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George Zimmerman trial: Defense set to continue case as the third week of testimony launches

George Zimmerman, right, greets one of his defense attorneys, Don West, during his trial in Seminole circuit court, Friday, July 5, 2013 in Sanford, Fla. AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Gary W. Green, Pool

Rachel, George Zimmerman Trial
George Zimmerman, right, greets one of his defense attorneys, Don West, during his trial in Seminole circuit court, Friday, July 5, 2013 in Sanford, Fla.
AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Gary W. Green, Pool

(CBS) -- The defense team for accused murderer George Zimmerman is set to continue its case Monday morning after the state rested its case following a dramatic day of testimony Friday.

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

PICTURES: George Zimmerman crime scene photos

READ: Trayvon Martin Shooting: A timeline of events

As the state called its final witnesses and the defense launched its case last week, jurors heard from family members of Zimmerman and slain Florida teen Trayvon Martin. Both Martin's mother and Zimmerman's mother said they recognized their sons as the person screaming for help in the background of a disputed 911 call. The call is a crucial piece of evidence because it could provide clues as to who was the aggressor in the fatal Feb. 26, 2012 confrontation.

Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch captain, is standing trial in Martin's shooting death in a Sanford, Fla gated community. He claims he shot the teen in self-defense.

Taking the stand Friday morning, when asked who was screaming on the call, Martin's mother Sybrina Fulton said, "Trayvon Benjamin Martin." In a stark contrast, Gladys Zimmerman testified late Friday afternoon that the voice on the tape was that of  "My son, George."

When asked if she was sure, she nodded, saying, "Because he's my son."

Gladys Zimmerman was the first witness called by the defense after the state rested its case, which spanned nearly nine days of testimony from numerous witnesses, including Fulton and Martin's brother, a medical examiner who conducted Martin's autopsy, a DNA analyst, and numerous neighbors, first responders and police officers who witnessed the fatal altercation or its aftermath. Prosecutors are attempting to prove that Zimmerman committed second-degree murder when he shot the teen.

In opening statements June 24, prosecutors recounted the profanity-laced statements Zimmerman used in a Feb. 26, 2012 non-emergency call placed to dispatchers to report Martin as a suspicious person in his neighborhood. They said Zimmerman profiled Martin as a criminal that evening and shot him because "he wanted to."

In a starkly different picture of events, defense attorneys said Zimmerman shot in self-defense after he was "viciously attacked" by Martin.

VIDEO: Zimmerman trial: Prosecutor opens with profanity

At a press conference called Friday evening, Zimmerman defense attorney Mark O'Mara hinted that he may ask the judge to consider allowing the jury to hear evidence pertaining to Martin's past as the defense continues its case. Before the trial launched, the defense publicly released photos and text messages from Martin's phone that alluded to Martin's alleged past fighting and marijuana use, but Circuit Judge Debra Nelson ruled the possible evidence can't be introduced unless the defense team can prove to her its relevance.

At the press conference, O'Mara said it was "very surprising" the state decided to delve into issues regarding Zimmerman's past. It is a move which he said could "open up" the case to make Martin's past relevant as well. Prosecutors called to the stand a military attorney who taught Zimmerman in a criminal litigation class, in which he said Florida's self-defense law was discussed at length.

Prosecutors have said the testimony proves Zimmerman lied when he said in an interview with Fox News television host Sean Hannity that he had no knowledge of Florida's "Stand your Ground" statue before the fatal altercation.

"It may put on the table what Trayvon Martin may have brought to the table that night, talking about past fighting and things like that," O'Mara said.

O'Mara also referenced the testimony of the medical examiner who testified Friday. Outside of the presence of the jury, Dr. Shiping Bao said he changed his opinion about the effects of marijuana found in Martin's system - he initially said the levels detected would have no effect on the teen, but after conducting more research, he said he found it "could" have impacted Martin.

"We now have Dr. Bao who said as a matter of fact, it does have some effect," O'Mara said. "....I think [Nelson's] stance was, prove to me the relevance before you let the jury see that. We'll try to do that and see her decision."

Testimony is set to resume at 9 a.m.

  • Erin Donaghue

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

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