Lead investigator: Zimmerman's 'f----- punks' statement out of 'ill will and spite'

ill will, spite are key for 2nd degree murder

SANFORD, Fla. - The original lead investigator on the George Zimmerman murder case got a grilling from the state prosecutor Tuesday morning.

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Detective Chris Serino returned to the stand for his second day of testimony in the second degree murder trial.

Prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda came out swinging, perhaps trying to salvage the witness that he called. On Monday the detective seemed to do more favors for the defense.

The state zeroed in on Zimmerman's own words that February night -- the words that make him look angry, and on a mission.

"Did you hear that last statement defendant made, pardon my language, these f----- punks?" Bernie de la Rionda asked Detective Serino. "Does that seem like a friendly comment about somebody else?"

"No sir, it's not," Serino said.

It will be hard for the jury to forget Zimmerman's comments. It was the first thing out of prosecutor John Guy's mouth last week in opening statements.

"These f----- punks. These a--- h----. They always get away," he said to the jury.

On Tuesday, de la Rionda kept reminding the jury of Zimmerman's harsh language.

In one important moment, he got Serino to agree about Zimmerman's intent.

"Does that indicate ill will, hatred, or spite?" de la Rionda asked.

"No it does not," Serino said. He later clarified.

"In your opinion, calling someone as, pardon my language, f---- punks…" de la Rionda said again.

Serino: "That is ill will and spite."

This testimony is significant because in order to get a second degree murder conviction, the state must prove -- under Florida law -- that killing Martin was done from "ill will, hatred, spite, or evil intent."

During re-cross examination, the defense suggested Zimmerman's colorful language was simply slang -- terms even detectives use.

"Would you agree, that if you were talking to someone about something, that you have used the term a-- h----, thsouands of times in your life?" Mark O'Mara asked.

Serino: "I have used it, yeah."

Serino's "ill will and spite" testimony is crucial for the state, however, Serino also told that jury that he found Zimmerman's self defense claim believable.

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