Day One started off bad for George Zimmerman after a powerful opening by prosecutor John Guy was countered by a flat knock-knock joke and 2 ½ hours of droning by Zimmerman’s attorney, Alan West. Day two was much better for the defense, including West. Both he and Mark O’Mara, Zimmerman’s lead counsel, did a very fine job of blunting prosecution witnesses . . .
It started going sideways for the prosecution when Wendy Dorival, the former coordinator of Sanford’s neighborhood watch program, praised Zimmerman’s professionalism, adding “He seemed like he really wanted to make changes in his community, to make it better.” Her assessment conflicts with the state’s description of Zimmerman as an angry white guy who was pissed off at black people.
The testimony of another prosecution witness, Zimmerman’s former neighbor, Selene Bahadoor, also did little for the prosecution.
Bahadoor said she heard running outside her home “from left to right.” When she looked out of her sliding glass door, she saw arms “flailing.” Her description of the arms made it unclear whether they were exchanging blows or high fives. She claimed that she heard someone yell “No!” and grunting incoherently. She then said that she left the room to turn off her stove, which is something that most people would do in the middle of a deadly argument. That’s when she heard a gunshot. Attracted by the sound of gunfire, Bahadoor looked outside and saw a body on the ground. She then went back to her veal bolognese or whatever she was cooking.
In his cross examination, O’Mara attacked Bahadoor for never mentioning the left-to-right business in any of her three previous interviews. The left-to-right travel is a very big deal, since if Zimmerman was going from left to right, then he was moving away from his vehicle and not back to it as he claims. O’Mara also showed that Bahadoor “friended” the “Justice for Trayvon” Facebook page and signed its petition to have Zimmerman arrested. I think O’Mara did a nice job of cross examining a very well prepared witness and putting her credibility seriously into question.
So, was it all roses and lollipops for the defense? Hardly. There was graphic testimony from the first LEO to arrive on scene who tried to save Martin by staunching his chest wound and rendering mouth to mouth. There were also plenty of pictures of the deceased Martin while the prosecution literally waived the bloody shirt and hoodie as they were entered into evidence.
Still, all things considered, it was not a bad day for the defense.
In the next day or so, we’ll find out whether Zimmerman’s previous 911 calls will be admissible against him to show that he was angry and biased against blacks. The judge seems to be keeping the lawyers on a tight leash, so this will be an important ruling.