The last day of the prosecution’s case, day 9, began with the testimony of Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin’s mother.  She testified that Trayvon Martin was right handed.  The prosecution played the 911 call with screaming in the background and she identified Trayvon Martin as the one screaming.  On cross-examination, Mark O’Mara apologized for her loss and the prosecution objected.  The defense questioned her about how her original identification came about.  She told the jury that she wasn’t present when the mayor and the police discussed concerns over releasing the tape before the investigation was complete.  She also stated she didn’t know anything about the police not being allowed to be present as the tape was played for the mayor and Martin family members.  She testified that she only knew that the police were outside.  She stated that the tape was not played for everyone individually, it was played for everyone altogether.  She indicated that no one including, Tracy Martin stated that they had ever heard the tape before.

The defense questioned the credibility of her identification.  She resisted this line of questioning.  They asked her if she were to listen to the tape and not hear her son screaming then that increased the probability he caused his own death.  She stated she didn’t understand the question.  Mr. O’Mara rephrased that if she were to listen to the tape and not hear Trayvon, but instead George Zimmerman that would mean that something else happened that could have been Trayvon’s fault.  She reiterated that she knew it was her son.  The defense attempted another question, but the prosecution objected to speculation and it was sustained.  The defense questioned her about hoping it was her son.  She responded that she didn’t hope anything, she just listened.  She testified that she didn’t know what the tape was about before it was played for everyone.  She was asked again about everyone listening together and she responded that they all heard it at the same time, but “they heard the tape themselves.”  She testified she was the first person to respond to the tape being played and no one else told her their thoughts on it.  She reiterated that no one even told her the tape had screams on it in the first place.  On redirect, the prosecution went for a more emotional impact.  They asked Ms. Fulton if she still hopes her son was alive?  She, obviously, said yes and then they asked her if she enjoyed listening to the tape?  Again, obviously, she said no.  On recross, the defense apologized for having to put her through this more.  Ms. Fulton told the jury that what she hoped was that “this would not have happened” and her son would still be alive.  He asked her if she hoped that, as a mom, her son didn’t do anything wrong?  She didn’t understand the question, so the defense let it go.  She also testified that she has only heard it the one time outside of the trial.

The next witness was Javaris Fulton, Trayvon Martin’s half-brother.  He testified that he was told on Monday, Feb. 27th that Trayvon had died, by his mother.  He testified that he has heard the tape 10-15 times on the computer and TV.  He positively identified Trayvon as the one “yelling and screaming.”  He was asked if he ever heard him yelling, he stated, “I’ve heard him yell, not like that, but yes.”  On cross-examination, he told the jury he wasn’t sure at first that it was Trayvon.  He stated that he did talk to a reporter in March of 2012 and he did tell them he wasn’t sure.  He testified that the first time he ever listened to the recording was in the mayor’s office with everyone else.  He testified, that “I guess I didn’t want it to be him.”  He was questioned further about the interview, but couldn’t recall specific things about what the reporter asked him or whether or not the reporter played the 911 call for him then.  He became confused and stated that he didn’t know what the defense was talking about anymore.

Out of the presence of the jury, his memory was refreshed.  The interview excerpt was played for him.  The defense wanted to play the excerpt for the jury because it was the best evidence of what Mr. Fulton thought at the time and the equivocation of not knowing was much more distinct then he presented to the jury.  The prosecution objected saying it was improper impeachment because he agreed with his answers in the interview.  The judge sustained.  In the tape, Javaris Fulton states he is “honestly” not sure.

The jury returned.  Mr. Fulton further testified that he heard the recording twice that day at the mayor’s office, but didn’t want to listen to it again after that for awhile because it was too emotional.  The defense also questioned how well Trayvon and Javaris knew each other.  He testified that they had different friends and didn’t interact on social media.  On redirect, the prosecution went for emotional testimony and asked Javaris if it was difficult to listen to the tape of his brother screaming?  He answered affirmatively.  He reiterated that he told the reporter he didn’t want to think it was his brother, but he wasn’t sure.  The prosecution asked, do you now believe it was your brother?  “Yes.”

The entire morning there was an issue with the evidence room lock and a locksmith was called.  The court was recessed for about an hour.  When it was fixed, Sybrina Fulton was recalled to identify Trayvon Martin’s button he was wearing that night.

The next witness was the Medical Examiner who performed the autopsy on Trayvon Martin, Dr. Shiping Bao.  A Chinese native, it was clear that he didn’t fully grasp English, but his testimony was bizarre and at times, seemingly rude.  Though he effectively grasped the difference between opinion and fact, which is refreshing.  The cause of death, he determined, was a gun shot wound to the chest and the manner of death was homicide meaning killed by another person.  During most of the prosecution’s direct, Dr. Bao would interrupt Bernie de la Rionda’s questions and just say he wanted to talk about something else and they let him.  He basically provided a narrative of what he did.  It seemed as though he was reading from his notes, but the court was not alerted to that fact.  This was cleared up on cross-examination.  He explained the procedure he went through and his findings of the bullet path.  He testified that it is his opinion that Trayvon Martin was still alive for some time after death.  He began to inform the jury of the difference between an opinion and fact and why that is so pivotal to the justice system.  Several times throughout Dr. Bao’s testimony, when the defense would object he would respond to them even though he stated he has testified in court before.  He even tried to talk to the jury during a sidebar and the judge had to tell him to wait for a question.    After the sidebar, the objection to speculation was sustained and Bernie de la Rionda was told to start asking questions.  Dr. Bao testified that Trayvon Martin was 5’11” and 158 lbs.  He stated he has two assistants that helped him on this case and that he also sent a medical examiner to get the body, as is usual.  He testified about photos of the body bag.  He explained the numbers that are written on there and what they mean, such as county number, case number, etc.  He testified that Martin was the 3rd unidentified person that year.  He told the jury that at the ME’s office, took an x-ray to locate the bullet fragments, this was shown to the jury.  They went through some of the photos of evidence taken at the ME’s office with the jury.  He testified that the back of the hoodie appeared wet.  He also said that he found no disease or major injury other than the bullet wound.  Trayvon Martin’s left hand had 3 abrasions, one on his 4th finger and the other two on his 5th finger (pinky).  He testified that he could tell the bullet wound in the front of the body was an entrance wound.  He stated that it was his finding that the bullet went straight in, between the 5th and 6th ribs and entered the heart.  He stated that Trayvon Martin could have been alive anywhere from 1 to 10 minutes after being shot.  He also stated that there was no way Martin could have survived the wound.

“In my opinion, straight from front to back.”

He testified that he sees contact wounds almost everyday in his office and he is “100%” confident that this wound was an intermediate range wound.  He testified that the range is not a fact, it is an opinion.  He again explained to the jury that the difference is important to the justice system.  He testified that he did not measure a distance.  He told the jury that there was an intermediary target object between the bullet and the target.  In this case, that was the clothing, which makes it difficult to determine range or distance.  He told the jury that the clothing blocked some of the soot and material from the gunshot wound.  He testified that the stippling on Martin’s chest, according to the literature, shows that it is an intermediate range.  “It is consistent with” an intermediate range.  He again stated that it was just his opinion.  He stated that nobody can use their eye to determine range, “there is no such thing.”  He testified that he believed there was “loose contact” between the skin and the clothes, which caused the stippling.  He stated that he had “no fact…zero opinion” on what position Martin was in when he was shot.  He stated that he said 1 to 10 minutes of life after being shot to give himself a margin of error.  He also testified that from his experience, “I don’t believe he can move after shot.”  He testified that he did not observe any blood on Trayvon Martin’s hands.  He stated that the wounds to Martin’s left hand were “superficial”, the skin was rubbed off.  He stated that he couldn’t tell when it happened.  It could have happened “2 hours before”, “during struggle”, and after the shooting from falling to the ground.  He explained to the jury the differences between abrasions, lacerations, and contusions.  He testified that the wounds to Martin’s hands were abrasions, the least severe, there is no bleeding.  He also testified that the abrasions were too small on the pinky, so he had “no opinion”.  He testified he was present during the fingernail scrapings, but didn’t do them.  He testified that the procedure at their office is one stick per hand.  He also identified the blood card and identification photo taken.  The judge then read the jury the identification stipulation that this was Trayvon Martin who Dr. Bao was speaking of.

On cross-examination, Dr. Bao testified that there were no plastic bags on Trayvon Martin’s hands.  He stated that paper bags are more properly used to preserve evidence and are pretty standard, but in this case they did not do that at the scene.  He testified that his investigator arrived at the scene at 9:44 p.m.  He stated that he did not know the timeline of the case or when the incident occurred.  The defense tried to have him just accept as an assumption for testimony that the incident happened at 7:15 p.m, which would mean that the examiner didn’t take the body for several hours.  He wouldn’t participate in the hypothetical and stated “I am under oath, do you understand?  I cannot give wrong information, it is perjury.”  Don West asked him to look at his investigator’s report and tell the jury what time it says.  Does it not say that the examiner left the scene at 10:10 p.m., almost 3 hours after the event?  He stated “I say okay, not yes or no.  If you are correct.”  Don West asked him, if he knew the body was at the scene for 3 hours according to his own investigator?  He stated he did not know that.  He told the jury he doesn’t read his investigator’s notes before performing the autopsy.  He testified he does the autopsy without any knowledge of the scene and he never visits the scene.

He then told the jury “I do not have any memory of the day of the autopsy.”

He testified that he did an intensive study of the information of the case before testifying to refresh his memory and try to figure out why he doesn’t remember the case at all.  He stated that he did research into memory to see why he couldn’t remember.  Don West objected to him  speaking without a question.  Dr. Bao argued to the judge that he needed to explain, but Judge Nelson said that he explained his answer and needs to “stop speaking” until there is another question.  The defense asked him when he generally sees a body first.  He testified that at 8:30 in the morning the office has its conference and then they begin the scheduled autopsies.  Mr. West interrupted and the prosecution objected that he wasn’t allowed to finish.  Don West said that he wasn’t answering the question.  The Judge allowed him to clarify the question.  Dr. Bao testified that he sees the body when the bag is opened.  The body bag is sealed until it arrives at the office and is ready for the autopsy.  Don West asked him why his report starts with the body being de-clothed if he is present the entire time?  He stated that his report always starts that way.

Don West:  How do you know you saw the body before if you cannot remember?

Dr. Bao:  It is my opinion, that I do that in every case.

He testified he doesn’t take the photographs, his “clean hands” assistant takes the photographs and writes the notes, everything that requires clean hands and the other assistant helps him complete the autopsy, they take all the scrapings, etc.

Don West:  How do you know that you were there?

Dr. Bao:  I don’t recall what I did at the time, generally speaking, I look at the hands or face (when the body is being de-clothed).

Dr. Bao testified that Mr. Dalton (his assistant) did everything correctly, “I have full confidence…he was trained.”  He testified that he “should have been there.”  Don West said he agreed.  He was questioned about the packaging of the items.

Don West asked Dr. Bao if the items in this case were packaged in paper bags as is appropriate.  He answered, “It should have been.”

He testified that all of his memory was “new memory” from reviewing the reports and literature.  He testified that according to his training, wet items should be dried and then packaged in paper bags before being sent to a lab.  “I do not know in this case.”

He also told the jury that there should be no plastic bags used, “if anybody do that, he be gone next day.  He will be fired…it is basic concept…no brainer…I have confidence we did that.”

He testified that before his testimony he did 100 hours of preparation, including writing out potential answers to questions.  He was asked if he was referring to notes and he stated he was.  When the defense requested to see the notes, he told them, he would rather they not see them, “no one has seen them before.”  He was then instructed by the judge to show his notes to the attorneys on both sides because they are entitled to see everything he is referring to during testimony.  The defense then requested the right to copy them for cross-examination, Dr. Bao interjected, “no, you cannot.”  The judge recessed the jury and then instructed Dr. Bao that his concerns were noted, but that a confidentiality agreement will be created and the attorneys will be allowed to copy the notes, but must destroy them when done.  A copy will also be marked as an exhibit.

A Richardson Hearing was held after the notes were copied and reviewed by both sides.  Basically, the question was did the prosecution know that Dr. Bao changed his testimony about several items since deposition and if they knew, they did not tell the defense, a violation of the law.  In his deposition, he stated that he thought Martin could have only lived 1 to 3 minutes after being shot, but changed his mind.  He was asked why.  He testified that he changed his opinion three weeks ago based upon another autopsy he did.  He explained that it is just an opinion and they can change, that is why a jury is asked to be open minded.  In an opinion, there is only right or wrong, a fact has no interpretation.  He then said, thankfully out of the presence of the jury, if a person never changes their opinion, you can call them mentally retarded because they never learn.  I understand what he is saying and I personally don’t think he meant anything bad, just a communication barrier problem.  What he meant was that the person is not credible because they are stuck in a rut and cannot be trusted to provide valuable information.  They don’t grow as a person, they just stay the same and never learn anything new or different.  Never admit they are wrong.  He testified he didn’t remember whether he told the prosecution, but that they are not his “lawyer” and they are not his “boss.”  He then stated he was an independent voice and started to say, before being cut off, that he just learned that.  He then testified that he changed his opinion on the THC effects as well.  Originally, he stated that it had no effect, but new research and experience has shown him that it could have some effect, but he doesn’t know what.  He stated he didn’t see the problem with not telling anyone his opinion was different.

He testified in the Richardson Hearing that he talked to the prosecutor yesterday in preparation for today and that he didn’t want to skip the toxicology report and thought it was important, but was told it was barred because of a legal issue.  He did not inform them that he changed his mind because it couldn’t be talked about.  The defense then tried to question the admissibility issue of the toxicology, but the judge resisted and even raised her voice yelling over the defense that she wanted to stick to this.  She ruled there was no Richardson violation.  She then ruled that she understands it is new information, but her ruling stands on admissibility.  Don West elicited further testimony for the record based upon the THC admissibility.

The jury returned and cross-examination continued.  He stated he did not recall the fingernail scrapings.  He said that he hoped that all 5 fingers on both hands were scraped.  He stated that he doesn’t know the procedure for whether or not fingernail clippings are supposed to be tested in a lab.  He knows that they did that when he worked in Texas, but he testified that it is “not my job” so “I don’t worry about it.”  He stated that the technicians are trained to do that job.  He testified he never read that procedure.  He testified that he does oversee his technicians, but the Chief Medical Examiner’s job is to make those calls and oversee accountability and make sure protocol is followed and all “business decisions.”  He testified that he cannot watch his technicians all the time.  He was shown the forensic accountability checklist and did state that it does have no check next to fingernail clippings.  “It is not my job to make sure that technician are following protocol.”  He testified that toxicology blood samples are taken from the leg usually, called peripheral blood samples, but when it cannot be taken there, it is taken from the chest.  He testified that, in this case, Trayvon Martin had no blood anywhere, but his chest cavity.  Dr. Bao talked over top of the defense again and Judge Nelson informed him that he was to wait until a question is asked, he responded that “the question is wrong.”  He was instructed to wait.  Later on, Bernie de la Rionda objected to a question and Dr. Bao responded that he was asking him again about this case, but he has no memory.  He testified that he doesn’t draw the blood, a technician does.  In general, peripheral blood can be gotten.  The common link between all of the procedural problems pointed out by the defense was the technician Ben Dalton.

Dr. Bao was asked why the pants weren’t sent for lab testing, he didn’t know.  He was also asked where the shoes were, he didn’t know.  He also testified when asked why there are no photos of the fingernails or palms, that photos are taken as necessary.  He examines the body and takes photos of things he notes.  “It is my decision.”  He was asked about someone else checking his work for accuracy, that they cannot do that without pictures of everything that he saw.  He testified that he didn’t believe he missed anything, “it is my job not to miss anything.”  He was asked why they couldn’t just take pictures of everything to document their findings.  He testified that the reason was that that’s what they do and will continue to do.  He testified that there is nobody who knows Trayvon Martin’s autopsy better than he does.  The defense stated, “even though you don’t remember anything?”

He was questioned about when the injury to Martin’s hand occurred.  He stated that you couldn’t say.  He agreed that he could have gotten it from striking someone or scraping it on cement.

Don West:  You are not saying that he got it from falling in wet soft grass?

Dr. Bao:  It should not.

He testified further about the experience he gained, which caused him to change his mind on the amount of time Trayvon Martin lived after being shot from 1 to 3 minutes to 1 to 10 minutes.  He testified that he observed an autopsy three weeks ago.  A 40-year-old man was shot by his father, his case was a “real self-defense” case.  The father called 911 right away.  He testified that it is very rare in a gun shot case to know for sure how long someone survived and whether or not they were aware.  He testified that the 911 operators could hear him still alive.  He was pronounced dead 10 minutes later.  It was a “very clear picture.”

“I believe if you are shot in the heart, a person can live 10 minutes.”

He testified he was giving himself a margin of error and being as accurate as he could be.  He testified that he had no idea if Martin had control over his muscle movement, but that he could “move a little bit and…make some painful noises.”  He testified that “in this world, only one person knows” whether or not Martin could move his hands.  There was more talking over top of one another.  The judge raised her voice over top and instructed everyone to speak one at a time for the court reporter.  She instructed Dr. Bao to wait for a question and then answer that question.

Don West:  It is your professional opinion, that he could move a little?

Dr. Bao:  Nobody knows, but yes.

Dr. Bao was then asked if there was any research into people being able to move after being shot and he clearly did not understand because he stated that you cannot kill people to do research.  West responded, “That’s not what I’m talking about.”  He testified that he can make the contact wound decision within 3 seconds of looking at the wound.  He stated that there was some distance between the muzzle and the skin.  He then explained that he used the definition, he doesn’t do experiments on range, he isn’t a firearms expert.  The definition states that intermediary range is 0.4 inches to 4 feet.   Beyond 4 feet, there is no stippling that’s how you know.  He told the jury that his opinion has not changed, he has read nothing or had any experiences that refute that.

On redirect, the prosecution had him explain that he only wrote out his answers to prepare.  “I tried to remember…I could not…”  They also tried to soften the blow to Ben Dalton’s competency.  Bernie de la Rionda asked Dr. Bao if he just brings people off the streets?  He answered that he was trained and had previous experience.  The defense objected to vouching for a witness not subject to cross-examination, it was sort of sustained, the judge asked him if he could move on.  The prosecution then questioned him on regardless of 1-3 or 1-10 minutes, he would not have lived?  He answered yes.  He was then asked about the scene and the fact that the body was covered at the scene.  He testified that he never went to the scene, but that he reviewed photographs.  He did however, testify that the sheet covering Martin was orange.

Following that, the jury was recessed for a break and there was legal argument over the admissibility of weather reports.  The prosecution wanted to admit a report from that night, hour-by-hour from Weather Underground.  They stated that it was the nearest weather station, located in the Ravina Park area.  They argued that it was the best evidence for the jury to be informed, as extended testimony from the witnesses what the conditions were that night.  The judge stated that she was concerned about the distance from Retreat View Circle and prejudice related to that.  The prosecution looked it up online and found out that it was about 5 to 6 miles away.  The judge allowed the exhibits.  Then, the defense presented a JOA or a judgement of acquittal motion.  Below, the arguments are summarized.  Case law was cited throughout, but was removed for the summaries.  Mr. O’Mara argued for the defense and Mr. Mantei argued for the state.

DEFENSE

I’m not really sure what the state’s case is.  They have shown my client is frustrated, but nothing else.  The circumstantial evidence has to negate any reasonable hypothesis of innocence.  Even if you look at all the evidence that is favorable to the state (which are the judgement of acquittal rules for a judge).  We will never know who was screaming, but there is no evidence to refute that my client was punched in the face.  I would suggest that under the law there is enough for my client to have defended himself with deadly force.  George Zimmerman has been consistent that it was him screaming and that he defended himself.  Under the law, my client defended himself because he was in fear of great bodily injury.  The state’s own witnesses have established self defense.  Capt. Carter testified, himself, that the best way to tell if someone is going to get killed is if they are already injured.  Martin did not stop, he continued to injure Mr. Zimmerman.  This is a textbook case.  The inferences of non-guilt here is much stronger than guilt.  The state has an obligation to eliminate all reasonable hypotheses of innocence.  Appeals courts have stated that a judge should decide in favor of acquittal if the defense presents a prima facie case of self defense.

[Prima facie means “on its face,” in which the evidence before trial is sufficient to prove the case unless there is substantial contradictory evidence presented at trial.  For example, grand juries make determinations based upon prima facie.  i.e. if someone is charged with writing bad checks, one can say that prima facie is proven by evidence of checks written on an account that doesn’t exist, but at trial, information put before the court that says the bank made a typo can destroy the perceived “open and shut” case.]

Set that aside for a second, he apparently suddenly decided to be a murderer and then carefully cover it up.  I would present this is a fallacy.  They have not even presented any circumstantial evidence that Zimmerman followed Trayvon Martin after being told not to.  Ms. Bahadour suggested, I would say not credibly, that it was my client that moved from left to right.  She could not know that it wasn’t Trayvon Martin.  Aside from that, there is no evidence that my client engaged Trayvon Martin.  Ms. Lauer and Ms. Sudeka testified and their testimony supported my client’s assertions and contention that the incident started at the T.  The Manolos‘ testimony also backs this up.  My client did not have any of their statements, none of that knowledge.  He could not create a story from that, certainly the state would have brought that up in their case had they any evidence of that.  Even Ms. Mora, when she looked around the corner, saw what my client said he did.  Mr. Bao testified that it is possible Trayvon Martin could move a little, move his arms back in perhaps.  All of this corroborates Mr. Zimmerman’s statements.  Here we have Mr. Good who says that Martin was on top of Zimmerman, the only witness to any altercation.  Martin ignored Mr. Good’s suggestion to stop.  Certainly, this is not a second degree murder case.  If you can get passed the cursing and the interest in the community, you can see that is why Martin looked suspicious.  Most of the cases that prove ill will, spite, or hatred are cases with long standing relationships, for example affairs or neighbor disputes.  The case law establishes that evil intent is bred over time, not instantaneous.  To assume or presume ill will, previous animosity must have grown over time.  Even if Trayvon Martin pushed my client and he just shot him for that, hatred cannot be presumed, egregious recklessness yes.  Overreacting, according to what the courts have held, is not enough to show evil intent, ill will, spite, or hatred.  Even in highway chase cases, in which people are killed, it is considered reckless and negligent not hate-filled.  When no intent is proven it is not 2nd degree murder.

All the factual scenarios the state has put forward must negate the reasonable innocence possibility.  The state has failed to make a convincing argument that George Zimmerman had a depraved mind.  They have not presented evidence of that.  Though in this motion, you must give the benefit of the doubt to the prosecution, you cannot say my client wasn’t hit by Trayvon Martin and you can’t say that Trayvon Martin was beat up.  There are no facts to back that up, it is undisputed.  The reality is if Trayvon Martin needed help and he was on top, he was screaming for help, when Mr. Good said he would call police, he could have turned and gotten help.  Just a few feet away.  He ignored him and continued.  You cannot ignore evidence that is unfavorable to the prosecution.  You must look at the totality of the circumstances.

PROSECUTION

I’m not saying he hasn’t proven it, but the defendant has the burden to prove self-defense.  We have to look at the elements of the crime.  Courts have held that pointing a gun at someone and shooting them, is disregarding life.  There is no question that when you do that, you have ill will.  There is only one reason to point a gun at someone’s heart and pull the trigger, you mean to kill or you don’t care.  I would argue that evidence of ill will is present in this case.  George Zimmerman thought he knew Trayvon Martin as an a**hole and a f***ing punk that always gets away.  He had enough in his heart to stop on his way to the grocery store, if that is where he was going, and pursue him and grab him.  The defendant’s statements show his state of mind.  It was God’s plan and he wanted to hunt fugitives down so they didn’t get away.  This is what he said on Hannity and in his homework.  These are direct evidence, his own statements.  Witnesses have established that he followed Trayvon Martin.  You don’t do that unless you mean someone bad.  You don’t ask someone why they are there if you mean them well.  The defense can argue interpretation.  They aren’t even pretending he didn’t kill Trayvon.  He tells the 911 operator he is in the neighborhood watch, he tells the police, he tells everyone, but this one time, he didn’t tell Trayvon Martin.  He understood the operator didn’t want him to follow Trayvon Martin.  There are 2 minutes of blank time where we don’t know what he is doing, he lies about his whereabouts.  He said he was only 100 feet from his truck, plenty of time to get back, but he doesn’t.  He kept changing the meeting place with police because he had something else in his mind.  The police are always too slow.

The one time someone got caught, it wasn’t even him.  It was the stucco guy.  He knew that.  The inconsistencies must be viewed in the best light of the prosecution here.  He contradicts himself, Trayvon was in the bushes, he was behind me, no he was in front of me.  Rachel Jeantel even said Trayvon Martin said get off, get off.  He said he knew all his neighbors, but they testify that they don’t know him.  He is in the parking council and the neighborhood watch, but doesn’t know the 3 streets in his neighborhood?  There are two people involved, one is dead and one is a liar.  The court and jury should consider that.  When making a JOA motion, all scenarios favorable to the opposite party can be evaluated.  This case isn’t circumstantial.  The state isn’t required to completely  disprove the alternate theory of innocence.  The existence of conflicting witnesses, isn’t by itself according to case law, enough to grant this motion.  If there is room for disagreement among reasonable men, then the jury must decide.  The only hypothesis put forward by the defense is justifiable use of homicide.  The defendant’s attitude and witnesses who saw the two in a struggle, is more than enough to establish that the jury should decide.  I believe it is a fair inference here that the defendant started this incident and that Trayvon Martin had the same right to defend himself.  Even when no witnesses see the actual event, like here no one saw the shooting, a jury is not to be assumed to believe the defendant’s claim, but they must weigh the probability and improbability of the claim.  Inconsistencies can lead a jury to not believe someone.  The defendant was armed, fully loaded, the victim was not.  He outweighs the victim by 40 lbs.  He called him a suspect at every chance he got.  He operated against the instructions of police.  Witnesses have stated he initiated the struggle.  The defendant was seen on top.  There was running and there was a chase.  The defendant has MMA training.  His injuries were significantly exaggerated.

The defendant was exposed as going on television, nationally broadcast, and lying, a big one about whether he knew the self defense law.  He has no apparent compunction about that.  A jury should not be presumed to believe anything he says.  Even his best friend went on television and lied.  He has the knowledge and ability, he isn’t a rube.  He has studied this for years.  He could create a story.  The absence of DNA and fingerprints and the position of Trayvon Martin’s body refute his claim.  The defendant admitted he wasn’t the one screaming, spin it how you will, but the screaming stopped when the gun shot happened.  It is just as consistent with the facts that Martin was defending himself.  The physical evidence could even show that Trayvon Martin was pulling away when he was shot.  He lied about how many times he was hit.  The wound was straight in, either he is the coolest, most levelheaded marksmen or something else is going on.  Mr. Good didn’t see any blows being landed.  The standard is whether his actions were reasonable.  We know about his attitude, his history, the real extent of his injuries, as much credibility as all of that has.  He knew the police were going to be right there that’s why he exaggerated his injuries.  The defendant swore he moved off the cement.  His friend testified he told him that Trayvon Martin’s knees were in his armpits.  It is physically impossible for him to pull his gun in that position.  The question here is who was most defending themselves?  The evidence clearly allows for difference of opinion between reasonable people.  The hypothesis of innocence here is open to question as is everything else the defendant has said.  Even if the court is inclined to grant this, manslaughter does not provide that ill will, spite, or hatred or depraved mind must be proven.

DEFENSE RESPONSE

Mr. Martin sucker punched my client, there is no evidence to contradict that.  My client didn’t shoot Martin after the first or second hit, he waited.  These inconsistencies are not severe, they aren’t complete changes in story.  They want to ignore facts that don’t agree with them.  You can’t do that.  Even Detectives Serino and Singleton testified that these inconsistencies are expected.  It is normal.  John Good’s statements increased from one page to multiple pages.  These aren’t lies, everyone knows this.  You can’t minimize the trauma my client went through.  You can’t look at this in a vacuum, it is the totality of the circumstances.  He contends he didn’t do anything wrong and he wouldn’t change it, he never said he didn’t care.  That is absurd.  Many people, including myself, have said a death is God’s plan in an attempt to explain something horrible.  It passes our lips.  Either he is a mastermind or he has ill will.  Pick your inference.  He is neither, he is a human being who was attending school, making the best of his life and then tragedy struck.  Just like the Martin family, he is suffering.  He shouldn’t have to go through this any longer.  Rachel Jeantel’s testimony is direct evidence, if it is credible.  Mora and Sudeka did not say a pursuit happened.  Neither said that.  Sudeka said she thought the victim was that little boy she saw on the news later.  My client didn’t have time to tell Martin that he was in the neighborhood watch.  He punched him, that is not contradicted.  The state seems to be trying to quantify the defense, there is only one as if that isn’t good, it’s minor.  There need only be one defense.

Now all of a sudden, the prosecution has a new theory.  That George Zimmerman changed the meeting place with police because that is the moment he chose to become the mastermind of this plot.  He was going hunting and he’ll call when he’s done.  Why didn’t he just shoot Trayvon Martin?  Why wait until he was beaten?  You don’t have to ignore common sense.  If that were the case there would no granting of JOAs.  Where is the direct evidence if it wasn’t self defense.  He has to be in reasonable fear.  There is no evidence that he was the initial aggressor.  They want to say that and they will.  If that were true, then screaming for help, would have stopped that.  The injuries weren’t stopping.  I wasn’t being smart or sneaky when I asked if the next injury would have killed him, that is what my client thought.  He survived this, but who are we kidding.  It is apparently now the state’s position that it was that exact moment when Trayvon Mratin decided to back out, he pulled away and George Zimmerman shot him, making him the aggressor.  That’s what he must have done.  They are grasping at straws.  There is no evidence my client had ill will, spite, or hatred for Mr. Martin.

Are we leaving our common sense at the door?  Why did he exaggerate his injuries?  He was traumatized, he had just been beaten, and then he shot someone.  Dr. Rao even testified that his injuries could be anywhere from 4 to 12 strikes.  Let’s be reasonable, we know who had the injuries, we know who didn’t.  It is sad and tragic, but Mr. Martin caused his own death.

The judge denied the motion and stated that the jury must decide.  The jury was returned and the state rested.  The defense then began its case.

The defense called their first witness Gladys Zimmerman, George Zimmerman’s mother.  She testified she has previously listened to the 911 call.  She has heard her son laugh, cry, scream, and yell.  She has knowledge of his voice.  The 911 call was played for her in court.  She positively identified George Zimmerman.  Are you certain?

“…he’s my son.”

She got choked up a bit during testimony.  On cross-examination, she testified that she was sure that it is his voice, but “I have never heard that before.”  She testified it is full of anguish, fear, and terror.

The next witness was Jorge Maza, a deputy sheriff for the Orange County Courthouse Division.  He testified that he was in the military for over 20 years and then became a deputy.  He wanted to serve his country and then serve his community.  He is Gladys Zimmerman’s brother, George’s uncle.  He testified that he wasn’t taken to a room or asked to identify the voice.  He testified he didn’t remember the date, but it was March of 2012.  He was on the computer and his wife was behind him watching TV, as usual.  He heard the screams and he “felt” the screams.  “It lives with me everyday.”  It was George, screaming for his life.

“I felt that in my heart, it was George.”

He stated he didn’t know anyone was talking about the case, the voice of George Zimmerman brought his attention to the television.  He recognized his voice.  Zimmerman would often play with his sons.  “You recognize your family when they laugh and cry.”

On cross-examination, Bernie de la Rionda stated that the jury should ignore his qualifications, as amazing as they are, because he isn’t in that capacity.  The defense objected and the judge instructed the jury that she would instruct them on the law they should follow at the end of the trial.  He testified he knew that George Zimmerman was involved in a shooting, but that was it.  He stated that it was against his professional ethics to get involved.  He testified he didn’t see anything before he heard the screams, then he saw when he turned around that the screen said George Zimmerman.  I got up and I said “that’s George, what are you watching” to my wife.  He testified he never heard him cry out like that before.

On redirect, he testified that he took an oath to tell the truth in 2000, he was part of the millennium class.  He takes his oath seriously ever since his military days.  He testified that he would not compromise his oath for anything, he would not color his testimony even for his son or daughter.  He would not compromise himself like that.  He stated he wanted to come and tell everyone, look at them, and tell them the truth.  On recross, he testified that he did not know he was going to testify, but as a law enforcement officer you never know when you will testify and always must be prepared.  “I disconnected myself completely.”

Testimony resumes Monday at 9:00 a.m. EST.

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Comments
  1. Jorge says:

    It looks like an overzealous cop wannabe with no common sense will go free for the harassing and eventual murder of a person that was not doing anything wrong.

    Like

    • I’m not sure we are watching the same trial. It’s interesting that people who watch the same evidence can see it differently. The defense hasn’t finished yet, so I haven’t formed an opinion yet. However, when the prosecution rested, I wasn’t impressed.

      Like

  2. Lon Spector says:

    I saw the Andy Kaufman bio yesterday, a movie called “Man On The Moon.” In some spots it was a black comedy. That film came to an end. This travesty of a trial is called a “daymere.” Yes, there really is such a word. The fact that this farce of a trial-like a 3 stooges movie-doesn’t come to an end holds very dire implications for this land indeed.

    Like

  3. JanCorey says:

    Wasn’t the state supposed to put on a case for a potential conviction before they rested??????????

    Like

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