SANFORD, Fla. -- A judge tossed out a detective's statement that he found George Zimmerman credible in his description of fighting with Trayvon Martin, a decision that benefits prosecutors who are trying to discredit the defendant's self-defense claims.
Other efforts by prosecutors to attack Zimmerman's story yesterday included the testimony of a doctor who found the defendant's injuries to be insignificant.
Prosecutors took the unusual step of trying to pick apart the statements of an investigator they'd called as a prosecution witness because some of what he said appeared to help the defense.
Prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda asked the judge to strike former Det. Chris Serino's statement that he thought Zimmerman was credible when he described how he got into a fight with Martin. Serino was the lead investigator on the case for the Sanford Police Department.
De la Rionda argued the statement was improper because one witness isn't allowed to evaluate another witness's credibility. Defense attorney Mark O'Mara argued that it's Serino's job to decide whether Zimmerman was telling the truth.
Judge Debra Nelson told jurors to disregard the statement.
"This is an improper comment," the judge said.
Zimmerman has said he fatally shot the unarmed black 17-year-old in self-defense in February 2012 because Martin was banging his head into a concrete sidewalk. Zimmerman, 29, could get life in prison if convicted of second-degree murder. He has pleaded not guilty.
Prosecutors called a medical examiner who had reviewed evidence for them to the witness stand. Dr. Valerie Rao testified that Zimmerman's injuries were insignificant, bolstering the prosecution's claims that Zimmerman's life wasn't in jeopardy during his fight with Martin.
"They were so minor that the individual who treated and examined Mr. Zimmerman decided stitches weren't required," Rao said.