10-22-2016  4:47 pm      •     
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START Reading at the bottom to read the updates in the correct order. The George Zimmerman trial, gavel to gavel. Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012. Here is testimony from Wednesday:
[Updated at 2:24 p.m. ET]
De La Rionda has now moved on Gorgone work in Zimmerman's case.
[Updated at 2:21 p.m. ET]
Gorgone is explaining the probability that another person in the population would match the DNA in a sample from a crime scene.
[Updated at 2:17 p.m. ET]
Gorgone says that if he has a mixture of DNA from multiple people, he can determine whose DNA is in the mixture.
[Updated at 2:14 p.m. ET]
De La Rionda asks Gorgone how a DNA sample from a crime scene is compared with a DNA sample taken from a suspect.
[Updated at 2:11 p.m. ET]
Gorgone is now talking about how a DNA sample can be taken by swabbing a surface, like a gun or a table.
[Updated at 2:09 p.m. ET]
Gorgone is explaining how he makes a DNA profile for a DNA sample.
[Updated at 2:07 p.m. ET]
De La Rionda is now asking Gorgone about the specific DNA testing he did in Zimmerman's case.
[Updated at 2:04 p.m. ET]
De La Rionda asks Gorgone to tell the jury about the precautions he takes to make sure the DNA samples being tested are not contaminated.
[Updated at 2 p.m. ET]
Gorgone is explaining DNA and how it is used to identify to criminal suspects.
[Updated at 1:58 p.m. ET]
Prosecutor Bernie De La Rionda has called Anthony Gorgone, of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement crime lab, to the stand.
[Updated at 1:55 p.m. ET]
Nelson says she will go as late as necessary to get the state to rest today, and she wants the defense to begin Friday morning. The jury is being seated.
[Updated at 1:53 p.m. ET]
West says the defense team has been tied up with issues and hasn't had time. Nelson seems to be getting frustrated with West.
[Updated at 1:51 p.m. ET]
Nelson says she wants to hold court Friday, because jurors are sequestered away from their families.
[Updated at 1:49 p.m. ET]
Nelson says the prosecution has said it plans to rest today, with the defense starting its case Friday morning.
[Updated at 1:48 p.m. ET]
Judge Debra Nelson is on the stand. Defense attorney Don West is discuss scheduling issues with depositions they want to conduct over the next few days. West has asked for court to be recessed Friday.
[Updated at 1:44 p.m. ET]
Zimmerman has entered the courtroom. Testimony should resume shortly.
[Updated at 12:13 p.m. ET]

The judge has recessed jurors for lunch until 1:45 p.m. ET. She tells them she wants to give them extra time because there's something different for lunch today. The live blog will pick back up once testimony resumes.

[Updated at 12:12 p.m. ET]

Siewert says this gun doesn't shift into single action after you fire it -- each pull has to be the full pull.

[Updated at 12:09 p.m. ET]

Prosecutor Guy has Siewert show jurors what it takes to fire the gun. She aims it at a wall to demonstrate.

[Updated at 12:08 p.m. ET]

Siewert explains how you have to physically engage the safety on the gun if it has one.

[Updated at 12:07 p.m. ET]

Siewert says she only examines clothing, she doesn't look at the wound a victim might have. O'Mara has finished his questions. Prosecutor John Guy asks if the gun could have been used for murder. The defense objects, and the judge sustains.

[Updated at 12:05 p.m. ET]

O'Mara says there was no evidence that the gun was pressed into the sweatshirt. Siewert says it was consistent with the firearm touching the shirt, whether that touch was light or more pressed into the shirt. She says there may potentially have been different evidence if the sweatshirt was wrapped around the gun.

[Updated at 12:01 p.m. ET]

Siewert says again that most law enforcement guns she sees have a bullet in the chamber.

[Updated at 11:59 a.m. ET]

Siewert agrees that most law enforcement carry guns with a bullet in the chamber.

"They're not much use if they're not ready to fire, are they?" asks O'Mara.

"No," says Siewert.

[Updated at 11:58 a.m. ET]

O'Mara asks if Zimmerman's gun is a safe one to carry loaded. "This gun, again in working order, is safe in terms of it will not fire unless the trigger is pulled," says Siewert. She says having a loaded gun be considered safe is a personal preference.

[Updated at 11:57 a.m. ET]

Siewert says the trigger on this gun in particular needs to be pulled back much farther than other guns. She says this feature potentially makes it safer.

[Updated at 11:56 a.m. ET]

O'Mara says that if someone were carrying a gun for self-defense, they would want it ready to fire and to not have a safety. Siewert says she believes that's personal preference.

[Updated at 11:53 a.m. ET]

Defense attorney O'Mara has Siewert hold Zimmerman's gun. She says that the "double action" aspect of the gun also works as a safety feature. She agrees that a double-action gun, when it's ready to fire, is safer to carry than a single-action gun that's ready to fire.

[Updated at 11:48 a.m. ET]

Siewert did the same test on Martin's inner shirt.

"This as well was consistent with residues and physical effects consistent with a contact shot," said Siewert. She says she believes the muzzle of the gun was against Martin's sweatshirt when it fired. The prosecution has finished its questions.

[Updated at 11:47 a.m. ET]

Zimmerman's gun and one of the live rounds was used by Siewert to conduct a test on part of the fabric from Martin's hooded sweatshirt.

"The clothing displayed residues and physical effects consistent with a contact shot," says Siewert.

[Updated at 11:44 a.m. ET]

Siewert looks at a close-up of the sweatshirt where the bullet entered. She says there was darkening, tearing of the fabric, burning and singing.

[Updated at 11:42 a.m. ET]

Siewert also examined the shirt Martin was wearing under his black hoodie. She also removed part of this shirt for testing.

[Updated at 11:40 a.m. ET]

Prosecutor John Gun brings out Martin's black sweatshirt. Siewert explains how she examined the area around the gunshot. She says she removed a portion of the back of the sweatshirt for testing purposes.

[Updated at 11:37 a.m. ET]

Siewert couldn't tell if bullet fragments were fired from the gun because they were damaged.

[Updated at 11:35 a.m. ET]

The trigger pull for the gun was measured between 4½ and 4¾ pounds, according to Siewert. She also matched the shell casing found at the scene with Zimmerman's gun.

[Updated at 11:32 a.m. ET]

Siewert shows jurors how the gun works. She says the gun's magazine was fully loaded and one cartridge was in the chamber at the time the gun was fired. She also says there are safeties in place to keep the gun from accidentally firing.

[Updated at 11:27 a.m. ET]

Siewert examined Zimmerman's gun and says a pull of the trigger is required every time the gun is fired. She test-fired the gun and found that it was functional.

[Updated at 11:25 a.m. ET]

The prosecution has called Amy Siewert to the stand. She is a crime laboratory analyst with the Florida Depart of Law Enforcement and is reviewing her education and background.

[Updated at 11:22 a.m. ET]

In their introductions during the first week of class, Pleasants says, Zimmerman said he wanted to become an attorney and eventually a prosecutor. The witness is excused.

[Updated at 11:20 a.m. ET]

Pleasants says he didn't cover strategies as a witness or testifying in the class discussions, but it was part of the required reading.

[Updated at 11:18 a.m. ET]

There was no course work that touched on criminal profiling, according to Pleasants. He says there are records that Zimmerman participated in all the online discussions that they had. He's reviewing the records.

[Updated at 11:16 a.m. ET]

O'Mara is now asking Pleasants questions. The professor says his class was online and there was no required attendance. Pleasants says he can't guarantee that what's in the textbook was covered in class or that students in the class read the material.

[Updated at 11:12 a.m. ET]

Multiple people keep trying to call into the Skype conversation. O'Mara says he believes they're being toyed with, so they're now calling Pleasants back on the phone.

[Updated at 11:11 a.m. ET]

Pleasants says chapters in the book include how to testify as a witness and profiling.

[Updated at 11:09 a.m. ET]

The prosecution has called professor Scott Pleasants to testify. He taught Zimmerman in a class about criminal investigations in the summer of 2011 at Seminole State County.

[Updated at 11:05 a.m. ET]

The jury is being seated.

[Updated at 11 a.m. ET]

The judge is back on the bench. The prosecutor says there are some audio issues with the next witness.

[Updated at 10:38 a.m. ET]

The judge says the next witness will be testifying via webcam and won't be available until 11 a.m. ET. She has recessed court until then.

[Updated at 10:36 a.m. ET]

Krzenski tells defense attorney O'Mara that this is the only rider release filed by Zimmerman. He has been excused, and the attorneys are at a sidebar.

[Updated at 10:34 a.m. ET]

The prosecution has called Jim Krzenski to the witness stand. He is the administrative manager for the Sanford Police Department. He's reviewing a rider release form filled out by Zimmerman on March 15, 2010. Zimmerman lists the reason for his ride-along as: "Solidify my chances of a career in law enforcement." The prosecution has no more questions.

[Updated at 10:33 a.m. ET]

Carter says "imperfect self-defense" is where "the force that you are encountering, you meet that force disproportionately -- excess force. Like a gunshot." The prosecution has finished its questions, and the witness has been excused.

[Updated at 10:30 a.m. ET]

The defense has finished its questions. Prosecutor Mantei wants to know about claiming self-defense when you provoke an attack. The defense objects, and the attorneys are at a sidebar.

[Updated at 10:28 a.m. ET]

Carter says "imperfect self-defense" is where someone counters force from a threat with a disproportionate level of force.

[Updated at 10:25 a.m. ET]

Carter says he also taught the class about "imperfect self-defense," where the tables turn in a situation.

[Updated at 10:24 a.m. ET]

Injuries support a person's fear of great bodily harm, according to Carter, but a person can still have a fear of harm without having injuries.

"You don't have to wait until you're almost dead to defense yourself?" asks West.

"No, I would advise you probably not do that," says Carter.

[Updated at 10:22 a.m. ET]

"It's fluid; the law as it applies isn't static. Any change in a certain fact can weigh differently in terms of whether someone acted reasonably," says Carter. He says he would show his class videos and pause them to look at how things were changing in a situation.

[Updated at 10:20 a.m. ET]

Carter says he taught his class: "When stuff hits the fan, you're judged by jurors, and your actions have to meet a reasonable standard, objectively. So whether or not a reasonable person in your position would have felt the way you felt." He also says part of self-defense is the individual's subjective feelings of facing death or "grievous bodily harm."

[Updated at 10:16 a.m. ET]

Carter says he talked about the evolution of the castle doctrine in his class.

"Right, I think what happened is the presumption changed. If you're attacked in your home, there's a presumption that you're in fear of your life ... it extended outside of the home but there wasn't that same presumption. That same presumption doesn't exist outside of a home," says Carter.

[Updated at 10:14 a.m. ET]

Carter says he used his knowledge of Florida law, having been admitted to the Florida Bar, to talk to his class about self-defense.

[Updated at 10:09 a.m. ET]

The attorneys are at a sidebar.

[Updated at 10:08 a.m. ET]

Carter says he's familiar with the laws of self-defense in Florida. He says "stand your ground" is a nickname. Carter agrees with West that if you're in your home, you have "no duty to retreat" and may "meet force with force" to defend yourself. West points out that the "stand your ground" law extend this to outside the home. West says that before, you had to retreat if you could.

[Updated at 10:04 a.m. ET]

"Stand your ground" is not in the course book, according to Carter. He says his discussions about the law in Florida would have been done in class.

[Updated at 10:02 a.m. ET]

Carter says he didn't write the book he used in class, which didn't focus specifically on Florida law.

[Updated at 9:58 a.m. ET]

Defense attorney Don West begins his cross-examination. He points out Zimmerman, and Carter waves to him, saying, "Hey George." West asks Carter about his background.

[Updated at 9:56 a.m. ET]

Carter says the course book was more generic, not covering Florida law, but he wanted to make the class more practical. He says he taught his students about the "stand your ground" law.

"It's not one of those things that you're just going to whisk through in a day ... it was something that I constantly iterated. ... It was something that I think the students really wanted to know about, it was so practical, they were very much engaged in class discussion," says Carter.

The prosecution has finished its questions.

[Updated at 9:54 a.m. ET]

"You always kind of remember your smarter student or the one who stood out the most. ... He was probably one of the better students in the class," says Carter.

[Updated at 9:51 a.m. ET]

The prosecution calls Alexis Carter to the witness stand. He's a military prosecutor who taught a criminal litigation class at Seminole State College in 2010. He says he remembers Zimmerman.

"We talked about elements of the law, criminal procedure, constitutional rights -- things of that nature," says Carter.

He looks at the course book, which has information on self-defense.

[Updated at 9:49 a.m. ET]

West has no more questions for Kearns, who is then excused.

[Updated at 9:48 a.m. ET]

West is showing Kearns the "extract" from Zimmerman's application that the police department keeps on file after destroying the application. One column lists "credit."

"Do you take that to mean that Mr. Zimmerman had a problem with his credit?" asks West.

"Yes sir ... that's a reason why we did not consider him further, based on that record," says Kearns.

Kearns says it's possible that if Zimmerman had fixed his credit issue, he would have been able to reapply.

[Updated at 9:45 a.m. ET]

The prosecution has no further questions, and defense attorney Don West is cross-examining Kearns.

Kearns says Zimmerman's application was destroyed and he has no memory of Zimmerman's references or any of the contents of his application. Kearns says a lot of people apply to become police officers.

[Updated at 9:42 a.m. ET]

The prosecution has called Scott Kearns to the witness stand. He works with the Prince William County Police in Virginia. He says they destroy applications to become a police officer after three years. He has a letter dated July 8, 2009, that shows Zimmerman's application wasn't accepted.

[Updated at 9:38 a.m. ET]

The prosecution calls Sonja Boles-Melvin, a registrar for Seminole State College. She says Zimmerman applied for a grade change in a legal studies class called "criminal litigation." She also says he applied for a degree on October 17, 2011. The defense has no questions, and the witness is excused.

[Updated at 9:31 a.m. ET]

The judge is back on the bench, and the jury is being seated.

[Updated at 9:19 a.m. ET]

The page that lists "bad credit" as the reason Zimmerman's police officer application was rejected will be removed from evidence. The judge has recessed court for 10 minutes.

[Updated at 9:17 a.m. ET]

Mantei shows a picture of a shoe horn as he makes his final argument. The judge rules that the defense's objections are overruled and the prosecution's witnesses will be able to testify about Zimmerman's course work in criminal justice and his desire to be a cop.

[Updated at 9:15 a.m. ET]

O'Mara says the prosecutors have to show a definite connection between the evidence and their theory, and he says they're failed to do so.

[Updated at 9:12 a.m. ET]

"They are putting them in so they can turn them into seething bad acts. Subtle but seething bad acts by my client," says O'Mara. He says the case law presented by the prosecutor showed bad acts by the defendant.

[Updated at 9:10 a.m. ET]

Mantei says it doesn't matter if Zimmerman was in a particular class -- it's more relevant that he voluntarily signed up for the course and had an interest in it. Defense attorney O'Mara asks for a couple of hours to review the prosecution's case law. The judge tells him she gave them the night to prepare.

"In all due respect, we started this issue yesterday afternoon. I had the jury out for a half-hour so you could have time to research this issue," says Judge Debra Nelson. She also says the defense asked for the night to prepare, which she gave it. She won't give it any more time to research the issue.

[Updated at 9:06 a.m. ET]

The judge tells prosecutor Mantei that all the information about Zimmerman's credit issues would need to be redacted. Mantei says he wouldn't have any issues with that.

[Updated at 9:05 a.m. ET]

"He would know what might be asked of him, done with certain pieces of evidence, what he might be asked about. ... He would know these things or at least have reason to know these things," says Mantei.

[Updated at 9:02 a.m. ET]

Zimmerman's desire to be a police officer isn't bad, says Mantei, but it helps show his state of mind the night of the shooting.

[Updated at 8:56 a.m. ET]

Mantei is showing case law to explain why he thinks this evidence is relevant. He says it helps show Zimmerman's state of mind the night of the shooting.

[Updated at 8:51 a.m. ET]

Prosecutor Richard Mantei says the evidence also shows Zimmerman learned about testifying and talking to police. Mantei says you don't get to consider Zimmerman's frustrations in a vacuum. He is showing the judge a PowerPoint presentation that outlines his argument. Mantei says Zimmerman's "extracurricular life mirrors" his desires to be a cop. Mantei says Zimmerman used police jargon like "I unholstered my firearm." He also says Zimmerman told police he knew "the legal side" of the situation he was in.

[Updated at 8:44 a.m. ET]

O'Mara is now discussing Zimmerman's school-related paperwork and says it's irrelevant because of how long ago it happened and the lack of connection to the case. O'Mara makes the same argument about some of Zimmerman's homework and a project he submitted about the Fourth Amendment. He also questions the relevancy of a book from Zimmerman's class that has three pages on self-defense. O'Mara says Zimmerman may not have read it.

[Updated at 8:39 a.m. ET]

Zimmerman's application to become a police officer seems to have been rejected because of his credit issues, according to O'Mara. He says this evidence is irrelevant and that they'd demand Zimmerman's actual application, not just a letter to him about it. O'Mara also wants to talk to witnesses who reviewed the application.

[Updated at 8:38 a.m. ET]

O'Mara argues that the fact that Zimmerman asked to ride along with police two years before he shot Martin is irrelevant.

[Updated at 8:35 a.m. ET]

O'Mara says prosecutors need to show that Zimmerman was actually present for class when there was a discussion about "Stand Your Ground." O'Mara says the class's book was generic, not based on Florida law. O'Mara says prosecutors are trying to use out-of-court evidence to impeach an out-of-court statement. He also says he believes the professor will say he talked about self-defense but he's not sure if Zimmerman was present or not. O'Mara says that if prior course work can be introduced, then the defense should be able to talk about Trayvon Martin getting into fights in the past.

[Updated at 8:30 a.m. ET]

Zimmerman is in the courtroom and the judge is on the bench. Defense attorney Mark O'Mara has asked for a few minutes to get ready.

[Posted at 8:17 a.m. ET]

Attorneys are expected to make legal arguments on the admissibility of Zimmerman's school records starting at 8:30 a.m. ET. Jurors have been asked to return at 9 a.m. ET.

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