SANFORD, Fla. -

George Zimmerman trial defense attorneys called one of his paternal figures up to the witness stand Monday.

Vietnam war veteran medic John Donnelly was in tears in the courtroom and said he loved Zimmerman like a son.  Donnelly said he taught Zimmerman how to do the Windsor tie and spent about $1,700 in clothes so that he could show “respect for the process.” Donnelly also wrote a check for $2,500 and contributed $500 to Zimmerman’s defense.

Defense attorney Mark O’Mara said his war experience made Donnelly specially gifted at recognizing desperate screams for help in the midst of combat.  

“I have heard a 250 pound man scream like a little girl,” Donnelly said.

The screams for help captured in a 911 call made Feb. 26, 2012, Donnelly said, were “definitely” from Zimmerman.

“There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that it’s George Zimmerman,” Donnelly said.
Donnelly was one of the five friends who recognized him as the screamer in a 911 call recording. The victim’s family attributes the screams to Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old Zimmerman killed.

After his testimony, prosecutors asked Judge Debra Nelson to exclude his statements. Prosecutor Richard Mantei said the defense failed to inform the prosecution that Donnelly was going to testify on the 911 call.

During his deposition, he denied having listened to the recording. Nelson did not strike his testimony.