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George Zimmerman trial: Audio of neighborhood watch volunteer's police interview played in court

SANFORD, FL - JULY 01: Sanford police officer Doris Singleton holds up a copy of George Zimmerman's written statement from the night of the shooting, during Zimmerman's murder trial in Seminole circuit court July 1, 2013 in Sanford, Florida.
Photo by Joe Burbank-Pool/Getty Images

(CBS) -- A jury on Monday heard an audio recording of an interview suspected murderer George Zimmerman gave to police the night he fatally shot Florida teen Trayvon Martin. They also saw a written statement in which the former neighborhood watch volunteer refers to Martin as a "suspect."

PICTURES: George Zimmerman on trial in death of Fla. teen

PICTURES: George Zimmerman crime scene photos

READ: Trayvon Martin Shooting: A timeline of events

In the recording, Zimmerman describes the events of the altercation in detail, saying that Martin asked him, "You got a problem, homie?" before saying "You do now" and punching him in the face.

Jurors head the recording and saw the statement on a projector as an investigator who interviewed Zimmerman the night of Feb. 26, 2012, took the stand. Sanford Police Detective Doris Singleton said she read Zimmerman his rights before he voluntarily gave the statement. The 29-year-old seemed sober, spoke clearly, and was using tissues to dab blood from the back of his head, Singleton said.

Singleton took the stand during the sixth day of testimony in Zimmerman's second-degree murder trial. Zimmerman says he shot the unarmed teen in self-defense, but prosecutors have said he profiled the teen and shot him "because he wanted to."

On the audio recording, Zimmerman told Singleton that there had been rising crime in his gated community, the Retreat at Twin Lakes, and he was the volunteer coordinator for the neighborhood watch program. "There's been a few times where I've seen a suspicious person in the neighborhood and we call the police, the non-emergency line, and these guys always get away," Zimmerman said on the recording.

Singleton asked Zimmerman what made Martin suspicious.

"I'd never seen him in the neighborhood...it was raining and he was walking leisurely, taking him time, looking at all the houses," Zimmerman said.

He said he pulled over his car to call the police non-emergency line. He said he lost sight of the teen, but that Martin soon returned and circled his car.

"As soon as I saw him, I rolled down my windows and stayed on the phone," Zimmerman said on the recording.

"He walked completely around the car?" Singleton asked.

"Yes, ma'am," Zimmermn replied.

VIDEO: Zimmerman trial: Prosecutor opens with profanity

On the audio, Zimmerman went on to say that the dispatcher asked him about the direction in which Martin had gone. He said he was looking for a street address to give the dispatcher and was walking back to the car when Martin confronted him, possibly having jumped out after hiding.

"It was dark and I didn't see him getting ready to punch me," Zimmerman said. "As soon as he punched me I fell back on the grass. He was wailing on my head. Then I started to yell for help, he grabbed my head and started hitting my head into the sidewalk."

On the recording, he said he saw a neighbor leave his home and he yelled again for help.

"He puts his hand on my mouth and nose and says, 'You're going to die tonight.' I don't remember much after that. I couldn't breathe. He still kept trying to hit my heard against the pavement," Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman said he felt Martin's hand "go down," and he thought the teen was reaching for his gun.

"As he banged my head I pulled out my firearm and I shot him. I'm on the ground and he's mounted on top of me, I shot him," Zimmerman said.

Martin said, "You got me, you got me," Zimmerman said.

After the shot, Zimmerman said he got on top of Martin and held his hands. "He was still talking, I said, 'Stay down, don't move.'" Zimmerman said he saw a neighbor with a flashlight, and told the neighbor that he had already called police and that he needed help restraining Martin.

On a four-page written statement, Zimmerman wrote, "My head felt like it was going to explode." He repeatedly referred to Martin as a "suspect," a term prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda highlighted in his questioning.

De la Rionda asked Singleton if police officers used the term "suspect."

"Yes, if we suspect them of a crime, they're a suspect," Singleton replied.

Recounting a conversation with Zimmerman, Singleton said that the 29-year-old asked her if she was Catholic. She told him that she was Christian, and asked him why he had asked her the question. Zimmerman said it was because he noticed she was wearing a cross, Singleton said.

According to Singleton, Zimmerman said, "In the Catholic religion, no matter what, it's always wrong to kill someone."

"I said, 'If what you've said to me is truthful, I don't think that's what God meant that you can't save your own life," Singleton said.

Singleton also recounted telling Zimmerman that police officers hadn't yet been able to identify Martin.

"He said, 'He's dead?'" Singleton said. "I said, 'I thought you knew that.' He kinda slung his head and just shook it."

On cross examination, defense attorney Mark O'Mara asked Singleton whether he seemed affected by the news of Martin's death.

"He seemed affected by that," Singleton said.

Complete coverage of the George Zimmerman Trial-Trayvon Martin case on Crimesider

  • Erin Donaghue

    Erin Donaghue covers crime for CBSNews.com's Crimesider.

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