iOS app Android app More

Danielle Cadet

New Evidence From Trayvon Martin Case May Complicate Public Debate


New Trayvon Martin Evidence

The debate surrounding what happened the night of Trayvon Martin's death and how the trial of his accused shooter will progress, will become more complex as the public learns new details from recently released evidence.

The State Attorney's Office officially released on Thursday a hefty collection of court documents including 67 CDs of witness statements, 911 calls, non-emergency calls, photos and surveillance videos, WESH Orlando reports.

The release is a major development and follows recently leaked information that revealed new details of the case earlier this week. But whether the information will prove beneficial to the defense or the prosecution remains unclear.

George Zimmerman killed an unarmed Martin on Feb. 26 in the gated community where Martin's father's girlfriend lived in Sanford, Fla. Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer called 911 and told a police dispatcher that Martin, who was returning from a trip to a nearby convenience store, "looked suspicious." After an altercation, Zimmerman shot Martin in the chest, subsequently telling local police that it was an act of self-defense.

Zimmerman has since been charged in the shooting and released on bond.

According to details from an autopsy report, which came to light Wednesday, Martin's death was caused by a single gunshot wound to the chest fired from "intermediate range," NBC News reported. One legal expert said that discovery alone will inevitably be a key for both sides.

"Time and space are often critical determinants in self defense cases," Ronald Carlson, professor at University of Georgia Law told The Huffington Post Black Voices. "Defendants often are at an advantage by saying 'the attacker was very close to me, I was in imminent danger of death.'"

"Intermediate range" can constitute anywhere from 8 inches to about 4 feet. Carlson said the case could rest heavily on that distance.

"If the [medical examiner] who will testify for the state comes toward the shorter range, that's not necessarily inconsistent with Zimmerman's account. But if we're out at 4 feet, then that's going to be very helpful to the prosecutor. If the evidence suggests that the person was not as close, then that puts the kibosh on the defendant's story."

Information from Martin's autopsy report emerged just one day after the medical records from Zimmerman's family physician were released, indicating that Zimmerman had a broken nose, two black eyes, lacerations to the back of the head and a minor back injury.

Carlson said the medical reports align with Zimmerman's account of the confrontation. "The damage to Zimmerman is clearly corroborated by the injuries, the location and the severity," he said. "Clearly, there was a big conflict going on."

But Benjamin Crump, an attorney for Martin’s family, said the leaked medical reports raise more questions than answers.
“You have to take all of this in full context,” Crump told The Huffington Post this afternoon. “When someone leaks information they do it for a reason. Someone is trying to manipulate and bolster George Zimmerman’s self-defense claims.”

A number of points remain troubling, Crump said, from the information gleaned from the medical records and the fact that Zimmerman visited his family doctor the day after the shooting.

ABC News reported on Wednesday that Zimmerman sought an appointment with his family doctor to get legal clearance to return to work, which Crump said is a clear indication that Zimmerman was not as badly hurt as he claimed.

The leaked report said Zimmerman was taking the prescription drugs Adderall, which is prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy, and Temazepam, an insomnia medication, said Crump.

“He was on uppers and downers at the same time,” the attorney said. “These are medications that can cause side effects such as agitation, delusions and mood swings. That’s what he was on prior to the shooting. The question becomes, did those drugs have an effect on George Zimmerman the night he shot and killed Trayvon Martin?”

ABC News also reported that the teen had traces of the drug THC, which is found in marijuana, in his system the night of the shooting.

As for the trial itself, Carlson said it could be a challenge for the prosecution simply because Zimmerman is the only witness to Martin's death. "The story line is going to be set first and foremost by the surviving party," he said. "It's not insurmountable, but it certainly gives the edge in the opening stages to the defense."

Loading Slideshow...
  • A photograph of George Zimmerman taken the night he shot and killed Trayvon Martin in Sanford, FL.

  • The gun George Zimmerman used to shoot Trayvon Martin can be seen in this evidence photo.

  • George Zimmerman's gun and clip can be seen in this evidence photograph taken by Sanford police. Zimmerman shot and killed Martin after an altercation with the unarmed teen, who was returning to the house where his father was staying on February 26 after a trip to a nearby 7-Eleven.

  • George Zimmerman photographed by police the night he shot and killed Trayvon Martin in a gated community in Sanford, FL.

  • Cuts can be seen on the face of George Zimmerman in this photo taken by police on the night he shot and killed Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman claims that Martin attacked him and banged his head repeatedly on the ground, prompting Zimmerman to shoot the teenager in self-defense.

  • Cuts can be seen on the face of George Zimmerman in this photograph taken the night he shot and killed Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman says he shot Martin during an altercation in which Martin slammed his head repeatedly into the ground.

  • George Zimmerman, photographed by police on the night he shot Trayvon Martin in Sanford, FL.

  • Blood can be seen on the head of George Zimmerman in this police photo taken the night he shot and killed Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman claims he shot Martin, an unarmed teenager, in self-defense.

  • Blood can be seen on the head of George Zimmerman in this police photo taken the night he shot and killed Trayvon Martin.

  • Blood and bruises can be seen on the head of George Zimmerman in this police photo taken the night he shot and killed Trayvon Martin.

  • In this Feb. 27, 2012 image taken from a Sanford Police video posted on a website called by George Zimmerman'sdefense team, Zimmerman speaks to investigators, (not shown) at the scene of Trayvon Martin's fatal shooting a day later giving police a blow-by-blow account of his fight with the teen. On the tape, Zimmerman did a reenactment of the scuffle with Martin in the moments before he shot the 17-year-old from Miami. (AP Photo/Sanford Police video via Zimmerman Defense Team)

  • This photo released by the Seminole County Sheriff's Office shows Shellie Zimmerman. Zimmerman, the wife of the Trayvon Martin shooter George Zimmerman, was charged with perjury and accused of lying when she told a judge that the couple had limited funds during a hearing that resulted in her husband being released on $150,000 bond. She was released on $1,000 bond. (AP Photo/Seminole County Sheriff's Office)