More Documents Released In Trayvon Martin Shooting Investigation
ORLANDO (CBSMiami/AP) – What’s old is new again in the evidence and discovery released by prosecutors in the case of George Zimmerman, the Sanford neighborhood watch volunteer who shot and killed 17-year old Trayvon Martin earlier this year.
Among the items released Tuesday was a video shot by police of Zimmerman re-enacting the events which led up to the shooting on February 26th. While the video was released last week, this new version contains four minutes that did appear in the original release. It has not been said why the four minutes were deleted from the first release.
Among the new documents released were ones that indicate that Sanford police didn’t believe everything Zimmerman told them about what led up to the shooting but they didn’t find any evidence which would dispute his claims of self defense. According to the documents, investigators were able to conclude that Martin was running toward the townhouse where he was staying when he was confronted by Zimmerman.
The documents also reveal that Investigators believed Zimmerman was following Martin, something he at first admitted and then denied.
Results of a voice stress test, which is similar to a lie detector, convinced the investigators that Zimmerman “told substantively the complete truth”.
In another report, the lead investigator wrote that Zimmerman could have defused the confrontation with Martin if he would have identified himself as a neighborhood watch leader.
Sanford detective Chris Serino said Zimmerman verbally confronted the unarmed teen before the two got into a physical fight which ended with Zimmerman killing Martin. But, according to Serino, Zimmerman never told Martin he was with the neighborhood watch group. Zimmerman has been charged with second degree murder.
Serino wrote in his report that Zimmerman and witnesses said the defendant who was in his car avoided Martin when he first saw him because, as he told investigators, “was afraid of Martin.”
Serino also said that later in the encounter, Zimmerman got out of his SUV and followed Martin.
“His actions are inconsistent of those of a person who has stated he was in fear of another subject,” Serino wrote.
Based on his investigation, Serino recommended a charge of manslaughter to the state attorney.
The Sanford Police Department announced ib Tuesday that Serino had requested and granted reassignment to the patrol division. Serino will begin his new assignment on July 7th.
In video released last week by his attorney, Zimmerman said Martin had been on top of him, slamming his head against the ground and smothering his mouth and nose with his hand and arm. The tape shows two butterfly bandages on the back of Zimmerman’s head and another on his nose. There are red marks on the front of his head.
“It felt like my head was going to explode,” he says in the video.
Zimmerman told investigators his side of the story about the shooting. He told them he grabbed his gun from a holster on his waist before Martin could get it, and shot the teenager once in the chest. After firing, Zimmerman said thought he missed because Martin didn’t immediately fall over.
Zimmerman claims he shot the teen in self-defense, under Florida’s “stand your ground” law.
Martin’s parents have said Zimmerman was the aggressor. They said Martin was walking back from a convenience store through the gated community in Sanford when Zimmerman started to follow him.
The latest release of documents in the case have come on the heels of unflattering telephone calls capturing Zimmerman and his wife talking in code about using money collected for a defense fund to pay credit cards.
During her husband’s initial bond hearing, Shellie Zimmerman testified that they had limited funds since she was a fulltime student and Zimmerman wasn’t working. Prosecutors say they had raised about $135,000 from a website set up for his legal defense at the time of the April hearing.
She was charged June 13 with making a false statement. That came just days after a judge revoked George Zimmerman’s bond for misleading the court about his finances.
He remains in jail awaiting a second bond hearing scheduled for Friday.
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