George Zimmerman, with his fancy court clothes and silk ties, has done everything in his power to make himself look like the victim in the Trayvon Martin shooting case. And the evidence dump this week, including detailed photos appearing to corroborate part of Zimmerman’s story– that Martin broke his nose and inflicted various cuts on the back of his head– helps him to a degree.
But as good as defense attorney Mark O’Mara was in catching one of the investigators with his pants down at the bond hearing a few weeks ago, it’s my belief that not only will the judge deny Zimmerman immunity under Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, but that there will be a jury trial on the 2nd degree murder charge resulting in a conviction. The 51% provision in the law– that only a slim preponderance of evidence is required for immunity from prosecution under Stand Your Ground, seems shy of a slam dunk.
Various pundits have been weighing in on all of this for several days. Everyone agrees that it is still unclear as to who started the alleged slug fest in the rain and in the dark in which Martin was shot to death and Zimmerman ended up with a broken nose and surface wounds on the back of the head..
However, as many have noted, Zimmerman’s own words to the 911 operator on the night of the incident indicate that he not only pursued Martin, but refused to stand down and wait for the police as he had been instructed to do. There’s no refuting the 911 call nearly everyone has heard. You hear Zimmerman running on the tape, stating that Martin had disappeared around a corner.
These are facts that will not disappear simply because Mark O’Mara is a good lawyer. There is absolutely no way that Zimmerman’s actions do not constitute the initiation of a confrontation.
Martin’s girlfriend’s statements further support the court’s denial of immunity to Zimmerman. Here is an AP summary of her account of the phone conversation she was having with him in the minutes leading up to his death:
“The cell connection was bad, and the couple were repeatedly disconnected. But at one point, Martin told her he noticed a white man sitting in a car, watching him.
“He was telling me, like, that man watching him, he going to start walking and then the phone hung up and I called him back again,” the girl said. “And I said, ‘What you doing? And he said he walking and he said this man still following him.”
It was drizzling, and the girl said Martin told her he was putting up his hood.
“I told him go to his dad’s house,” she said.
Martin told her that he was going to run. She could hear the wind blowing in the phone’s speaker.
“He was breathing hard,” she said. “(his) voice kinda changed. I know he was scared. (his) voice was getting kinda low.”
Suddenly, she heard Martin say, “Why you following me for?”
The girl said she could hear another voice, one she described as deep and belonging to an “old man.”
“The old man say, ‘What you doing around here?'”
She asked Martin repeatedly what was going on, but he didn’t respond. She said she heard someone say, “Get off,” though she thought it was her boyfriend.”
Given this account, it isn’t hard to imagine that Zimmerman had caught up to Martin, that there was a brief stand-off and, according to other witnesses who saw Martin on top of Zimmerman, the kid had gotten the upper hand and was letting him have it, in full fight or flight mode.
It is also telling that the police summary included in the evidence released this week states that if Zimmerman hadn’t gotten out of his vehicle and followed Martin, the incident would never have taken place. That lends gravitas to the indictment. And it belies Zimmerman’s statement that he was returning to his car when he was attacked by Martin.
It’s also of interest to me that according to Zimmerman he was pinned to the grass and sidewalk being punched by Martin, with the two in full bore physical contact, and yet managed somehow to get his gun out of its holster and fire it. How would you do that?
And the screams for help, sounding increasingly guttural and desperate, appear to me to be more consistent with Zimmerman having broken free and put Martin at gunpoint and then firing the weapon. According to the medical examiner, the fatal wound was indicative of there being between 6 and 18 inches between Zimmerman and Martin when the gun was fired.
Finally, some of us have had the thought that it is quite strange Zimmerman didn’t go to the hospital for his alleged injuries that night. To me it is hardly out of the question that Zimmerman, who aspires to be a cop, was studying criminal justice, and taking himself seriously enough to be carrying a handgun, might have broken his own nose and somehow gashed his own head to make it look like his killing of Martin was justified.
All over America armchair sleuths like me are pondering and blogging this case. It’s the middle of the night , with a long, long way to go on this one.