There were no knock-knock jokes, thankfully, but the third day of George Zimmerman's murder trial was filled with new revelations from unheard voices on Wednesday afternoon as the woman who talk with Trayvon Martin in the lead-up to his fateful confrontation on that fateful night finally took the stand — and took that key conversation, the second-to-last of his life, public.
The carefully selected jury — the one that made Zimmerman's defense team happy — heard from Martin's 19-year-old friend on the other end of his cellphone as he was walking back toward the community where Zimmerman was on watch, en route to his grandmother's house, after Martin left that 7-Eleven, after he bought that bag of Skittles. Rachel Jeantel told the courtroom — and the cameras — about the brief phone call: how he said there was a "creepy ass cracker" following him, how she joked he might be a rapist, how she eventually told him to run. Jeantel testified that Martin told her he seeked refuge in the backyard of his father's fiancée's house when the phone went dead. She called back, Martin answered, and that's when Zimmerman approached him:
She said she heard Trayvon say "Why you following me for?" Then she said she heard a "hard-breathing man" say, "what are you doing around here?"
Then, she said, she heard Trayvon say "get off, get off."
Did you ever speak to Trayvon again, de la Rionda asked.
"No," Jeantel said.
Jurors also heard five recordings of a possible 50 non-emergency calls Zimmerman made to police over an eight-year period, asking police if they would "come to his subdivision and check on suspicious strangers, often black," ABC News reports. Zimmerman's defense attorney tried to argue the calls were irrelevant. Prosecutors and Judge Debra Nelson disagreed. "It shows the context in which the defendant sought out his encounter with Trayvon Martin," prosecutor Richard Mantei said.
Another witness described hearing a "boy's voice" crying for help on the night Martin was killed — and testimony like that is the best option the prosecution has after Judge Nelson ruled that two key voice analysts, who supported the theory that it was Martin was on the line, screaming for his life, were not allowed to take the stand. Zimmerman, 29, contends he was being beaten by the teenager before he shot and killed him. "I truly believe the second yell for help was a yelp," resident Jane Surdyka said in court today. "It was excruciating. I really felt it was a boy's voice."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.