On Friday, prosecutors in the 2nd degree murder trial of George Zimmerman called the man expected to be the defense's central witness. John Good, a Zimmerman neighbor, testified that he told Sanford police that on the night of the shooting he'd seen a Black man on top of a lighter-skinned man "just throwing down blows on the guy, MMA-style.” This may have advanced the Defense argument that Trayvon Martin was the aggressor and as a result Zimmerman’s killing of him was indeed self-defense.
He stated that he was watching television in the living room of his Retreat at Twin Lakes townhome on the night in question when he heard noises outside. Good claims that he opened his sliding glass door and stepped out onto his porch, where he was able to see two people wrestling on the ground, describing what he saw with Mixed Martial Arts or “MMA terminology” as the "ground and pound."
He testified that the man on top was wearing dark clothes, and the one on the bottom had lighter skin and was wearing White or red.
Good claims that the encounter between Martin and Zimmerman looked like a "tussle.” “I yelled out, 'What's going on?' and 'Stop it,' I believe," he said on the stand on cross examination by Zimmerman lead defense counsel Mark O’Mara. O'Mara then asked Good if he could identify the person on top with this exchange:
"The person who you now know to be Trayvon Martin was on top, correct?" O'Mara asked.
"Correct," Good answered.
O’Mara followed with the next question to Good: "And he was the one who was raining blows down on the person on the bottom, George Zimmerman, right?"
Good's response: "That's what it looked like."
However, Good was less certain on two issues that could benefit the State. He was not 100 percent sure whether it was Zimmerman or Martin calling out for help, even though he thought it may have been Zimmerman. He also admitted that he didn't see the punches connect but that he just saw "arm movement going downward."
Jurors also heard from the first people to arrive at the scene after the shooting as well on Friday.
As part of the State’s case, Jonathan Manalo, testified that he was the first person to see Zimmerman after the shooting. Manalo testified that Zimmerman “looked like he'd been in a fight” and Manalo testified that he took cell phone pictures of Zimmerman's bloodied face and head.
Manalo also testified that Zimmerman asked Manalo to call his wife and while Manalo was on the phone with her, Zimmerman blurted out: "Just tell her I shot someone."
However, Zimmerman also told Manalo "I was defending myself and I shot him," the witness testified on cross-examination.
The State also called Lindzee Folgate, an Altamonte Family Practice physician assistant who treated Zimmerman the day after the shooting, to testify on his medical records. On direct, Folgate testified and read from Zimmerman’s medical history taken Aug. 19, 2011, which said that due to difficulty sleeping, Zimmerman had "started to exercise intensely with MMA."
Folgate testified and read another Zimmerman record from Sept. 23, 2011, that indicated Zimmerman was in MMA training "three days per week."
Zimmerman had two lacerations on his head following his encounter with Martin; Folgate testified that they were 2 centimeters and 0.5 centimeters with neither injury needing stitches. As to Zimmerman's nose, Folgate testified: "I would say likely broken, it's hard to say definitively."
Folgate testified on cross examination by Defense counsel Mark O’Mara that the cuts, scrapes and bruises to Zimmerman's head could be consistent with having his head slammed into a concrete sidewalk, as Zimmerman says Martin did before the shooting although she also agreed that was speculation when prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda followed up on re-direct.
The first Sanford police officer to arrive, Tim Smith, also testified Friday, and said he held Zimmerman at gunpoint and handcuffed him after Zimmerman told him that he was the one who shot the Martin. Smith testified that Zimmerman was compliant and calm, but also bloodied and wet, with grass on his clothes.
ANALYSIS: With Friday’s testimony, the State tried to “take some of the air” out of Good’s testimony that would most certainly bolster the Defense theory that Martin attacked Zimmerman and was on top of him “was raining blows,” and that the shooter was justified in using lethal deadly force in self-defense. The State apparently wanted to get that testimony out to the jury early, so that if the Defense chooses to call Good in their case in chief, the jury would have already heard the testimony of Good and as a result, it would have less impact on the jury. Remember, the defense is not obligated to put any evidence on before the jury at all and all of the burden of proof in with the State of Florida. However, make no mistake; the testimony of Good was good for the Zimmerman defense.
A licensed attorney in Orlando, Florida, Joseph Haynes Davis is also a broadcaster with over 30 years of broadcast media experience. He is also the legal analyst for the State of Florida v. Zimmerman trial for the “Doug Banks Show,” the Andre Michael Eggelletion Show and several other national radio programs. Follow him on Twitter: @sivadmedia and @con_speaking and check out his website and political blog.