Nightly News   |  June 27, 2013

Defense challenges a key prosecution witness in Zimmerman trial

During day four of testimony George Zimmerman’s attorney, Don West, attempted to show inconsistencies in accounts given by Rachel Jeantel, the last person to speak with Trayvon Martin on the phone before he was shot and killed. Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of Martin and has pleaded not guilty. NBC’s Ron Mott reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> stand again today, the woman on the phone with trayvon martin in the moments leading up to the deadly confrontation. she faced tough questions from the defense, trying to shake her story. ron mott outside the courthouse in sanford, florida. good evening.

>> reporter: good evening to you. round two between the defense and key prosecution witness. it was just as tense today as yesterday. it was not backing down.

>> are you okay this morning?

>> yes.

>> you seem so different than yesterday. just checking. did someone -- did someone talk with you last night about your demeanor in court yesterday?

>> no, i went to sleep.

>> reporter: 19-year-old rachel jeantel was less animated as defense attorney don west worked to show inconsistencies in her various accounts of the phone call .

>> describing the person is what made you think it was racial?

>> yes.

>> and he described him as a creepy [ bleep ] [ bleep ].

>> yes.

>> so it was racial, but it was because trayvon martin put race in this.

>> no.

>> you don't think that's a racial comment?

>> no.

>> reporter: but west questioned why jeantel in a letter to his mother, left out the description of the man following trayvon.

>> of course you wouldn't say it to ybrina fulton, because it was offensive.

>> yes.

>> reporter: and why she told martin's family she was in the hospital and couldn't attend the week.

>> yes, that was a lie.

>> reporter: she could or could not say get off to zimmerman.

>> could you tell who was saying that? i could have heard trayvon.

>> i could hear trayvon.

>> could have is what this said.

>> trust me, they messed up. i could hear trayvon.

>> i don't think the defense was able to shake her from her essential story. that trayvon martin told her he was being followed and was concerned about it.

>> reporter: today, the woman who made the 911 call testified she heard cries.

>> the yeps turned to help. it was one person.

>> how could you say it was one american?

>> sounded like the same person the whole time.

>> reporter: and zimmerman pleaded not guilty, saying he shot martin in self-defense. the trial is expected to last three weeks, brian.

>> ron mott, thanks.