SANFORD, Florida (AP) — A witness who had perhaps the best view of the struggle between the neighborhood watch volunteer and the black teenager he is charged with killing testified Friday that it appeared the unarmed teen was striking the defendant while straddling him.
However, Jonathan Good said he did not see anyone’s head being slammed into the concrete sidewalk, which George Zimmerman has said Trayon Martin, the victim, did to him. Good initially testified that it appeared “there were strikes being thrown, punches being thrown,” but during detailed questioning he said he saw only “downward” arm movements being made.
The case sparked national protests after police failed to charge Zimmerman until 44 days after the killing and the case has prompted a discussion in the U.S. about race and self-defense laws.
Zimmerman has claimed that he fatally shot 17-year-old Martin last year in self-defense as the Miami-area teen was banging his head into the concrete sidewalk behind the townhomes in a gated community.
Under prosecution questioning, Jonathan Good said he never saw anyone being attacked that way during the fight between Zimmerman and Martin.
Good testified he saw a person in black clothing on top of another person with “white or red” clothing. He said he couldn’t see faces but it looked like the person on the bottom had lighter skin. Martin was black and was wearing a dark hoodie. Zimmerman identifies as Hispanic and was wearing a red jacket.
“It looked like there were strikes being thrown, punches being thrown,” Good said.
Later, under cross-examination, he said that it looked like the person on top was straddling the person on bottom in a mixed-martial arts move known as “ground and pound.” When defense attorney Mark O’Mara asked him if the person on top was Martin, Good said, “Correct, that’s what it looked like.”
Good also said the person on the bottom yelled for help.
Zimmerman, 29, could get life in prison if convicted of second-degree murder. Zimmerman followed Martin in his truck and called a police dispatch number before he and the teen got into a fight.
Zimmerman has denied the confrontation had anything to do with race, as Martin’s family and their supporters have claimed.
Jurors already have been shown some of the state’s biggest pieces of evidence, including the 911 call featuring cries for help prosecutors believe came from Martin.
On Thursday, a friend of Martin who had been on the phone with him when he was shot testified about what she heard during his confrontation with Zimmerman.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.