Yesterday (Friday, July 5, 2013), prosecutors rested their case against George Zimmerman, standing trial for the second-degree murder of Florida teen Trayvon Martin.
From a 7-11 surveillance camera: Instead of the doe-eyed pic of 13-year-old Trayvon Martin which the State Controlled Media like to use, this is what 17-year-old Martin (on right) actually looked like on the night he was shot by Zimmerman.
Erin Donaghue reports for CBS News that the state’s case spanned nearly nine days of testimony from numerous witnesses, including Martin’s mother and brother, a medical examiner who conducted Martin’s autopsy, a DNA analyst, and numerous neighbors, first responders and police officers who witnessed the fatal altercation or its aftermath.
In opening statements June 24, prosecutors recounted the profanity-laced statements Zimmerman used in a Feb. 26, 2012 non-emergency call placed to dispatchers to report Martin as a suspicious person in his neighborhood. Prosecutors claim Zimmerman had profiled Martin as a criminal that evening and shot him because “he wanted to.”
In a starkly different picture of events, defense attorneys said Zimmerman shot in self-defense after he was “viciously attacked” by Martin.
As the state’s case wrapped up Friday afternoon, defense attorney Mark O’Mara argued for a judgment of acquittal before Circuit Judge Debra Nelson on the grounds that Zimmerman had acted in self-defense, outside of the presence of the jury. Once the state concludes a case, the court may enter a judgment of acquittal if the judge finds the evidence the state has presented is insufficient to warrant a conviction.
O’Mara said testimony and evidence support Zimmerman’s self-defense claim, including photos of Zimmerman after the altercation that he said show “undeniable injuries that evidence nothing other than a violent attack by Trayvon Martin.” O’Mara also said the state has not presented evidence that Zimmerman followed Trayvon Martin through the community after he was told by a dispatcher not to.
But the judge denied the judgement for acquittal motion.
Key witnesses for the prosecution included Rachel Jeantel, a friend of Martin’s who was on the phone with him minutes before he was fatally shot as he was walking to his father’s fiancee’s home in the gated Sanford, Fla. community.
Jeantel said she heard Trayvon Martin saying, “Get off, get off” before the fatal shot was fired, a potential blow for the defense team, which claims Zimmerman shot in self-defense. But in a lengthy and at times heated cross-examination, defense attorney Don West highlighted changes in her story in an apparent attempt to bring her credibility into question.
Also providing crucial testimony was a neighbor, John Good, who said he believes he saw Trayvon Martin on top of George Zimmerman moments before the gunshot.
Friday, Trayvon Martin’s mother and brother took the stand to say they believe Martin was the one screaming in the background of a 911 call placed the evening of the altercation. Who is screaming on the tape has been a key point of contention. Before the trial launched last week, defense attorneys successfully blocked a prosecution expert who said he identified the screams as Trayvon Martin’s. Zimmerman’s father has also said the screaming was his son’s.
A voice expert testified before the jury that it’s impossible to scientifically analyze who was screaming on the call, but that someone familiar with the voice – such as a family member – might have a “better chance” of identifying it.
Also on Friday, a medical examiner who conducted the autopsy on Trayvon Martin testified that Martin could have been alive and suffering between one and ten minutes after he was shot through the heart. On cross-examination, Dr. Shiping Bao said he recently changed his opinion – he had originally said one to three minutes – based on a case his office reviewed of another man who was shot through the heart and whose survival for 10 minutes was documented on a 911 call.
- “Democrat public defender: Zimmerman acted in self-defense,” July 1, 2013.
- “Zimmerman Trial Update for Wednesday. Interesting,” on the testimony of Zimmerman’s former law instructor, attorney Alexis Carter, who is Black and an officer in the U.S. Army JAG.
- “More Americans view Blacks as racist, than Whites or Hispanics,” July 3, 2013.
Have you been watching the trial? (I haven’t, because I’ve been wrestling with Internet connectivity problems for the past three days. Aargh!!!!)
What do you think?