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SANFORD, Fla. (AP) — A friend who was on the phone with 17-year-old Trayvon Martin moments before he was fatally shot by George Zimmerman testified that she heard the Miami teen shout, “Get off! Get off!” before his telephone went dead.

Rachel Jeantel recounted to jurors in Zimmerman’s second-degree murder trial how Martin told her he was being followed by a man as he walked through the Retreat at Twin Lakes townhome complex on his way back from a convenience store to the home of his father’s fiancee.

Jeantel is considered one of the prosecution’s most important witnesses because she was the last person to talk to Martin before his encounter with Zimmerman on Feb. 26, 2012.

She testified that Martin described the man following him as “a creepy-ass cracker” and he thought he had evaded him. But she said a short time later Martin let out a profanity.

Martin said Zimmerman was behind him and she heard Martin ask: “What are you following me for?”

She then heard what sounded like Martin’s phone earpiece drop into the grass and she heard him say, “Get off! Get off!” The phone then went dead, she said.

Zimmerman, 29, could get life in prison if convicted of second-degree murder for killing Martin. Zimmerman followed him in his truck and called a police dispatch number before he and the teen got into a fight.

Zimmerman has claimed self-defense, saying he opened fire after the teenager jumped him and began slamming his head against the concrete sidewalk.

Zimmerman, whose father is white and whose mother is Hispanic, has denied the confrontation with the black teenager had anything to do with race, as Martin’s family and its supporters have claimed.

Jeantel’s testimony came after two former neighbors of Zimmerman testified Wednesday about hearing howls and shouts for help in the moments before the shooting.

Jayne Surdyka told the court that immediately before the shooting, she heard an aggressive voice and a softer voice exchanging words for several minutes in an area behind her townhome at the Retreat at Twin Lakes.

“It was someone being very aggressive and angry at someone,” she said.

During the struggle, she said, she saw a person in dark clothes on top of the other person. Martin was wearing a dark sweatshirt and Zimmerman wore red clothing. Surdyka said she saw the person who was on top get off the body after the shot was fired.

Surdyka said she heard cries for help and then multiple gunshots: “pop, pop, pop.” Only one shot was fired in the fatal encounter.

“I truly believe the second yell for help was a yelp,” said Surdyka, who later dabbed away tears as prosecutors played her 911 call. “It was excruciating. I really felt it was a boy’s voice.”

During cross-examination, defense attorney Don West tried to show there was a lapse in what Surdyka saw. Defense attorneys contend Martin was on top of Zimmerman during the struggle, but after the neighborhood watch volunteer fired a shot, Zimmerman got on top of Martin.

West also challenged Surdyka about her belief that the cry for help was a boy’s voice, saying she was making an assumption about whose voice it was.

Jeannee Manalo testified after Surdyka that she believed Zimmerman was on top of Martin, saying he was the bigger of the two based on pictures she saw of Martin on television after the fight. Manalo also described hearing howling, but she couldn’t tell who it was coming from, and then a “help sound” a short time later.

Under cross-examination, defense attorney Mark O’Mara asked why she had never mentioned her belief that Zimmerman was on top in previous police interviews. He also got her to concede that her perception of Martin’s size was based on five-year-old photos she had seen of him on television that showed a younger and smaller Martin.

Martin’s parents have said they believe the cries for help captured on 911 calls made by Zimmerman’s neighbors came from their son, while Zimmerman’s father has said he believes the cries belong to his son. Both prosecutors and defense attorneys believe they could show whether Zimmerman or Martin was the aggressor in the encounter. Defense attorneys successfully argued against allowing prosecution experts who claimed the cries belonged to Martin.

Before the February 2012 shooting, Zimmerman had made about a half dozen calls to a nonemergency police number to report suspicious characters in his neighborhood. Judge Debra Nelson on Wednesday ruled that they could be played for jurors.

Prosecutors had argued that the police dispatch calls were central to their case that Zimmerman committed second-degree murder since they showed his state of mind. He was increasingly frustrated with repeated burglaries and had reached a breaking point the night he shot the unarmed teenager, prosecutors say.

Defense attorneys argued that the calls were irrelevant and that nothing matters but the seven or eight minutes before Zimmerman fired the deadly shot into Martin’s chest.

Seven of the nine jurors and alternates scribbled attentively on their notepads as the calls were played.

(Photo: AP)

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28 thoughts on “Trayvon Martin’s Friend Describes Final Phone Call

  1. Donna on said:

    My suspicious were correct about this young lady. In the back of my mind something didn’t seem right about this young lade. She has a disability; she can’t read or write long hand. I she has a learning disability. She’s scared I really thought she would not have to get involved. Being a person who loves jury duty, right now it might seem that George Zimmerman will walk, however I have faith that this isn’t over until the fat lady sings.

    • joey on said:

      @ Donna I agree she does have a disability but she cannot help that one, it goes to show you about our American school system..

      she is doing the best she can. But I do believe that with this all white woman jury he will proberly get the lesser charge of Manslaughter and I say that to be real in my mind, because even today the Justice system is not made for people of color.

      • joey: You said…..”it goes to show you about our American School System”. What about the PARENTS SYSTEM??!! Ultimately it’s parents responsibility to make sure that their kids can read, write, and do arithmetic. Time out for ONLY (JUST) blaming “the system”.

      • @ Joy yes your right, It does have a lot to do with the parents, you are so very Right,,,

        I have someone in my family who has Dyslexia and she is a very bright girl but she never let her disability stop her from anything.

        So it is up to the parents to make sure there children are able to READ, WRITE AND HAVE THE PROPER TOOLS. I THANK YOU. for acknowledging that to me….

  2. Let’s face it, it’ll be a cold day in hell before GZ is convicted. This child is being called a low life and deserves to die because he smoked weed and walked to the store and was walking back home. If everyone who smoked weed as a teenager is labeled a thug, there wouldn’t be too many deceit people left. Put doubt in the minds of 5 white women that this black child could (or most likely) be up to no good because he was walking where they have decided he shouldn’t be walking. Affirmative action, voting rights, etc. Whites are at war. Times are hard and they are not about to give up their seat to a n…. Just calling it, Paula Dean is not alone. I ask my brothers and sisters to join me in the fight not to let that happen. Young black men, pull up your pants, forget what lame minded rappers are saying and fight profiling by not being a profile. Then they will have a harder time beating you down. I have 5 grandsons and it makes me sick to have to explain that they are told they are free, but not really. Don’t wear a hoodie, that’s a good reason to kill a black kid. Yes, 17 is a kid. Sorry, in a perfect world you would not have to do this, no as a black person, you are not really free in this country. Think of Martin Luther King. He devised a plan and other blacks followed him. That’s what we need now, a plan. Just like it took laws to keep us in Jim Crow, it took laws to get us out of Jim Crow, now they want to use laws to put us back into Jim Crow. Black people wake up and smell the coffee before it is too late.

    • joey on said:

      @ Deb well said and well written I have to agree. to all you said because I have to admit I live in las Vegas the GOOD OLE BOYS TOWN,, yes and I have went to walgreen’s everynight to buy the same tea Arizona tea that trayvon bought at that store,, Yes that is my favorite ,,

      I buy the Ginseng with honey, I have to Admit Deb that I do not drink that tea out in the open may-be I’m paranoid but I do not drink in the parking-lot of the store or stay in my car and drink it,

      The police departments out here are very Racist even the Black one’s they seem to be worse than the white officer’s. Now-a-days we have to be aware of, that they are not here to protect and serve
      to any of us. that is the bottom line. They have a license to Kill and that is the real deal…

  3. jhuff on said:

    this trial has several notable quotables one being “he shot an unarmed black kid”.. unarmed
    black kids are shot every day on the streets of chicago,LA,NYC

    • Carlette86 on said:

      Regardless of what you think this young man was, he did not deserve to be shot. People are always quick to judge, until it is one of their own. Just imagine if everyone had the same mentality as GZ,a lot of us would be dead right now, including you. Look at the facts, it’s clear to see. Let the police do their job. God bless you

  4. I watched most of this young lady’s testimony and while her demeanor was a bit disturbing she never swayed from those last words she heard from her friend. “Get off, get off”. That’s what the neighbor testified she heard too. I pray the jury gets that. I also saw GZ’s account of what he says happened that night with the police. He seemed to be making it up as he went along. I hope they see that as well. My thoughts and prayers are with the parents as they seek justice for the death of their son…

  5. joey on said:

    What I believe is that zimmerman would have gotten away with this, if florida had not marched and printed tee shirts for martin,,

    THe marching and the out-cry of My people was heard By GOD,, and the reason why they are having this trial is because his parents pushed to get this man. and florida did not want a RIOT,,

    I believe trayvon had no idea that some stranger would be following him that night Trayvon was only a seventeen yr old young man, and he deserved to live. he was Hunted down and killed, now with an all white woman jury we have to know that the justice system has never worked for people of color,,

    THe young woman who is on the stand today is young and not prepared for the biggest trial of our history, also we have to remember that this young woman did not want to really get invovled with this case but she thought she would be helping his parents, CONVICT THIS MAN, BUT WE HAVE TO REALIZE THIS SYSTEM IS DESIGNED ONLY FOR A CERTAIN KIND OF PERSONS,… I PRAY AND HOPE THAT GOD STEPS IN AND GIVES MR. AND MRS MARTIN JUSTICE.

    • Yes Joey – those t-shirts did the trick!. Now, if you can just get the prosecution’s “star” witness to stop mumbling as she attempts to tell her lies in English (tough to do when your native language is “ebonics”). After enduring her mind-numbing ramblings, I think Mr. Zimmerman shot the wrong person.

      • joey on said:

        @ kay what I was trying to say was this is one of the biggest trial’s in history, OJ simpson was one

        Casey anthony which was a woman who killed her child because we all know if she was black she would have been under the jail,

        Don’t forget the Trial of Rodney king,, THe trial of Malice Green in Detroit who was murdered by two white officer’s coleman young made sure those Racist cops went to prison.. so yes this will be one of them we will all look back on.. ( Do you understand now),,,

    • Serpentine on said:

      In another post, I was really pissed at this young lady because I thought her behavior jeopardized her credibility, which may have influence on the jurors. I think I’m going to fault the prosecutors for failing to let her know what the defense’s strategy was, which was to totally get her riled up and confuse her. Give her a break. I don’t believe she’s trying sabotage this trial on purpose, she just has a poor delivery. Let’s hope tomorrow, she’ll have a better day. In the end, let’s also hope the jurors will only consider her testimony and not be swayed by her demeanor.

      • Serpentine on said:

        Maybe you should read my post again. You appear to have me mixed up with someone like you that can’t comprehend a paragraph containing more than one sentence. Get a grip.

  6. the Timekeeper on said:

    I agreee. But lets not forget she is only a teenager as well. I agree she is a bit shaly, but the defense is bordering on badgering her as a witness. Of course, these ” white” foks on this jury are looking foa any excuse too equit Mr. Zimmerwoman. The fact is, she was talking to Trayvon when that punk of a neighborhlld wathcdog rolled up on him with every intention of taking Trayvon’s life. Nothing can take that Truth away.

    • Serpentine on said:

      I agree, but it only takes one juror to say they don’t believe her, and he’ll go free. From the evidence I’ve heard so far, it looks good for the prosecutor. So far.

    • Don’t think GZ intended to kill Trayvon but he did intend to do something about those F***ing Punks who always get away. I think GZ started the fight Trayvon fought back and as a result of Trayvon winning the fight he was shot dead for it.

  7. Serpentine on said:

    She was credible up until the defense brought up the lies she told. Thus putting doubt in the jury’s minds about her truthfulness.

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