George Zimmerman Trial: Neighbor testifies hearing boy yell for help

1:13 PM, Jun 26, 2013   |    comments
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(CBS/AP) SANFORD, Florida - A resident of the Florida gated community where former neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman fatally shot unarmed teen Trayvon Martin last year testified Wednesday that she heard a boy's voice yelling for help the night of the altercation.

The court heard a dramatic 911 call in which neighbor Jayne Surdyka, crying, calls police to report the shooting. "Oh my god, I see someone killed, laying on the grass," Surdyka said in the recording. "I want to know what happened. Why would this man shoot him?"

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On the witness stand, Surdyka appeared to wipe away tears as she listened to the recording.

"I wish I could have done something for the person," she said on the tape, crying. "Someone yelled for help. You feel like you could have helped them. I don't have a gun or anything."

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A young female alternate juror and a male alternate juror also both appeared to wipe away tears as the tape was played in court, an Associated Press reporter tweeted.

Zimmerman, 29, is standing trial in the teen's Feb. 26, 2012 shooting death. Zimmerman claims he shot Martin in self-defense.

Asked by prosecutors to detail exactly what she heard, Surdyka said she believed she heard two voices, a "louder, dominating" voice and one that was "higher pitched," and said she saw two people struggling outside her window. She told the court that before the shooting, she heard the aggressive voice and a softer voice exchanging words for several minutes.

Then, she said she heard two yells for help.

"In my opinion, I truly believe especially the second yell for help, it was like a yelp, it was excruciating. I really felt like it was a boy's voice."

Surdyka also testified that she heard multiple gunshots, "pop, pop, pop." Only one shot was fired in the fatal encounter between Zimmerman and 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

Other neighbors also have described hearing cries for help which were captured on their calls to 911. Martin's parents have said they were those of their son, while Zimmerman's father has said he believes the cries belong to his son. Defense attorneys successfully argued against allowing prosecution experts who claimed the cries belonged to Martin.

Next to take the stand was Jeannee Manalo, another neighbor. Manalo said she heard "howling" and saw two men struggling outside her home.

She said she saw a larger man on top of a smaller man, and after watching news reports, she said she concluded the man on top was George Zimmerman. "I believe it was Zimmerman, comparing the size of their bodies," she said.

Also Wednesday, Judge Debra Nelson ruled that she would allow at trial five police dispatch calls Zimmerman made in the months prior to his encounter with Martin.

Prosecutors want to use the calls to bolster their argument that Zimmerman was increasingly frustrated with repeated burglaries and had reached a breaking point the night he shot the unarmed teenager. Prosecutors played the calls for the judge Tuesday with the jurors out of the courtroom.

The recordings show Zimmerman's "ill will," prosecutor Richard Mantei said.

"It shows the context in which the defendant sought out his encounter with Trayvon Martin," he said.

Nelson also dismissed an alternate juror on Wednesday, a man identified as B-71, the Orlando Sentinel reports. Nelson didn't say why the juror was dismissed, but said it wasn't related to the case, reports the paper.

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