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George Zimmerman Trial: Prosecutors push to admit neighborhood watch volunteer's previous calls to dispatchers

George Zimmerman, left, arrives in Seminole circuit court, with his wife Shellie, on the 11th day of his trial, in Sanford, Fla., Monday, June 24, 2013. Zimmerman is accused in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder for the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Joe Burbank, Pool) Joe Burbank

Zimmerman trial photos
George Zimmerman, left, arrives in Seminole circuit court, with his wife Shellie, on the 11th day of his trial, in Sanford, Fla., Monday, June 24, 2013.
Joe Burbank

(CBS/AP) SANFORD, Fla. - A prosecutor says past police dispatcher calls made by George Zimmerman should be presented to jurors at his second-degree murder trial. 

PICTURES: George Zimmerman in court

READ: Trayvon Martin Shooting: A timeline of events

The calls were placed in the months before Zimmerman's Feb. 26 call to dispatchers reporting Trayvon Martin as a suspicious person in his neighborhood. Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch volunteer, is accused in the Florida teen's shooting death in a Sanford, Fla. gated community.

Prosecutor Richard Mantei told a Florida judge Tuesday that the half-dozen calls are central to the prosecution's argument that he committed second-degree murder since it shows his state of mind. Mantei said the calls demonstrate Zimmerman's prior "profiling," and will give jurors context on a "building level of frustration this defendant had" that the suspicious people he reported in his neighborhood were getting away, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

The prosecutor says it shows ill will and provides context to his fatal encounter with 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

VIDEO: Zimmerman trial: Prosecutor opens with profanity

Zimmerman is pleading not guilty, claiming self-defense.

His defense attorney says the calls are irrelevant and shouldn't be introduced.

Attorneys and Circuit Judge Debra Nelson listened to the calls in court Tuesday morning before the jury was called into the courtroom. "We've had a lot of break-ins in our neighborhood recently, I'm on the neighborhood watch," Zimmerman said in one of the calls. "There are two suspicious characters at the gate of my neighborhood. I've never seen them before - I have no idea what they're doing. They're just hanging out, loitering."

VIDEO: George Zimmerman trial: Self-defense, murder at case's core

The judge didn't immediately rule on whether the jury would be able to hear the calls. Testimony was continuing Tuesday morning with Ramona Rumph of the communications division of the Seminole County Sheriff's Office.

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

  • Erin Donaghue

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

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