Judge: George Zimmerman's school records are fair game

Day 8 of George Zimmerman trial

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SANFORD, Fla. - Prosecutors  will use records of George Zimmerman's education in criminal justice at the Seminole State College, as evidence that his interest in law enforcement prompted vigilante behavior.

Zimmerman is facing a second-degree murder charge for killing Trayvon Martin Feb. 26, 2012. He claims he killed in self-defense; the prosecution is working to disprove that. Judge Debra Nelson ruled Wednesday that the prosecution can present the school records to the jury.

"Testimony is substantive," Nelson said.

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The discussion began Tuesday and ended Wednesday morning. Prosecutor Richard Mantei asked Nelson to allow them to present the jury evidence that shows the defendant's state of mind.

"The jury ought to know ... they deserve to hear the rest of the story," Mantei said.

Defense attorney Mark O'Mara argued Zimmerman's past was as irrelevant as Trayvon's past. Nelson disagreed and said they were separate issues.

READ: Jurors will read Zimmerman's homework

Prosecutors also want to show Zimmerman knew how the state's self-defense law works prior to the shooting. On Tuesday, prosecutors showed the the jury an interview with talk show host Sean Hannity in which Zimmerman claimed he did not know the Stand-Your-Ground law

Stand-Your-Ground law:  A person may justifiably use force in self-defense  when there is reasonable belief of an unlawful threat.

Mantei said Zimmerman's ride along request to Sanford Police, a job application to a police agency in Virginia and testimony from his teacher Gordon S. Pleasants were also relevant.

"It shows that this defendant has had that interest," Mantei said referring to Zimmerman's interest in law enforcement.

O'Mara said Tuesday the prosecution was engaging in a "witch hunt." On Wednesday, O'Mara also said that his client's school records were as irrelevant to the case, as the Valentine's note he wrote in first grade.  

Prosecution is "going to argue that he was a seething cop wannabe," O'Mara said.

Before the trial began, the defense considered the term "cop wannabe" an inflammatory term. Nelson disagreed. 

Earlier in the trial, prosecutors asked that two of Zimmerman's college books and class related e-mails be entered into evidence. Nelson allowed it.

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