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Zimmerman`s Accounts of Tragic Night Played in Court

Aired July 1, 2013 - 19:00   ET


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: We are going back into court in just a moment. But tonight, first, explosive testimony and evidence in the George Zimmerman murder trial. But was it a spectacular win for the prosecution or for the defense? You decide.

Good evening. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell coming to you live.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you think he`s yelling help?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. What is your...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was a gunshot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`re wrestling right in the back of my porch.

I just heard a shot right behind my house.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Someone is yelling two doors down from me, screaming, hollering "Help, help, help."


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I really felt like it was a boy`s voice.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m looking at the person that`s dead. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Oh, God!


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jurors heard and saw at least four versions of that dark and rainy night from Neighborhood Watch volunteer George Zimmerman`s point of view, his perspective. A hand-written statement, police interrogations, a video re-enactment and an audiotape. Tonight we will show you the most controversial moments.

A key piece of evidence played today. Lead detective Chris Serino grilling George Zimmerman after he was detained. The seasoned cop who originally wanted to charge Zimmerman finally starts asking George Zimmerman some tough questions about what he did and why the night Trayvon Martin was killed. Listen.


CHRIS SERINO, LEAD DETECTIVE: It was kind of important. I mean, was he trying to evade you, get away from you? Maybe got tired (UNINTELLIGIBLE). What kind of a run was it? It sounds like he`s running as to -- you`re basically -- jumped out of the car to see what he was doing?

ZIMMERMAN: Yes, sir.

SERINO: That`s not fear.

ZIMMERMAN: Told me not to follow him. And I wasn`t following him. I was just going in the same direction as he was.

SERINO: That`s following.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Straight in to the Lions` Den. Is this police investigation tape the turning point in what seemed like a trial on a downward slope for the prosecution? With the detectives saying, if you`re jumping out of your car and following him, that`s not fear; that`s following.

Starting with Sheryl Lee Ralph, actress and author of "Redefining Diva."

SHERYL LEE RALPH, ACTRESS/AUTHOR: Let me tell you something. I think all of us who heard that know that we heard following. He was told distinctly, "We don`t need you to do that." But he continued to do that, because "these blanks always get away with it." It was following.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Frank Taaffe, former neighbor of George Zimmerman`s and friend and supporter.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Let`s go to Heather Hansen. I asked you a question, dude. Usually you don`t want to stop talking, and now I ask you a question and you don`t want to talk.

TAAFFE: No, I couldn`t hear.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But I want to hear -- OK. All right. Well -- I`m asking you, is this a turning point for a trial many thought was on a downward slope for the prosecution?

Now we have Chris Serino grilling your buddy, saying, "Why are you getting out of the car and following him? That`s not fear. That`s following." And I want to give you a chance to weigh in.

TAAFFE: Sure. He was -- he was the eyes and ears of Neighborhood Watch. It`s written right in the handbook. And it is a turning point. It turns this into a stronger case for the defense than it does for the prosecution.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Why? And maybe I`ll throw that to Heather Hansen.

HEATHER HANSEN, ATTORNEY: I agree. I think that it turns it into a stronger case because if you`re asking the question, at the end of a prosecution day, whether or not this was a stronger day for the prosecution or the defense, there`s a problem.

I think O`Mara`s cross-examination of Serino pointed out a lot of things. Serino says that either he`s a pathological liar or he was telling the truth. I don`t think this jury is going to believe that he was a pathological liar. I think that Zimmerman, the minor inconsistencies between the three different interrogations are just that, minor. I think his story stays the same through all three without Miranda, without attorney. He is telling the same story.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Areva Martin, attorney.

AREVA MARTIN, ATTORNEY: Jane, Jane, this issue of following is critical, and this was a great day for the prosecution, because their whole case is that this guy is a wannabe cop who`s out there doing something he shouldn`t be doing. Not following the directions of the 911 dispatcher.

And now we have him on tape being told not to do anything but yet, he is following, and following is following. We can`t redefine that. So his whole theory about he`s in fear is absolutely ridiculous. There`s no fear if you get out of your car and follow someone. You`re not afraid.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Go back and forth. Heather.

HANSEN: It`s a different point in time. The self-defense law applies to the point in time Zimmerman piled that shot. Whether or not he followed him is really irrelevant. It`s what Zimmerman was feeling at that moment that he was getting his head beat into the concrete. This is under the law.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Why did you say, "Oh, my God," Sheryl Lee Ralph?

RALPH: ... been following him. Had he not been following him and he`d done what he had been told...

HANSEN: That may be true...

TAAFFE: Excuse me.

RALPH: ... would not have happened. "We don`t need you to do that." He got out of his car. He followed him. My God. If he had been a child, we would have chastised him for not paying attention.


RALPH: Following someone...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Made it in court. So we`re going to go back into court right now where George Zimmerman`s attorney, Mark O`Mara, is cross- examining the lead detective on the case, then then-lead detective, Chris Serino. Let`s go back in, and we`ll debate some more in a second.

MARK O`MARA, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN`S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: ... consistencies that you need to either get through to Mr. Zimmerman in this case and break it or not. Correct? Did you understand what I said?

SERINO: Repeat it, please.

O`MARA: Sure. Your intent in this case, because of that was everything going on, was that you wanted to get Mr. Zimmerman in a position where, if you could break him, if you could get him to change his story in a significant way that you could find out he`s lying, right?

SERINO: Correct.

O`MARA: That`s one of them, right?


O`MARA: At the very least what you do is you try and crack that door open a little bit, right? Get a -- just a stream of light coming through so that you can really push through it if he`s lying to you?

SERINO: Yes. You know, the omission that maybe there`s exaggeration that may be there.

O`MARA: Yes. Or the anger that may there be, that he didn`t show before, you know, or just the -- hit him with something that you might even exaggerate as a problem just to see if he bites, right?

SERINO: Absolutely.

O`MARA: That`s a tactic. Right?

SERINO: Mm-hmm, yes, sir.

O`MARA: And it works. Doesn`t it?

SERINO: At times.

O`MARA: Usually.

SERINO: Sometimes.

O`MARA: OK. That`s why you do it. Right?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O`MARA: OK. And this type of a -- I`m going to use the term for now on challenge interview, are you OK with that?

SERINO: That`s fine.

O`MARA: All right. This type of a challenge interview, you often have two people there, right? Play one off against the other.

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O`MARA: That`s -- again, that`s intentional. All right.

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O`MARA: Particularly you -- use someone like Officer Singleton, because she had a decent relationship with George from that first interview. Right?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O`MARA: She`s the perfect candidate.

SERINO: Could have been, yes.

O`MARA: Might even help that they had that little Christian connection thing going on and all of that? Right?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O`MARA: And again, it sounds like I`m harassing your style or something.

SERINO: No. Not at all.

O`MARA: I`m not.

I just want to make sure the jury understands that these type of techniques are used for very particular purposes within law enforcement.

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O`MARA: Right. And -- what you -- your purpose is not just to harass Mr. Zimmerman, but it`s really your effort to figure out what really happened that night and what inconsistencies you might be able to exaggerate or whatever to try and get him to the point where he may tell you something he hasn`t told you yet.

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O`MARA: Right?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O`MARA: And that`s going to tell you one thing or the other. Right? It`s going to tell you that you got him, right? And that will...


O`MARA: ... lead us down another path. Right?


O`MARA: Or it may confirm that he`s, for the most part, telling you the truth.

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O`MARA: Right? So -- and that is the context that we`re working with, with this challenge interview, is it not?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O`MARA: And that was the whole purpose of setting it up the way you set it up and where and when you set it up and with whom you set it up?

SERINO: Not specifically intended for that, but we didn`t plan a challenger interview. It was just another interview. There could have been more. But I was -- it wasn`t as formatted as that but, yes, it is the way it turned out to be.

O`MARA: Well, I want to -- I don`t want to misspeak. Are you now suggesting that your intent here wasn`t to challenge him as best you can to see if can you break him. Right?

SERINO: I was gentle. There was a challenge -- when you say challenge interview I`m thinking more -- if I have something to challenge him with. At this point I`m still not quite ready to challenge him, you know.

O`MARA: Well, you know, for example, you start the interview out by saying, "You`ve heard of Murphy`s law, right?"

SERINO: Correct.

O`MARA: This person was not doing anything bad. You don`t know the person who -- the name, name of the person that died, right? First of all, without going further into anything at all but you were just going to present Mr. Martin as good as you can to Mr. Zimmerman for that same type of challenge interview style, right?

SERINO: I didn`t know anything other than that from Mr. Martin so that was -- yes. That was the -- baseline saying that -- I just wouldn`t consider it complete challenge interview in that context.

O`MARA: And again, this is why you mentioned his name in the interview, making sure that you reminded George of his name, to sort of personalize the passing of somebody?

SERINO: Absolutely.

O`MARA: And again, that`s sort of a psychological move just to, again, try to and get George set for the fact that, further on into the interview, you`re going to start challenging him on things.

SERINO: Yes, sir. But -- like I said, I didn`t have much to challenge him with.

O`MARA: We`ll get to that.


O`MARA: But that was the intent. Right?

SERINO: Not necessarily. It was one of the -- you say intent. Are you talking sole intent? I mean...


SERINO: OK. I mean, it was an intent. OK.

O`MARA: I mean, you want to get more information from him, too.

SERINO: Absolutely. Yes. There was a lot of information I didn`t have to challenge him with. But yes, that`s one of the intentions behind that interview.

O`MARA: You would agree that the style of this interview as we just heard it is a more aggressive style of interview that you took on because you wanted to get some information from Mr. Zimmerman to challenge him for what he knew and didn`t know, right?

SERINO: You could say that, yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That guy, that lead detective right out of "Law & Order," isn`t he? And he was the one that originally recommended that George Zimmerman be charged with something and was overruled and was later reassigned.

Now, you`re not going to miss a moment of testimony. We`re going to take a short break; we`re going to be back with more of his testimony. He`s the guy who grilled George Zimmerman after this deadly shooting. And we`re going to go back to the Lions` Den and debate it all with our incredible panel.

Stay right there.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does he look hurt to you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can`t see him. I don`t want go out there. I don`t know what`s going on.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They`re sending...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you think he`s yelling "help"?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. What is your...





UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you think he`s yelling "help"?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. What is your...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you think he`s yelling "help"?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. What is your...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you think he`s yelling "help"?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. What is your...



VELEZ-MITCHELL: This case may rest on who was yelling "help" in the background as that shot rang out. We`re going to debate what George Zimmerman said about that on one of the tapes in a second. But first, let`s go back into court. The lead detective who grilled George Zimmerman is now, in turn, getting grilled by George Zimmerman`s attorney, Mark O`Mara.

O`MARA: ... you say that?

SERINO: It was more challenging than the first interview.


SERINO: But on a scale of challenging interviews, it was mild.

O`MARA: You`ve had challenging interviews that were much more in the person`s face, correct?

SERINO: Usually when I had something more than what I had.

O`MARA: And I was just going to say that`s where you walk in to the guy who just, you know...

SERINO: Exactly.

O`MARA: Stole eight cars in the neighborhood and you have his fingerprints on six of them, and he`s just telling you he was in the library studying.

SERINO: Right.

O`MARA: That`s the -- that challenge interview as you walk in and go, "You got one last chance. You`re going to prison for a long, long time or you`re telling me what happened." That`s a real aggressive challenge interview, correct?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O`MARA: So you have to modify the challenge interview style based on what it is you actually have to hit him with.

SERINO: Exactly.

O`MARA: And in this case you didn`t have much to hit him with, right?

SERINO: No, sir, I didn`t.

O`MARA: OK. So you sort of walk him through everything that he had done. Now, the reason why you`re having him repeat everything in greater detail is, again to see if you can wean out my inconsistencies from him. Right?

SERINO: Or omissions yes.

O`MARA: Or omissions. Yes. He may just break down and say something that he didn`t acknowledge before.

SERINO: Admissions, omissions, yes.


SERINO: More information.

O`MARA: And -- as to the information, the first few pages, anything else he added he did not talk to you about, at least in general terms?

SERINO: No, sir.

O`MARA: Anything inconsistent?

SERINO: Nothing that -- no, nothing major.

O`MARA: Then you start where -- again, some of the sort of psychological underplay with him that he`s going to be under a lot of scrutiny, right? You`re trying to go to bat for him; you`re going to have to speak for him, right? Laying that into the framework here?

SERINO: In this particular case, I mean he could have been considered a victim also. I mean, it`s just -- it`s one of those investigations where...

O`MARA: Agreed. But you were dealing with a lot going on that impacted on your investigation, correct?

SERINO: Regardless of what was going on, I still kept an open mind that he could be a victim.

O`MARA: OK. And focusing him on some of what you thought you might have to defend when you`re saying you`d have to speak for him and -- lot of scrutiny, this whole question of whether or not George profiled him that you mentioned, right?


O`MARA: You sort of hit him with that pretty straight out of the box. Right? Hoping maybe for a response that would give you an insight as to whether or not he was profiling Trayvon because Trayvon was black.

SERINO: Or an explanation and -- more of an explanation I was seeking.

O`MARA: OK. So you asked him, "If he`d been white would you have reacted the same way," and he said yes.

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O`MARA: Did that cause you any concern?


O`MARA: Do you think he was being straightforward?


O`MARA: Any evidence in your investigation to suggest differently?


O`MARA: Up to that point.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s go straight into the Lions` Den and debate it with our fantastic panel. How is this cross-examination going?

Now Heather Hansen, trial attorney out of New York City, you just heard George Zimmerman said if he had been white, it would have been exactly the same reaction by George Zimmerman. That would have to be a -- plus column for George Zimmerman, since that`s part of the accusation: that he was profiling him, even though they couldn`t say racially profiling.

HANSEN: I think that this cross-examination was almost perfect. I think Mark O`Mara handled him beautifully. I think Serino gave up a lot of points. I think all of his points were very well-founded. You know, the fact that he believed the things that Zimmerman was telling him, that he was trying to challenge him and there were only minor inconsistencies.

I mean, this cross-examination really highlights all of the problems with the prosecution`s case. And I think that he struck it out of the park.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Areva Martin.

MARTIN: You know, I agree to a certain extent with Heather. Yes, absolutely this witness is sounding more like a witness for the defense than the prosecution. But I don`t think we should rush to judgment, Jane. You know, there`s so much more that is going to be said and done in this trial.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Excuse me. I see some smoke coming out Sheryl Lee Ralph`s ears. There`s smoke coming right out of your ears, Sheryl Lee Ralph. Why?

RALPH: Absolutely. Do we think it would have been the same? Absolutely not. It would have not been the same. He would not have called him the names that he called him. We would not have heard what we said.

We cannot keep re-creating this to make ourselves feel good about this. It is what it is. Let`s have the real conversation about what is going on.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Frank Taaffe, friend of Zimmerman.

TAAFFE: You need -- you need to keep it real, because these are the facts of the case. And...

RALPH: Mr. Taaffe, if you don`t stop using that phrase, and if you don`t start...


TAAFFE: Let me speak. Let me speak. First Amendment. First Amendment. First Amendment rights. Freedom of speech. Freedom of speech.

RALPH: Behave yourself.

TAAFFE: Freedom of -- please.

RALPH: Behave yourself, Frank Taaffe.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Let him finish and then rebuttal.

TAAFFE: I will if you keep it real. OK. You know what? I`m just keeping it real. And in that, you know, George is going to be acquitted based on...

RALPH: I`m going to hit that man.

TAAFFE: Thank you. I appreciate that.

RALPH: I`m going to pray for you.

TAAFFE: George is going to be acquitted on all -- please, let me finish. Please. OK.

RALPH: Go ahead. I`m sorry, Frank.

TAAFFE: George is going to be acquitted. OK. Thank you. George will be acquitted based on the facts and the evidence. And that`s what juries listen to. Facts and evidence. You can whisk up all this racial...

RALPH: Thank God there is your truth, my truth and the truth.

TAAFFE: ... profiling and everything else, OK? And there`s also the FBI that said he wasn`t a racist. That`s the truth. Live with it.

RALPH: We`re not talking about whether he`s a racist or not right now. This is a different point in time.

TAAFFE: You just said had he been another color or whatever it is that...

RALPH: You said racist, Frank. I didn`t say racist.

TAAFFE: He -- he went on -- ma`am...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: George Zimmerman said -- on the tape said if he`d been white he would have had the same reaction. What Sheryl Lee Ralph is saying is that`s what he`s saying but that`s not, in her opinion, what would have happened.

TAAFFE: She`s not on the jury, is she?

MARTIN: It defies, Jane -- it defies how he describes African- Americans. We have to look at how he -- the language which he uses when he describes African-Americans tells a lot about his motives.

TAAFFE: He did not use a racial slur that night, thank you.

HANSEN: No. Right. No, that`s right. He didn`t use a single racist term, Jane. He called...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: He said "bleeping punks, they always get away."

HANSEN; That`s not a racist term. That`s not racist.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m just quoting him. We`re going to take a short break. We`re going to be back. Boy, our Lions` Den, it is steamy tonight in the Lions` Den. And we`re going to go back into court for more testimony. The grilling of a guy who grilled Zimmerman.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The yelps turned to "helps."

ZIMMERMAN: When he was hitting my head against it, I thought my head was going to explode.

O`MARA: Could those screams have come from somebody who was having this done to him?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "This guy was beating me up and I shot him."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "I had to defend myself, and I shot him."




ZIMMERMAN: Hey, we`ve had some break-ins my neighborhood, and there`s a real suspicious guy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He said he shot him dead. The person is dead, laying on the ground!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Sanford Police Department is conducting a fair investigation.


SYBRINA FULTON, TRAYVON`S MOTHER: Our son was not committing any crime.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No justice! No peace! No justice! No peace!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No justice! No peace! No justice! No peace!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No justice! No peace! No justice! No peace!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you polling him?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. We don`t need you to do that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Zimmerman has made the statement of self- defense.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is the prosecution`s case against George Zimmerman, who`s charged with murder 2. But a lot of court observers are wondering is the defense taking prosecution witnesses and turning them into defense witnesses? Are they doing this with the lead investigator in the case, Chris Serino?

Let`s go back into court and find out as Mark O`Mara grills the man who grilled George Zimmerman.

O`MARA: You would agree that that was sort of something you wanted to play out there for him to respond, to see if that might open something up?

SERINO: There were external concerns about that, external concerns, and I needed to get that clarified.

O`MARA: OK. And you did?

SERINO: Yes, I did.

O`MARA: And had he had -- had that question gone somewhere else, that may have led you down a different path?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O`MARA: You also had a concern that you evidenced to him for challenged him on because you had an issue of whether or not his rendition of getting hit dozens of times were supported by the forensic evidence of his injuries, correct?

SERINO: In my view, yes. They were lacking.

O`MARA: Yes. Because he said -- I think -- one of you questioned him and he said, "I got hit 20, 25 times." Right?

SERINO: I believe he said 25 to 30.

O`MARA: Twenty-five to 30. It didn`t seem as though there was injuries sufficient to somebody getting hit 25 or 30 times, right?

SERINO: No, it did not.

O`MARA: OK. As you mentioned earlier, the trauma that he had been through, do you believe in your investigation of him that it may have just felt like he was getting hit 25 or 30 times?

SERINO: Based on personal experience, it -- could be a panic thing more. Maybe I said -- very well could have been.

O`MARA: OK. So that in and of itself was an area that was a concern of yours, correct? But not something that suggested that he was just making that story up, did it?


O`MARA: As a matter of fact, have you had a chance to look at the pictures of his injuries before they started healing when you saw him?

SERINO: Yes, I did.

O`MARA: OK. Those are the injuries that were taken at SPD, Sanford Police Department, that night?


O`MARA: Without having you go through each and every one -- the jury has seen them now probably three or four times -- would you agree that there were numerous different bruisings and injuries on both sides of his scalp?

SERINO: There were injuries. However, based on the way I view them as a major crimes investigator who has seen injuries a lot worse than that, I didn`t consider them life-threatening.

O`MARA: Of course. As a matter of fact, we don`t and -- we don`t need to see life-threatening injuries, do we?


O`MARA: OK. We don`t need to see any injuries, not we?

SERINO: No, we don`t.

O`MARA: Yet he did have some.

SERINO: Yes, he did.

O`MARA: He had the nose injuries we talked about, and he had the lacerations on his back. You saw those pictures, right?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O`MARA: And he did see -- you saw the bruisings and the swelling on both sides of his head? Did you see those?

SERINO: I saw -- yes. I saw imperfections...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. And we`re going to go back in to the Lions` Den and debate on the other side. Not whether this cop is right out of central casting, because we know that he is, but whether he is helping the defense or the prosecution as he is cross-examined. Stay right there. More testimony and the most crucial, dramatic moment of court today. We`ll be right back in a moment.


ZIMMERMAN: I was calling him because we`ve had a lot of break-ins in our neighborhood recently, and I`m on the Neighborhood Watch. And there`s two suspicious characters at the gate of my neighborhood. I`ve never seen them before.



ZIMMERMAN: You go straight in. Don`t turn and make a left.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s running? Which way is he running?

ZIMMERMAN: Down towards the other entrance of the neighborhood.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ok. Which entrance is that that he`s heading towards?

ZIMMERMAN: The back entrance. (EXPLETIVE DELETED) punks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you following him?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ok, we don`t need you to do that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The other day you told me you got out of the car because dispatch was asking your location and you wanted to orient yourself. You did not tell me that you said "Oh (EXPLETIVE DELETED) he`s running," and then got out of the car and went in the same direction at the same time. See where the problem is?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I asked you, "Did you look for him?" And you told me "no".


VELEZ-MITCHEL: In the background of one neighbor`s 911 call, somebody can be heard screaming and screaming and screaming but who? Cops questioned George Zimmerman about those screams. Now, listen very carefully to what he said and then we are going to debate it on the other side.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You hear that voice in the background?

ZIMMERMAN: Yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 911 you need police, fire or medical.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m really not sure -- there`s just someone screaming outside --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What`s the address?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 121122 (inaudible).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Male or female?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You hear yourself?

ZIMMERMAN: That doesn`t even sound like me.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That doesn`t even sound like me. Straight out to the "Lion`s Den", what is the significance of George Zimmerman telling the cops shortly after this fatal shooting he plays the screams for George Zimmerman and George Zimmerman says that doesn`t even sound like me? Some would say that`s not great news for George Zimmerman.

HEATHER HANSEN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I disagree, Jane. I think after we heard this morning from the expert who talked about how you can`t recognize the sounds of screams, screams do not compare to your regular voice. Of course, George Zimmerman has never heard himself scream the way that he would scream when he was in fear for his life. He`d never hear himself scream that way. So for him to say that doesn`t sound like him --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Areva Martin --


AREVA MARTIN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Come on, Heather. George says that doesn`t sound like me. George is denying that that`s him screaming.


MARTIN: And if that`s not George screaming --

TAAFFE: I can answer that.

Martin: -- George is not in peril. George has no right to pull a gun and shoot unarmed Trayvon Martin. You can`t sit there, Heather, with credibility and say you don`t know how you sound when you scream. George says that`s not him. It is not him screaming. It is Trayvon.


HANSEN: He didn`t say it`s not him.


TAAFFE: Very simply put. When George was on his back and after being punched in the nose all that blood, phlegm and mucous was going into the back of his -- down his nasal passage into his throat which created a different intonation from what he heard.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sheryl Lee Ralph.

I heard you say "Dear God".

SHERYL LEE RALPH, TV PERSONALITY: Listen -- "Dear God" because I`ve got to tell you that man is a miracle man. He has an answer for absolutely everything.

TAAFFE: Thank you. I try. I try. I`m just standing up for a friend. Just standing up for a friend.

RALPH: Let me just tell you, we may never, ever know whose voice that is but whatever that is --

TAAFFE: We know who it is.

RALPH: Someone -- and it sounds like a young voice. It sounds like a young person`s voice was screaming for help --

TAAFFE: How do you know that? When did you become an audio expert?

RALPH: -- because somebody had tracked them down --

TAAFFE: When did you become the audio expert?

RALPH: -- followed them and they were under attack --

TAAFFE: You work for the FBI now.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: See? Now let me just say --

RALPH: -- and just like Frank Tacky -- Taaffe, I`m sorry, Mr. Taaffe, I called you tacky -- I did not mean it. Do not hold it against me.

TAAFFE: You work for the FBI.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. I like that -- taffy. No, but here`s the thing. I thought that it could be interpreted two ways. One, it doesn`t even sound like me, like it is not me. Or two, wow, that doesn`t even sound like me meaning it is me and wow, it is weird because it doesn`t even sound like me and that`s what`s -- that`s the problem with this case. The challenge of this case is that -- every nuance is open to a similar kind of interpretation.

TAAFFE: Jane --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Keep it quick, Taaffe.


TAAFFE: Ok. When the police officer showed up on the spot, George is a smart guy but he isn`t that brilliant. He didn`t know that someone would have that recorded to be used later on against him. Ok. Let`s go back to the night --


TAAFFE: Hold on. Hold on. He made a statement to the police officer.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Listen, we have to go back in court. People want to hear every last second and we want to get back in there. You will have plenty of time. Simmer down in the "Lion`s Den". We will be back with you in a second.

Let`s continue with the cross-examination of lead investigator Chris Serino by defense attorney Mark O`Mara.


MARK O`MARA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: And to the extent that you don`t recount them all here today, agree that the jury can simply look at those pictures that were available to you (inaudible) police department taken really right around the time of the first midnight interview and rely on those rather than your memory?


O`MARA: But still in your mind, you -- it was questionable to you why he thought he was getting hit 25 or 30 times?

SERINO: I was -- being subjective, trying to -- yes. Yes. It was --

O`MARA: That was -- did you finish? I`m sorry.

Ok. That was one of the sort of subjects you focused on to see if you could move him a little bit?

SERINO: Perhaps, yes.

O`MARA: You also sort of questioned him a number of different ways in this challenge interview on -- on -- the following whether or not he was following him down the path way or just getting out of the car. He was pretty consistent with you, right, that he did follow him, right, to begin with?


O`MARA: He acknowledged that. Never denied that, did he?

SERINO: I think at one point he -- said he got up behind him and -- I just clarified that it was in fact to follow. But that`s the same thing. He said the same thing.

O`MARA: Right. Ok. Then there was this question about -- why he didn`t simply acknowledge to Trayvon Martin who he was and what he was doing, correct?


O`MARA: You questioned him a couple of different ways on that as well.


O`MARA: Did his answer to you satisfy you?

SERINO: Not necessarily.

O`MARA: Tell me what your concern was.

SERINO: He hadn`t made reference to mentoring children -- specifically African-American children. Why it didn`t occur to him to go ahead and try to -- say something to somebody he was following.

O`MARA: Sure. In hindsight --

SERINO: Of course.

O`MARA: That might have resolved things.

SERINO: Absolutely.

O`MARA: And there are actually probably a thousand decisions in hindsight that would have changed the outcome of this event, right?

SERINO: But specifically as far as my interview of him that was a concern.

O`MARA: That was a concern. And -- what he said to you and -- referring to the tape was -- why didn`t you -- was it fear of precaution, safety -- all the above -- tell me what`s going through your head and he said "I didn`t want to confront him, that wasn`t my job."

SERINO: Correct.

O`MARA: Did that seem a reasonable explanation to you?

SERINO: I did, yes.




O`MARA: You also challenged him on the question about some of the timing about when Trayvon Martin was near the car, when he wasn`t, whether or not he would come back towards the car or not, correct?

SERINO: I believe that was while he was going back to his truck, George was. He was -- I questioned about the time it took him to get back to his vehicle.

O`MARA: Ok. Because you -- wondering why it might take 80 seconds if he was at the T intersection, why it would take 80 seconds to walk back to his car?

SERINO: Yes. It seems that there was a pause somewhere in there.

O`MARA: Yes. And he said to you --

SERINO: It seemed there was a pause in there somewhere. That he paused. It seemed like there would be a pause in there because of the time.

O`MARA: There is that 80 seconds that you want to at least have him explain to you, correct?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O`MARA: In context, he explained to you by saying that was when I actually walked all the way over to my street (inaudible) circle which was there was 40, 50, 60 feet or so to retreat the circle past the T, correct?

SERINO: I don`t recall his response but I -- I was measuring from Retreat Circle to his vehicle and -- I would have to listen to it again. But it just seemed excessive. There was -- there was a time there. I do think he did say that he -- actually paused to pick up his flashlight or something --

O`MARA: To pick up --

SERINO: His flashlight -- somewhere in there.

O`MARA: Ok. We`ll sort of defer to the tape as far as exactly what was said back and forth here in this interview. The -- another effort that you did that`s sort of significant one was when you -- told him that Trayvon Martin would videotape a lot of what he was doing and that you believed that this whole event may well have been on video.

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O`MARA: Correct?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O`MARA: Again, a very specific challenge interrogation technique is it not?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O`MARA: You can say, you know, there`s that bank chest across the street and they have just installed brand-new cameras, night cameras, color cameras, and we got real good video. And the reason for doing had is because that`s truly an attempt to let this guy know, whoever it is, that you got him. Right?

SERINO: There`s more of a bluff and in this one to say that I got him, you know, that`s -- that`s just to put in his mind that --

O`MARA: Right.

SERINO: -- everything may or may not be there.




O`MARA: Generally speaking, you might introduce the suggested existence of video evidence in order to flush out a true story.


O`MARA: And in this particular case, that`s what you were doing.

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O`MARA: And you had suggested to Mr. Zimmerman that there was a really good chance that Trayvon Martin`s phone, which you had in your possession, but it was dead, the phone was dead and you couldn`t really get it out yet, that there was a really good chance that was going to have a video of this whole event.

SERINO: Yes, sir I did.

O`MARA: And that was, in effect, to get him to, if there was something to come clean to that he would come clean to it.

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O`MARA: Knowing, as you said, that if it`s there and it shows something you didn`t tell us about, it`s going to be really bad for you.

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O`MARA: And that was the way you said it, right?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O`MARA: And that was the reason why you said it. Right?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O`MARA: And that was all part of your challenge interview.

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O`MARA: What did he say when you told him that?

SERINO: I believe his words were, "Thank God. I was hoping somebody would videotape it."

O`MARA: What indication of him saying to you, "Thank God, I really hope someone videotaped it," what did that indicate to you?

SERINO: In my opinion, it would have been --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Objection -- what the defendant was thinking or not?

O`MARA: I`m sorry. I have to set (inaudible) -- I apologize, your Honor.

DEBRA NELSON, PRESIDENT JUDGE: The question was, what did that indicate to him, Officer Serino?

O`MARA: Correct, that was my question.

NELSON: Ok. And your objection --

BERNIE DE LA RIONDA, PROSECUTOR: What the defendant was thinking -- I think the question was maybe on the --

NELSON: Now, if the indication from that response, what did that indicate to Officer Serino is overruled.

O`MARA: Do you want me to rephrase the question?

SERINO: Please.

O`MARA: The fact that George Zimmerman said to you, "Thank God, I hope somebody did videotaped the event or the whole even," his statement -- what did that indicate to you?

SERINO: Either he was telling the truth, or he was a complete pathological liar, one of the two.

O`MARA: Ok. Now, let`s look at it overall. Is there anything else in this case where you got the insight that he might be a pathological liar?


O`MARA: As a matter of fact, everything he told you date had been corroborated by other evidence you were already aware of in the investigation that he was unaware of.

SERINO: Correct.

O`MARA: Ok. So if we were to take pathological liar off the table as a possibility just for the purpose of this next question, do you think he was telling the truth?


NELSON: Is this a good breaking point?

O`MARA: I think it is, your Honor.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Straight into the "Lion`s Den", court ended for the day with a bang. Was it for the defense, for George Zimmerman, because he responds to the investigator`s bluff by saying, "Thank God, I was hoping somebody caught the whole thing on videotape," implying he had nothing to hide. And I`ll throw it to Heather Hansen as we start the debate.

HANSEN: Absolutely a day for the defense. To end that day as a lawyer, you are thanking your lucky stars. The jury is going to come home and think of the fact that the investigator said he believed George Zimmerman.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Areva Martin.

MARTIN: Heather knows that trials are rarely won or lost on the basis of one witness` testimony. This witness is not going to ban the prosecution`s case. There is still enough evidence out there from them to get a guilty conviction on George Zimmerman.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sheryl Lee Ralph.

RALPH: This is one day in a trial that is going to last quite a long time, and I hope that those six jurors remember one thing. Some mother`s child ended up dead because he was armed with Skittles and some iced tea -- shot, dead.


TAAFFE: Serino`s testimony today clearly lays the foundation for an acquittal and the end of the malicious prosecution of George Michael Zimmerman.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. So you see, an even split. With those who are in favor of George Zimmerman saying it`s over, and with those who say, hey, just one day in court. The trial is nowhere near over. We`re going to be back tomorrow with more testimony.

Nancy next.