not guilty. And here's why. Based on what Jeantel testified to, you would have to believe that Zimmerman had to have been the aggressor. That's fine.
And then -- but then this witness, John Good, shows that at some point Trayvon Martin got the upper hand. If you believe them both and Zimmerman was the initial aggressor and Trayvon Martin responded and became the superior one in terms of getting the jump on Zimmerman -- however, self-defense cannot be claimed by someone who is the initial aggressor in the case, unless he eventually pulls back, tries to stop the hostilities, and then the other person comes at him again.
Then he can use self-defense. In this case, because Zimmerman is characterized by some as being the one crying for help, it could be theorized by the jury, they could believe that he did try to pull back, that he did try to stop, that even though he was the initial aggressor, he tried to stop the hostilities and Trayvon Martin would not stop.
At that point, he would be entitled to use self-defense. So, even if you believe both of these key witnesses for the prosecution, you could find Zimmerman not guilty.
COOPER: Danny, do you agree with that?
DANNY CEVALLOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes. I want to go back to that, the whole mixed martial arts issue. Remember, that word was used by a witness to the fight.
And the idea that you can introduce evidence of someone he told to someone in the medical field years ago about his training in mixed martial arts, that would be like saying if someone had tackled someone introduce evidence that they played high school football. It just doesn't -- the fact that he was involved in training doesn't mean that on that particular night he was winning this tussle and grinding and pounding -- grounding and pounding Trayvon Martin. It just doesn't -- the nexus just isn't there.
On the other hand, as we go through this case, ask yourself, remember all the defense has to go is come forward with any evidence of self-defense and that will warrant a jury instruction. The judge will tell the jury about self-defense and they will have that to consider. At this point, you may be wondering even if George Zimmerman has to testify.
COOPER: Mark, Zimmerman took...
COOPER: Go ahead.
GERAGOS: I was just going to say, it's a very good point, because the witness here today who when he talks about Trayvon Martin being on top and flailing and beating or whatever else, that just about cinches.
And so I now will raise those odds from 50-1 to 100-1. There is no way now that they will ever put George Zimmerman on the stand, because the only reason that you ever would have put Zimmerman on the stand was in order to get a self-defense or get the collective self- defense instruction.
You don't need it anymore because now you have the linchpin to get that.
COOPER: Zimmerman took authorities back to the scene of the incident to recreate his version of the events shortly after the shooting. I want to play that, a key moment from that. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, DEFENDANT: I kept yelling, "Help, help, help."
He put his hand on his nose -- on my nose and the other hand on my mouth. He said, shut the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) up. And I tried squirming again, because all I could think about was -- when he was hitting my head against it, it felt like my head was going to explode. And I thought I was going to lose consciousness.
So I tried to squirm so that I could get -- because he only had a small portion of my head on the concrete, so I tried to squirm off the concrete. And when I did that, somebody here opened the door, and I said, "Help me, help me."
And they said, "I will call 911."
I said, "No, help me. I need help." And I don't know what they did.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, and it was always kind of a mystery who that person was, until, it seems, today. I want to listen to what his neighbor said today in court.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O'MARA: What do you recall saying to the two individuals?
GOOD: At first, it was, what's going on? No one answered.
And then at that point, I believe the person on the bottom, I could finally see, and I heard a help. And then at some point, I said, cut it out. And then I'm calling 911. That's when I thought it was getting really serious.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Now, I want to point out that tape of Zimmerman going back to the scene has not played for the jury. But along with the police officer's testimony today, Mark, that the back of Zimmerman's jacket walls covered in grass and more wet on the back than the front, doesn't that corroborate his story more?
GERAGOS: Yes, it corroborates his story. That's why you had O'Mara yesterday holding up that picture board repeatedly of the cuts and things on the back of the head, because all they're going to argue is that you tie all of this together. He was down on the grass.
As Marcia said, at that point, even all of this stuff that has been talked about, about him, whether or not he was chasing him or doing anything else, it all goes by the boards. I'm telling you, unless there's something dramatic that the prosecution intends to introduce in this case, it's all but over.
COOPER: Well, there was some clarification, Mark.
HOSTIN: Oh, I don't agree with that.
But, Sunny and Marcia, I just want to show for our viewers, there was some clarification...
GERAGOS: I didn't expect Sunny to agree with that.
COOPER: As damaging as Jonathan Good's testimony seemed to be for the prosecution, there was a key point of clarification that both the defense and the prosecution made clear. I want to play that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOOD: It looked like that position was a ground-and-pound-type position, but I couldn't tell 100 percent that there was actually fists hitting faces.
O'MARA: But you did see the guy on the top in the black hoodie pretty much just throwing down blows on the guy kind of MMA-style?
GOOD: Meaning arm motion going down towards the person on the bottom. Correct.
O'MARA: You're not going to tell the jury here today that you saw hit face on flesh if you didn't actually see it, right?
GOOD: I wouldn't tell them that anyways because I didn't see it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The bottom line, you needed to clarify it after that to make sure that everybody understood that you did not hear or see fists, the guy on the top hitting the guy on the bottom, is that correct?
GOOD: Both sides made me clarify.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that correct?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You kid not see blows on the guy on the bottom, correct?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So, Sunny, I guess there's some ambiguity there, yes?
HOSTIN: There's a bit of ambiguity, but the bottom line here is while this was a good witness for the defense, we still have the entire picture.
If George Zimmerman was the initial aggressor and -- or the initial provocateur -- we don't know that. But if he was, then he would have had to have been in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm before he could use deadly force. He also would have had to have used, exhausted all his means to get away from this altercation before using the deadly force.
That is a question that still needs to be answered. And just because John Good testified that perhaps George Zimmerman was on the bottom and perhaps he could have seen blows, that does not by any stretch of the imagination make this a game-over type case. I reject that notion.
COOPER: Danny, go ahead.
CEVALLOS: Very quickly, Mark, and then you can go, but I respectfully disagree and here's why, because that doesn't -- that description doesn't recognize the burden here.
George Zimmerman does not have the burden. The prosecution has the burden, and it's not preponderance of evidence. It's not clear and convincing evidence. It's the highest of all, beyond a reasonable doubt to disprove self-defense.
So when, Sunny, you say there is ambiguity, that inures to the benefit always of George Zimmerman.
COOPER: Mark, you agree with that?
GERAGOS: Can I echo that?
COOPER: Mark, go, and then Marcia.
GERAGOS: What's fascinating to me at least about this case is that you find here that it's the -- that last clip that you showed illustrates it, and we said it, we discussed it before with the type of jurors the defense wants. This has kind of flipped the criminal justice system on its head.
You have the prosecutors basically in this case, and the ex- prosecutors when it comes to Sunny, arguing as if they were a defense lawyer, and you have the defense here arguing as if they're the prosecution, because the prosecution is grasping here to try to find any way possible to make this thing stick, and, as Danny says, the defense doesn't have to prove this case.
HOSTIN: We're in the middle of the case.
GERAGOS: ... middle. They have inverted -- this case is a wonderful inversion of the roles of the prosecution and the defense.
COOPER: I want to let our prosecution team come in, in a second.
Hold on. I want to let Marcia and Sunny in, in a moment, but we have got to take a break. We will continue this discussion on the other side of the break, obviously, a big day in court. We're going to talk forensics also ahead from the blood on George Zimmerman's head to Trayvon Martin's DNA, the picture jurors that got today and could be getting throughout the trial.
And later, a voice we will only hear tonight on 360, Trayvon Martin's stepmother, the woman who raised him since he was 3 years old, she says, what she thinks about the trial and whether her stepson's killer was motivated by race.
COOPER: The physician's assistant who treated George Zimmerman the day after the deadly incident, what she saw and what other professionals saw all, it adds to the forensic picture.
And that picture could be key.
Now, earlier tonight, I spoke with Dr. Bill Manion, a pathologist who is the medical examiner in Burlington County, New Jersey.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL MANION, BURLINGTON COUNTY, NEW JERSEY, MEDICAL EXAMINER: These are lacerations, and lacerations are injuries that are the result of blunt force, for instance, blunt force, the head striking a hard object or blunt force maybe a baton or bat hitting the back of the head. But they're kind of a bursting injury and, yes, they're consistent with having your head hit on the concrete.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Let's bring back our panel, Sunny Hostin, Marcia Clark, Danny Cevallos, and Mark Geragos.
So, Sunny, the physician's assistant who testified today, she kind of walked through the Zimmerman head injury photos. She was walked through it very carefully, each side trying to establish whether or not his injuries were consistent with something who was fearing for his life. What did you make of her testimony?
HOSTIN: You know, I was in the courtroom during her testimony and the jury certainly was paying attention.
They have been paying attention to just about every witness, I have to say. But what I did notice was when she first started going through her testimony and she said that George Zimmerman admitted having trained MMA style three days a week, two of the jurors looked directly at George Zimmerman. And so I thought that that certainly must have struck a nerve with this jury. I think that was one of the most important parts of her testimony.
(CROSSTALK) GERAGOS: Yes, precisely, because they couldn't believe that that guy who weighs over 300 pounds could train doing anything.
HOSTIN: It's possible.
CLARK: I was going to say that.
COOPER: But, Mark, Zimmerman is trying to show that he acted in self-defense. The prosecutor kept pointing to the picturing saying that the injuries don't look like someone who feared like they were in imminent danger of death or grave bodily harm.
HOSTIN: Yes, I think that's where the rubber meets the road.
GERAGOS: Right, but I just didn't -- I didn't -- I think they're objectionable.
I don't know why that was allowed to be asked in that way. I understand it. I understand that's the key issue. But, really, that's the ultimate question. And you shouldn't be asking some witness to speculate on whether or not a picture looks like somebody was in fear.
CLARK: I don't know about that.
GERAGOS: I would have objected.
COOPER: Go ahead, Marcia.
CLARK: But ,Mark, you know what? But, in essence, that's the witness to ask about the severity of the injuries, maybe not quite that way. But you're going to get there anyway. You may as well let them get there, Mark.
And I do think that that's the important thing. Regardless of what Zimmerman -- what the defense is trying to bring out, the jury is going to have to decide whether they think those injuries show that this man was in fear of imminent death. And to the extent that those injuries...
CLARK: ... somewhat superficial, it's not going to work. If they do believe it, Mark, then it will work.
GERAGOS: Marcia, what do you -- you know, kind of what's the other point I was making before where we have kind of inverted the defense and prosecution, do you think those injuries were sufficient to show great bodily injury if you were a prosecutor?
Do you think you could put up those injuries and that you would to prove to a jury? Because I think there are a lot of prosecutors who would argue, if he was the so-called victim, that those injuries met the definition of great bodily injury.
HOSTIN: No way.
COOPER: Marcia, respond.
You can't all talk.
CLARK: Yes, thanks, Anderson.
You know, it goes both ways with that one, Mark. I have had so many cases where the GBI -- sorry, great bodily injury allegation is contested hotly. What he's got there are relatively superficial wounds. They didn't require a whole lot attention. He walked away.
I would see the defense arguing in a case like that that, wow, this is not a great bodily injury case. You know, it's borderline, Mark. I don't see it very clearly on either side. So, and if that's true, and if that's true, true, and if the jury agrees with me...
CLARK: Wait, Mark. Wait, Mark. If the jury agrees with me and says, you know what, I don't think those are such bad injuries, then I'm sorry, self-defense is going to be in big, serious trouble.
COOPER: Let me jump in there, because is it problematic for the defense that Zimmerman waited until the next day to see a doctor? If the injuries were so bad, you would think you needed to see a doctor right away, Mark?
GERAGOS: That's usually the defense lawyer's argument in a case.
Oh, he waited until the following day. It couldn't have been that bad, blah, blah, blah, if Zimmerman was a victim. I'm telling you I have tried many a case where injuries very similar to this, prosecutors have argued to a jury that it was, as Marcia says, GBI, which means great bodily injury, and that's serious. That's serious stuff.
COOPER: Sunny, though, anybody who is being punched in the face, if this is in fact what was happening to George Zimmerman to get those injuries or having his head hit on the sidewalk or whatever it is that actually happened, and we don't know the full details, couldn't they just claim, well, yes, I have never been punched in the face before, and I feared for my life, even if it doesn't look in the aftermath that this was a life-threatening injury?
HOSTIN: That's exactly what George Zimmerman says in his statement to the police. He says he felt that his head was about to explode. He was in danger of imminent death.
I just don't buy it. And perhaps it's because of my experience as a prosecutor. I have got to tell you, it doesn't even rise to the level of a great bodily injury. He's got two tiny one-inch lacerations, and he's got a nose that isn't -- hasn't been determined to be broken, and he's still, after the doctor or the physician assistant told him to go see a specialist, he declined. He never went.
COOPER: Danny, what do you think?
CEVALLOS: People do that. People disregard medical advice.
COOPER: Danny, go ahead.
CEVALLOS: I see this all the time, not only in the civil context, but in the criminal context. People disregard advice of their doctors all the time. It doesn't mean they haven't been suffered serious injury. It doesn't mean they have been really hurt.
A lot of times, people are told you should go to a doctor -- in fact, every doctor tells you, you should go on to another doctor and get something checked out. I would say the vast majority of us...
COOPER: So, you're saying don't read too much into the fact...
CEVALLOS: Don't read too much into that fact.
CEVALLOS: Not all people are perfect.
COOPER: Marcia, you wanted to say something?
CLARK: Well, you know what? They're not, Anderson.
But let me tell you that a jury bringing a very commonsense approach to this is going to say, he walked away, he didn't see a doctor, he didn't get carried away in an ambulance. I don't think that's very serious. And they're going to think that...
CLARK: ... just as they're going to think, although -- let me finish -- though the witness said he was punching in downward motion, I didn't see him connect, the jury is going to say, of course, he punched him. He definitely punched him. They're not going to parse it that finely.
CLARK: But at the end of the day, remember this -- wait, Mark, one sec.
Remember this. This guy, George Zimmerman, if they believe that he was the initial aggressor, one thing he knew as he was being the initial aggressor is that he was armed. He knew he had a gun.
HOSTIN: That's right.
CLARK: Trayvon Martin didn't know that, and the jury is going to remember that, too. So he started a fight that he knew he could win. That's a big different mind-set.
COOPER: Mark, final thought.
GERAGOS: Marcia, if you're -- if Marcia -- if you're the filing deputy as a prosecutor, and police officers bring you a file, and they say -- they show you those pictures of George Zimmerman, are you going to file that case as a felony against whoever did that to him, as an ADW with force likely to produce great bodily injury?
Because I'm going to bet, Marcia -- I have been doing a lot of betting on A.C. 360 this week -- I'm going to bet that you would file that 99 times out of 100 as an ADW with GBI.
CLARK: I would file it, yes.
And I would file it as this, Mark. I would file it as assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury, but I would not file the actual allegation of suffering great bodily injury. There's a difference, because the charge I would file is merely that there was a possibility of it, and not that it was actually inflicted, because I don't think I could prove an actual infliction of great bodily injury on these injuries. Not enough.
COOPER: We got to take a break.
GERAGOS: That's all you need in this case.
COOPER: More to talk about with our panel. Everyone, stay with us.
Next, Trayvon Martin's stepmother, a woman you haven't heard from before, on the child she said she raised and lost and whether his killing was racially motivated.
COOPER: So far this trial has done a good job of establishing for the record what people heard and saw the night George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin. That's what all trials do at this stage of the game. But for the moment, at least, that's all the jurors know. They don't yet know, except perhaps by inference, who George Zimmerman is and who Trayvon Martin was.
But tonight I spoke exclusively with a woman named Alicia Stanley, Trayvon Martin's stepmother, who knew him from early on in his life, since he was 3 years old, raised him as her own. Trayvon lived most of his childhood and teen years with her and his father, Tracy, until they split up shortly before the shooting last year.
COOPER: So I don't think a lot of people know your story and your relationship with Trayvon. You were his stepmother for a long, long time.
ALICIA STANLEY, TRAYVON MARTIN'S STEPMOTHER: Yes, for 14 years.
COOPER Fourteen years.
STANLEY: You could say 14 1/2 years.
COOPER: How much role did you have in actually raising him?
STANLEY: Hands on. I mean, I've been with his father for 14 years. Trayvon was about 3 when I met his father. And ever since then, I mean, Trayvon has been in my life. And I've been nothing more than a mother to him. You know, he was raised with my girls. I have two daughters.
COOPER: So he lived in your house?
STANLEY: Yes, he lived in -- he lived in my house with me and his father and my girls. And Trayvon wanted to live with us. And Trayvon was to our house in my home 85 to 95 -- 90 percent of the time.
COOPER: What kind of person was he? What do you want people to know about him?
STANLEY: I want people to know that Trayvon was a kind person. He was a loving person. He loved children. Babies, you know, before this happened I really believe he would have been working with children, because he adored children. And just let people know that he's not what the media make him out to be. Like he was this thug. He wasn't that.
COOPER: Are you watching the trial?
STANLEY: I'm not watching the trial.
STANLEY: It's hard for me. I mean, to see and hear the things that led to his death, it's hard for me. And I don't care to hear it -- I don't care to hear that. I don't.
COOPER; So have you been involved in the run-up to the trial at all? Are you in contact with the family?
STANLEY: I -- at the beginning, you know, we had our differences and stuff like that. And it came to a point that me and Tracy was communicating, but when...
COOPER: Tracy is Trayvon's father.
STANLEY: Tracy is Trayvon's father. And when the media started coming around, it was like he didn't want to talk to me anymore. And I asked him why, what did I do wrong and stuff like that. He's like, "You've done nothing wrong. I'm just busy" and stuff like that. And I would tell him, "Well, keep me informed, you know, on what's going on with the trial and stuff like that." And somehow, he just -- he just didn't anymore. But at first he was.
And I guess it's something I said to someone, I think it was Channel 10 maybe asked me when the last time I spoke to him and did I know Zimmerman was being let go or something like that. And I responded by saying, "Well, yes, Tracy told me this." And that was it. So I don't know. He hasn't told me why he stopped communicating to me and telling me everything that was going on.
So everything that I was finding out, I was finding out on the TV or through friends. And I would call him and ask him why he's not calling me. He said, "Well, I was busy," stuff like that.
COOPER: Right now for the last couple of days in the court, a friend of Trayvon's has been on the stand, a young woman. One of the things that she said is that in the discussion she was having with Trayvon before he was killed that he talked about George Zimmerman, and the terms he used, cracker, that the defense is trying to make it sound like Trayvon Martin is introducing race into -- into this situation. Is that something you think is fair? STANLEY: No, it's not fair. It's because -- I mean, kids are going to be kids. And we've all been children. We all done said things because other children are saying it or whatever. That was never taught in our home. And I never, ever heard him use those words.
COOPER: Do you have any doubt about what happened?
STANLEY: I have no doubt that he didn't start that fight. He didn't start the fight. What I'm saying is that he did -- it was a fight. There's no doubt it was a fight. And Zimmerman had to put his hands on him to cause that fight. He was defending himself.
So for people to say, well, he tried to kill him and he this, and he that, I don't think anyone would have been standing somewhere in the dark and been approached by someone they don't know, and being pushed around and you're not going to defend yourself. And his friend stated in her statement he approached Trayvon and Trayvon asked him, you know, "Why are you following me?"
COOPER: Do you believe that race was a factor in why George Zimmerman zeroed in on Trayvon?
STANLEY: I would be lying if I said yes. So I'm going to say this, no. I really don't think it was Zimmerman don't like black people, or he picked him out because he was black.
Did he profile him with the hoody and stuff like that as this thug or whatever walking or whatever was in Zimmerman's mind? Yes. But to say that he targeted him because he was black, no. I don't think so.
COOPER: And just to be clear, the complex where Trayvon got killed, that's the complex -- that's not where you were living with Trayvon's father, that's where Trayvon's father had gone with this other woman?
COOPER: Is there anything else you want people to know?
STANLEY: I'm here with you to let people know I exist, and I will not sit back anymore and take the lies that's out there being told. I'm the one that took him to the football games. I'm the one -- that was there when he was sick. I mean, every time he got sick, if he wasn't at our home, we had to -- Tracy picked him up and brought him back to our home to make him better. He wanted -- I want people to know that he wanted to live with me and his father.
COOPER: Are you saying he didn't have much of a relationship with his biological mother?
STANLEY: No, I'm not saying that. I'm not staying that he didn't have a relationship with her. What kind of relationship that they had I don't know. And then with Trayvon, Trayvon didn't speak of his mother a lot, OK? I didn't speak towards his mother in no way, no fashion. Never once, and I want her to know, too, that I never tried to take her place. Never.
COOPER: It's got to be so hard to have raised this child, young man, have him lose his life, and to feel like all of that has been forgotten or ignored.
STANLEY: Yes. It...
COOPER: To be alone with that grief.
STANLEY: Yes, it was devastating to know that a child you raised, helped raise, and in death you mean nothing. But when he was alive, I was his stepmother. But in death, I'm not his stepmother? I don't love him because he's done passed? That's unbelievable. And I couldn't believe that these people was doing this. I mean, in the funeral, I can't sit on the front row to -- at my son's funeral, to -- to see him off home? That hurts me. That's the most painful thing that they have done to me.
COOPER: You weren't allowed to sit in the front row?
STANLEY: No, no. I had to sit anywhere I fit in. To say those things to me to and think it's OK, that wasn't OK.
COOPER: And if George Zimmerman is found not guilty?
STANLEY: If he's not found guilty, it's going to be heartbreaking, because I truly believe that Zimmerman, he killed my son. And I don't think that if Zimmerman wouldn't have got out of the car, I guess you could say people are saying that wasn't no crime because he got out of his car. And that's true enough, it wasn't. But to take out your gun and shoot him dead like that, I mean, it would be -- it would be unbelievable if he get off. But if he do, I can really say in my heart that God will take care of all of that. Just put it in God's hands.
COOPER: Thank you for talking to us.
STANLEY: You're welcome.
COOPER: Just ahead, after testimony's testimony, one question looms larger than just about any other: will George Zimmerman need to take the stand? Does he need to do that? Our panel weighs in next.
COOPER: For the past five days, the prosecution in the George Zimmerman trial has been trying to convince the jury that Zimmerman was the aggressor on the night he killed Trayvon Martin. Their star witness, Rachel Jeantel, is the closest the jury has gotten to hearing Martin's side of the story. They were talking on the phone when he encountered Zimmerman that night. That's why her testimony has been so crucial, even though she's far from the ideal witness, as a lot of experts have pointed out. In one key exchange with a prosecutor, as you probably remember, she said that Martin told her a man was following him. Before we play her testimony, we want to warn you that she used some slurs, including the "N" word. If you want to turn the volume down, now would be a good time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RACHAEL JEANTEL, TRAYVON'S FRIEND: I asked him how the man looked like. He looked like a creepy-ass cracker.
DON WEST: Let me take sure we got that. Creepy...
JEANTEL: Ass cracker.
JEANTEL: Yes. He said, "The nigga still following me now."
WEST: Excuse me?
JEANTEL: "That nigga is still following me now."
WEST: He's still following him?
WEST: Did he use a word to describe that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's go slowly.
WEST: "Now the nigga is still following me."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: With me again are CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Sunny Hostin; former L.A. deputy district attorney Marcia Clark; criminal defense attorney Danny Cevallos; and Mark Geragos.
I just want to first of all go over -- for each of you, I want to ask the same question. What do you think from the last -- from this week has been the key testimony, the most important moment of this week? And then I want to look forward to next week.
Mark, let's start with you. What do you think stands out to you this week?
MARK GERAGOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Today's testimony. I think that the positioning at this point with Trayvon Martin on top, I think that that cements the idea that George Zimmerman is not going to take the stand, if there was anybody out there who still thought there was a snowball's chance that he would. I think that that is kind of the thing the jurors are going to go off onto their weekend sequestration and think about.
COOPER: Why does that tell you that Zimmerman doesn't take the stand? I mean, even though you said he wouldn't even before this? But why does that cement it for you?
GERAGOS: Because the only reason you'd ever put him on the stand is if you thought there was even an infinitesimal chance that he wasn't going to get a self-defense instruction. A lot of judges are tough, or can be tough when you request the instruction if the defendant has not testified. But here you've got a third party who has pretty much laid out all the elements that you need to get that to a jury.
So at this point, I think it's without question. I mean, there's absolutely no chance that Zimmerman takes the stand.
COOPER: Sunny, what do you think is the most important?
SUNNY HOSTIN, HLN LEGAL ANALYST: You know, I think the most important was Rachel Jeantel's testimony. I think this case is all about how this thing started: who was in pursuit, who followed, who confronted whom. And I think that, if the jury believes Rachel Jeantel believes that she was on the phone with him, believes that George Zimmerman followed Trayvon Martin and confronted him by asking him "What are you doing around here," I think that self-defense is going to be off the table.
I do believe that she was credible. She is not on trial here. I'm shocked and disappointed and disgusted, quite frankly, by what a lot of people said about her, both on Twitter, social media, just walking in the street. I think that, given the fact that she was the last person to hear her friend before he died, she's not a professional witness. I thought she did very well on the witness stand. And I think it was a critical point in this case.
MARCIA CLARK, FORMER L.A. DEPUTY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY: Yes, I actually think both of them, Anderson. I do think she was credible, Rachel was credible, also. And I have not heard the negatives that apparently Sunny has, and I'm sorry to hear that.
My only concern about her, and I have to tell you, the fact that she related the slurs that Trayvon Martin used made her more credible. She obviously was not trying to make him look like some angel. She was telling it raw and true as it happened. I found her extremely credible.
I found John Good also, though, very credible. And his was very key testimony, I agree with Mark. Because of that testimony, any chance that he might have taken -- had to take the stand, George Zimmerman, is now gone. I can't imagine why they would put him on the stand now. Whereas before I thought they might really need to. Now they have the testimony they need to get the self-defense instruction.
My concern about Rachel Jeantel, though, is that she came across -- she's a diamond in the rough, so to speak, in my opinion, very rough. But she had a rough attitude. She related the slurs. All of that mushed together in the jurors' minds to make Trayvon a little bit less of an angel, a little bit more of a tough guy and someone who might really, after -- even if Zimmerman initially was the aggressor, turn on him and get the upper hand, as John Good seemed to think.
So it's a fluid situation, but I think those two were the key witnesses.
DANNY CEVALLOS, ATTORNEY: This is a case study in the difference between witnesses. Look at the witness yesterday. Look at the one today. They are nothing alike. And you ask yourself, these are -- when you talk about credibility, I believe you talk about relatability. And who were these jurors more able to relate to?
The witness today came in. He had a tie on. He answered, he seemed very clear. He seemed very with it. He gave very clear answers. He thought about his answers. He wasn't combative. And he raised -- his testimony is that a -- someone in a hoody was on top of with downward motion. I mean, that is compelling testimony.
Why? Because under Florida law, I think that gets us way over the threshold so that Zimmerman now is entitled to -- entitled to -- a jury instruction on that self-defense. And because he gets that jury instruction, that's the key. So that we all understand, that's why he may not have to testify. And I think, probability-wise, he will not testify.
COOPER: Danny Cevallos, Sunny Hostin, Marcia Clark, Mark Geragos, thank you very much.
Just ahead, new developments in the murder case that's rocking the NFL. Another one of Aaron Hernandez's alleged accomplices has been arrested. Where he was when he turned himself in. We'll tell you that, next.
COOPER: Let's get caught up on some of the other stories we're following tonight. Susan Hendricks has a "360 Bulletin" -- Susan.
SUSAN HENDRIX, HLN ANCHOR: Anderson, just a short time ago, two of the plaintiffs who challenged California's ban on same-sex marriages were married at city hall in San Francisco. Chris Perry and Sandy Steer exchanged vows just two days after the Supreme Court ruling that effectively killed Prop 8 and just hours after a federal appeals court cleared the way for California to resume issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Another arrest today in the case involving former NFL player Aaron Hernandez, who is charged with murder in a shooting in Massachusetts. In Florida, a man walked in, in connection with the case, walked into a police department and turned himself in this afternoon.
Sears is the latest big-name retailer to drop embattled celebrity chef Paula Deen. It made the announcement today, joining Home Depot and Target, who cut ties with Deen yesterday. Drug maker Novo Nordisk has suspended its relationship with Deen. And QVC said it has decided to take a pause from selling her products.
On CNN today, former president, Jimmy Carter, said, even though nothing condones the racial slur she uttered, Deen should be forgiven.
Alan Baldwin's infamous temper exploded on Twitter. In a string of profanity-laced tweets, he blasted a journalist who claimed the actor's wife was tweeting during James Gandolfini's funeral yesterday.
Anderson, back to you.
COOPER: Susan, thanks.
That's it for us. A 360 special report, "The Madman in My Life" is coming up right after the break.