TODAY   |  July 01, 2013

Investigator in Zimmerman case could take stand

Sanford police detective Chris Serino, the lead investigator called to the scene the night Trayvon Martin was killed, is expected to take the stand in George Zimmerman’s second-degree murder trial today. NBC’s Kerry Sanders reports.

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

>>> we're back at 7:38. testimony at the george zimmerman murder trial is getting under way this morning. kerry sanders is following the trial for us. good morning to you.

>> reporter: good morning, savannah. this morning, the lead detective that handled this case is expected to take the stand. sanford police department 's chris sereno made it clear early on that he believed george zimmerman committed a crime.

>> the night george zimmerman killed trayvon martin, the lead investigator was called to the scene.

>> i shot him.

>> you see him talking to george zimmerman as he reenacted what he says happened. the tape was recorded the day after trayvon martin died.

>> face down.

>> face down and i was on his back.

>> the officer could testify as early as today in the second degree murder trial. prosecutors will talk to him about his investigative report that shows the detective wanted to charge zimmerman with manslaughter. in the report he said the armed neighborhood watch captain's actions were inconsistent with a person that stated he was in fear of another suspect. he wrote zimmerman had at least two opportunities to diffuse the circumstances surrounding their encounter.

>> back there they said are you following him?

>> reporter: despite the detective's conclusions, the state attorney chose not to charge zimmerman , and that sparked protests around the nation. florida's governor appointed a special prosecutor and 44 days after trayvon martin's death, zimmerman was charged with second degree murder. zimmerman pled not guilty saying he acted in self-defense.

>> the state versus george zimmerman .

>> reporter: in court on friday the jury heard from a state witness that called 911.

>> okay you can hear somebody yelling for help?

>> i'm pretty sure the guy is dead out here, holy [ bleep ].

>> the defense attorney play acted what the witness said he saw. trayvon martin on top of george zimmerman in a style popularized in mixed martial arts .

>> the person you know to be trayvon martin was on top.

>> correct.

>> and he was reigning blows down on the person on the bottom, george zimmerman , correct?

>> that's what it looked like.

>> who was on top of the fight may be important to determine who started the confrontation. meantime the officer is no longer a detective investigating for the sanford police department . he is back in uniform on patrol, at times on the midnight shift. the police department said he officially requested that reassignment.