Martin

George Zimmerman Not Guilty: Jury Lets Trayvon Martin Killer Go


George Zimmerman not Guiltytrayvon martin father tweets

After deliberating for more than 16 hours, a jury of six women on Saturday evening found George Zimmerman not guilty in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old in Sanford, Fla.

Zimmerman had pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree murder with an affirmative defense, claiming he had shot Martin to save his own life after being attacked by the teen on Feb. 26, 2012. The trial, televised nationally on cable networks and streamed live across the Internet on various sites, kept the country captivated awaiting a verdict on the tragic events that took place that rainy night.

Following four weeks of testimony, more than a dozen witnesses and a host of controversy, Zimmerman walked out of court a free man.

The case first drew national attention during the 44 days the Sanford Police Department took to decide that Zimmerman should be arrested and charged with murder. During that tense period, protests were held across the country calling for Zimmerman’s arrest. Those protests were buttressed by the controversy’s strong presence across the Internet, with hashtags like #JusticeForTrayvon becoming mainstays on Twitter. Celebrities including LeBron James and his Miami Heat teammates and Jamie Foxx were photographed wearing hooded sweatshirts like Martin had been wearing the night he died.

That night, Martin was walking back to the home of his father’s fiancee from a local 7-Eleven convenience store after purchasing a can of iced tea and a bag of Skittles. He was spotted by Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, who thought Martin looked suspicious because of what he described as an unnaturally slow and meandering gait. Zimmerman called the police and proceeded to follow the teen through the Retreat at Twin Lakes, the gated community where Zimmerman lived and where Martin had been staying. A confrontation ensued, Zimmerman shot Martin, Martin died, and six weeks later, Zimmerman was arrested and charged with second-degree murder.

On March 16, 2012, police released audio of the 911 calls made by Twin Lakes residents who were witness to the altercation between Martin and Zimmerman occurring near their homes. In one chilling call, a voice can be heard screaming for help in the background. The wailing ends as the loud crack of a gun shot rings out. Those screams and the question of who was making them would become pivotal for both the prosecution and the defense, with the implication being that the person screaming was the one being attacked.

As attention around the case mounted before the trial, details emerged about the teenager and the man involved in the fatal confrontation.

It turned out this wasn’t Zimmerman’s first run-in with the law. He had previouslybeen accused of domestic violence by a former girlfriend, and he had also previouslybeen arrested for assaulting a police officer. More controversially, in July 2012, an evidence dump related to the investigation of Martin’s death revealed that a younger female cousin of Zimmerman’s had accused him of nearly two decades of sexual molestation and assault. In addition, she had accused members of Zimmerman’s family, including his Peruvian-born mother, of being proudly racist against African Americans, and recalled a number of examples of perceived bigotry.

The national focus on the case also brought into question, for some, the character and life history of Trayvon Martin. As time passed, websites like The Daily Caller found Martin’s posthumously scrubbed Twitter page, which featured the teen at times tweeting profanities and showing off fake gold teeth. To some, these behaviors, along with the hoodie Martin wore the night he was killed, were an indication that he was something other than an innocent teenage boy who was shot while walking home from the store. To others, the attention paid to Martin’s tattoos, gold teeth and hoodie were symptomatic of the same kind of stereotyping and profiling that led to Zimmerman’s assumption that the teen was “up to no good.”

While much of this background information proved inadmissible at trial, the characterizations of the two men helped drive an often racially charged polarization on the issue at the heart of the case — whether the killing of Trayvon Martin was self-defense or murder.

The prosecution argued that Zimmerman had profiled Martin, deeming him “suspicious,” as indicated by Zimmerman’s description of the teen to the non-emergency hotline he called for police assistance. The prosecution said that he then stalked Martin, initiating an unnecessary confrontation that led to his shooting the 17-year-old in the chest at point-blank range.

The defense maintained that Zimmerman was just walking back to his car when Martin confronted him, punching him in his face and knocking him to the ground. According to the defense, Martin then mounted Zimmerman and smashed his head into the concrete pavement multiple times, forcing the older man to shoot the teen in order to save his own life.

Testimony at the trial was, at times, contentious. Defense attorney Don Westaggressively questioned Rachel Jeantel, the friend to whom Martin was talking on the phone just before he was killed. Jeantel, who speaks English as a second language, kept her answers tersely short and stuck to her understanding of what had transpired that night, despite the defense’s attempts to undermine her account. Her perceived lack of polish on the stand, though, thrust the teenager into a national conversation about whether she had hurt or helped the state’s case.

The testimony of Dr. Shipping Bao, the medical examiner who performed the autopsyon Martin, was also highly contested. Bao often clashed with the defense as he repeatedly made sure that everyone in the courtroom understood the difference between what he saw as facts and what he considered opinions related to the case.

Both the prosecution and the defense went to great lengths to show who was screaming for help in the background of that 911 call. The prosecution called Trayvon Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, and his brother, Jahvaris Fulton, who testified that it was Martin. The defense called George Zimmerman’s mother, father and a host of friends to testify that it was Zimmerman screaming.

Ultimately, there are only two people who ever knew for sure who was screaming for his life that fatal night. One of them is dead, and the other has been acquitted in his killing. And with that acquittal, this chapter of the Trayvon Martin case, one that has captivated and divided a country for almost 17 months, has been brought to a close.

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TEXAS – Death row inmates loses appeal – Jerry Duane Martin


NOVEMBER 2, 2012 http://itemonline.com

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has upheld the conviction of an inmate sentenced to death for the murder of a Texas Department of Criminal Justice employee during an attempted escape from a Huntsville prison in 2007.

A jury found Jerry Duane Martin, 42, guilty of capital murder in 2009 for the death of correctional officer Susan Canfield. Martin used a stolen truck to ram a horse Canfield was riding while trying to prevent him and John Ray Falk Jr. from escaping from the Wynne Unit on Sept. 24, 2007.
Canfield was thrown from the horse and died as a result of head injuries she sustained when she struck the windshield of the truck and fell to the ground.
Jury selection is under way in Bryan for Falk’s capital murder trial for his role in Canfield’s murder. He is also facing the death penalty. Attorneys for the state and defense are interviewing potential jurors. More than 200 Brazos County residents were summoned and the process is expected to take a couple of more weeks.
The Court of Appeals on Wednesday rejected Martin’s appeals, which contained 20 points of error during his trial three years ago. Among those, Martin’s attorneys alleged jury misconduct and that Martin should have been granted a new trial.
The defense argued Martin was denied an impartial jury because one juror withheld information that her family member worked for TDCJ when her husband had been a correctional officer for 18 months and had been stabbed by an inmate. The juror testified during a motion for a new trial that this did not influence her because it happened 17 years ago and her husband had said that he did not think the incident was a “big deal.”
Martin’s attorneys also noted that two other jurors were admitted to the jury who had ties to the Texas prison system. One had formerly worked at the Limestone County Detention Center and the other had been married to a man who was a correctional officer for 20 years.
The appeals court did not see any reason to overturn the trial court’s ruling and issued this opinion: “After reviewing appellant’s 20 points of error, we find them to be without merit. Consequently, we affirm the trial court’s judgment and sentence of death.”
Walker County grand jury indictments
A grand jury handed down the following indictments last week:
• Joe A. Thomas, illegal dumping commercial weight/barrel or drum.
• Juvenal Pimentel, possession of a controlled substance point grade one less than one gram.
• Willie Ray Shelton, possession of a controlled substance point grade two more than or equal to four grams but less than 400 grams.
• Christopher Tyrone Cooper, possession of a controlled substance point grade one less than one gram.
• Jerry W. Williams, driving while intoxicated third or more.
• Robert Cartwright, indecency with a child sexual contact.
• Angela Lee Morris, possession of a controlled substance point grade one more than or equal to one gram but less than four grams.
• Christopher Fazio, fraud possession of a controlled substance/prescription schedule I/II.
• David Karl Schneider, possession of a controlled substance point grade one less than one gram.
• Anthony Lamont Person Jr., possession of marijuana more than four ounces but less than five pounds.
• Kourtnae White, driving while intoxicated third or more.
• Jacqualine Christine Hardy, two counts of driving while intoxicated third or more.
• Shelton Bernard Hightower, possession of a controlled substance point grade one less than one gram.
• Leah Taylor Yeley, credit card or debit card abuse.
• Michael Quinn Sykes, credit card or debit card abuse.
• Robert Lee Austin III, credit card or debit card abuse.
• Kristin Winfrey, driving while intoxicated third or more.
• Christopher Damon Stuart, burglary of a building

UPDATES JULY – ZIMMERMAN – MARTIN CASE


July 19, 2012 Not God’s Plan 

MIRAMAR, Fla. — The parents of the unarmed teen who was shot and killed by a Florida neighborhood watch volunteer rejected the shooter’s claim that the death was a part of God’s plan.

In an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity televised Wednesday, George Zimmerman said he felt the course of the night 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was killed “was all God’s plan.”

“We must worship a different God,” Martin’s father, Tracy Martin, told The Associated Press. “There is no way that my God wanted George Zimmerman to murder my teenage son.”

Speaking Thursday on NBC’s “Today” show, the teen’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, said the notion was “ridiculous.”

In the Fox News interview, Zimmerman also said he’d like to talk with Trayvon Martin’s parents about what happened.

“Absolutely not,” Fulton said when asked on NBC if she’d be willing to meet with Zimmerman.

The Fox News interview was Zimmerman’s first lengthy television interview and was conducted at an undisclosed location in Seminole County, Fla., where Zimmerman must remain under conditions of his release on bail.

July 18, 2012 Zimmerman Apology

George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watchman charged with murdering unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, said during his first televised interview: “I’m not a racist. I’m not a murderer.”

Zimmerman, joined by his defense attorney Mark O’Mara, sat down with conservative Fox News talk show host Sean Hannity and discussed the events that unfolded the February night Zimmerman shot and killed the 17-year-old Martin, the national outrage the shooting caused and what he perceived as the media’s rush to judgment.

“Is there anything that you regret? Do you regret getting out of the car to follow Trayon that night?” Hannity asked. “Do you regret that you had a gun that night?”

“No, sir,” Zimmerman, 28, replied. “I feel that it was all God’s plan and not for me to second-guess it or judge it.”

At times Zimmerman seemed to eke out a nervous smile, with sweat gathering on his upper lip. He spent much of the one-hour interview recounting the moments just before and after the shooting. But he also addressed Martin’s parents. When asked what he would say to them, he answered, “I would tell them again that I’m sorry.”

“I don’t have my wife and I don’t have any children,” he said. “I have nephews that I love more than life, I love them more than myself. I know that when they were born it was a different, unique bond and love that I have with them. And I love my children, even though they aren’t born yet. And I am sorry that they buried their child. I can’t imagine what it must feel like, and I pray for them daily.”

Zimmerman was arrested 44 days after the Feb. 26 shooting in his gated community in Sanford, Fla. He was jailed on two separate occasions and is now free on bail. Zimmerman told Hannity that while he has few regrets of the way he handled himself that night, the result was a “tragic situation and I hope that it’s the most difficult thing I’ll ever go through in my life.”

About 45 minutes after the televised interview, Martin’s family released a statement condemning Zimmerman’s comments.

“George Zimmerman said that he does not regret getting out of his vehicle, he does not regret following Trayvon, in fact he does not regret anything he did that night,” the statement read. “He wouldn’t do anything different and he concluded it was God’s plan.

“We must worship a different God because there is no way that my God would have wanted George Zimmerman to kill my teenage son,” Tracy Martin, Martin’s father, said in the statement.

Much of what Zimmerman addressed in the one-hour interview was rehashed, the stuff of previous news fodder from police reports, recorded phone calls and witness statements.

But it was the first time that Zimmerman publicly spoke about the shooting since he took the witness stand during an April bond hearing. And it gave him an opportunity to counter reports this week that a cousin claimed he molested her over the course of a decade when they were younger, and that his family was boastfully racist.

First, Hannity asked Zimmerman to “take us back to that night.”

Zimmerman said that per his usual Sunday routine, he was on his way to do some grocery shopping at a nearby Target store when Martin caught his attention.

“That’s the last time I’ve been home,” Zimmerman said.

It was a rainy night, and Zimmerman said that Martin seemed suspicious because of the leisurely way that he was walking and ducking between the houses. Martin didn’t look like a resident running out to get the mail or a “fitness fanatic,” Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman sat in his vehicle, his 9 mm handgun tucked into his waistband. He told Hannity that aside from work, he kept the licensed handgun on him at all times. Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, told Hannity that he’d joined the previous August after a neighbor’s house was broken into while she was home with her 9-month old baby. Zimmerman said his wife, Shellie, saw the burglars escape through their backyard.

“That was enough to scare her, to shake her up,” Zimmerman said. “I promised her I would do what I could to keep her safe.”

On an audio recording of a call Zimmerman made to a police non-emergency number the night of the shooting, Zimmerman said Martin saw him sitting in his vehicle and walked toward him, reaching into his waistband.

“I thought he was just trying to intimidate me,” Zimmerman said.

On that same phone call to police, Zimmerman said Martin then ran. He told Hannity that Martin wasn’t running at all, more like “skipping.”

Zimmerman said he never went more than 100 feet from his vehicle, and got out just to see where he was. When asked about the gap from the time Zimmerman hangs up with the police dispatcher and the time Martin is killed, and whether he was following Martin after the dispatcher warned against it, Zimmerman said he wasn’t. He said that he was simply trying to locate a proper address, and that he wasn’t chasing Martin.

Less than 30 seconds later, Zimmerman said Martin appeared, “asked me what my problem was” and “punched and broke my nose.” Zimmerman said that he wasn’t sure if he was knocked on his back or pushed, but landed on his back with Martin pummeling him and smashing his head into the sidewalk “more than a dozen” times.

He said Martin taunted him during the struggle, telling him to “shut up, shut up, shut up,” and at one point saying, “You’re going to die tonight.”

Zimmerman said Martin tried to suffocate him by covering his mouth and his broken nose with his hands. Zimmerman said that he screamed out hoping to alert the police, who he assumed would be arriving.

Zimmerman said Martin noticed the gun in his waistband.

“At that point I realized that it wasn’t my gun, it wasn’t his gun, it was the gun,” Zimmerman said. “I didn’t have any more time.”

Zimmerman fired a single bullet into Martin’s chest.

“He sat up and said something to the effect of, ‘You got it,’ or ‘You got me,'” Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman said he at first didn’t realize how badly Martin was injured. About an hour later, after he was taken to the police station, he learned he’d killed the youth.

“Why do you think Trayvon would have confronted you the way he did,” Hannity asked. “Could there have been any possibility that he thought you were after him and you thought he was after you and there was some misunderstanding in any way?”

“I wrestled with that for a long time, but one of my biggest issues through this ordeal has been the media, conjecture, and I can’t assume or make believe,” said Zimmerman.

Hannity then referenced that Martin’s parents lost their son and what if anything Zimmerman would say to them if he could.

“I pray for them daily,” Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder and faces a possible life sentence if convicted. He said he thinks about that possibility daily, but trusts the system.

“It’s a finite situation that I’ve been placed in,” he said, “… I have no choice but to believe in the system.”

O’Mara declined to allow Zimmerman to speak on allegations by prosecutors that he lied to the court during an early bond hearing in which he and his wife told the judge that they were broke, while days later it was revealed that the couple were sitting on more than $135,000 in donated funds. Shellie Zimmerman has been since charged with perjury and the judge has suggested that George Zimmerman may have broken the law as well.

O’Mara for the first time said that he is considering using Florida’s controversial Stand Your Ground law, which gives people wide discretion in the use of deadly force, as a defense.

Zimmerman refuted claims by a cousin, now in her mid-20s, who told investigators that his immediate family were racist and that he sexually molested her from the time she was 6 years old until she was about 16.

“It is ironic the one and only person that they could find that’s saying anything remotely to me being a racist also claims that I’m a deviant,” Zimmerman said.

The interview comes after rumors that Hannity had offered to pay some of Zimmerman’s legal fees. The rumor mill began churning this week after Zimmerman was heard in newly released recorded jailhouse phone calls telling a friend that a mystery benefactor he identified only as “SH” had agreed to support him.

Globalgrind.com later reported that “a rock-solid source” confirmed that the personal email address for ‘SH’ that George Zimmerman gave to a friend is Hannity’s, “thus confirming that ‘SH’ is in fact the Fox News host,” the website reported. Hannity during the interview denied offering Zimmerman anything.

The Zimmerman-Hannity relationship goes back several months. In April, Zimmerman defied his then-lawyers and spoke with Hannity in an off-the-record phone conversation. Hannity later conducted what critics have called a sympathetic interview with Zimmerman’s father.

Toward the end of the interview, Hannity asked Zimmerman to look into the camera and address Martin’s family, the American people and “so many people with so many opinions that vary so much … to tell them about George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin.”

Zimmerman looked into the camera, and said:

“I do wish that there was something, anything that I could have done that wouldn’t have put me in the position where I had to take his life. And I do want to tell everyone, my wife, my family my parents, my grandmother, the Martins, the city of Sanford and America, that I’m sorry that this happened. I hate to think that because of this incident, because of my actions, it’s polarized and divided America and I’m truly sorry.”

Zimmerman, 28, is charged with second-degree murder in the Feb. 26 shooting in Sanford, about 20 miles north of Orlando. Martin is black and Zimmerman has a white father and Hispanic mother. The shooting prompted nationwide protests after Zimmerman was not arrested for weeks after the shooting.

Zimmerman claims Martin attacked him and has pleaded not guilty, claiming self-defense under Florida’s “stand your ground” law. Zimmerman is free on $1 million bail.

In his interview, Zimmerman said he would like to tell Martin’s parents he was sorry about the teen’s death.

“I can’t imagine what it must feel like. And I pray for them daily,” Zimmerman said. Later, he added: “I am sorry that this happened.”

But Fulton said it is hard for her to accept his apology because he still says he does not regret anything he did on the night of the shooting.

When asked in the Fox News interview to explain what he meant when he told a police dispatcher he was following Martin, Zimmerman said he was trying to keep an eye on Martin to tell police. He said he was not following Martin but attempting to get a more precise address for the authorities.

Whether Zimmerman was the aggressor plays a major role in his self-defense claim.

“I hadn’t given them a correct address. I was going to give them the actual address,” he said. “I meant that I was going in the same direction as him. I didn’t mean that I was actually pursuing him.”

Zimmerman said shortly after he got out of his car, Martin was right next to him. Zimmerman said he looked down to try to find his cellphone and when he looked up, Martin punched him and broke his nose. Then, he said, Martin straddled him and started slamming his head down.

“He started bashing my head into the concrete sidewalk. I was disoriented,” Zimmerman said, adding that it was at that point he began to fear for his life – another key element in his self-defense claim.

He said as the two were struggling, Martin said “you’re going to die tonight.” Zimmerman said he yelled out multiple times – shouts captured on 911 calls by local residents – in hopes the authorities would locate them.

“I was yelling in hopes that they were in the vicinity and they would come and find me,” he said. “As soon as he broke my nose, I started yelling for help.”

Martin’s parents have said they believe it was their son who was yelling for help.

Zimmerman also said racial profiling had nothing to do with the confrontation.

“I’m not a racist and I’m not a murderer,” he said.

July 12, 2012 No racial Bias

In nearly 300 pages of documents and other evidence newly released by the Florida State Attorney’s Office in its second-degree murder case against George Zimmerman, Zimmerman appears at once absolved of racial animus in the killing of Trayvon Martin, but also as a man whose life has been complicated by a “hero complex” and haunted by abusive personal relationships.

The evidence includes dozens of interviews with witnesses, friends and neighbors, former colleagues and Martin’s family, all of which were conducted by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the FBI. Other evidence includes email correspondence between Zimmerman and members of the Sanford Police Department and an interview with Christopher Serino, the lead investigator on the case.

During Serino’s interview with FBI investigators, he recounted the report he made shortly after Martin’s February 26 killing in which he said the deadly encounter between Zimmerman and Martin was “ultimately avoidable” by Zimmerman.

Zimmerman’s statements to 911 and to police investigators “make it clear that he had already reached a faulty conclusion as to Martin’s purpose for being in the neighborhood,” according to Serino’s statements to the FBI. Those statements included observations that Martin appeared suspicious and possibly on drugs,

But, according to the FBI report, Serino added that he believed Zimmerman’s actions on the night of the killing — when he saw Martin walking home from a nearby store, and began following and ultimately shot him — were motivated less by Martin’s skin color and more by a “little hero complex.”

The report states, “Serino believed that Zimmerman’s actions were not based on Martin’s skin color but rather based on his attire, the total circumstances of the encounter and the previous burglary suspects in the community.”

Still, based on previously released police reports, Serino believed there was probable cause for Zimmerman to be charged in Martin’s death. But in the hours and days after the shooting, then-Police Chief Bill Lee and State Attorney Norman Wolfinger decided against charging Zimmerman.

The FBI has since found no evidence that racial bias played a role in the killing, according to the records released this morning.

In interview after interview, colleagues and friends of Zimmerman said that they did not know him to harbor racially biased views. Former colleagues described Zimmerman as professional, mild-mannered and courteous. One former co-worker, who spoke with Zimmerman the day after the shooting in the lobby of their workplace, said that Zimmerman looked “absolutely devastated.” Another described him as “beat up physically and emotionally.”

source : huffington post

George Zimmerman’s Reenactment Of Trayvon Martin Shooting (VIDEO)


june 21, 2012 Source :http://www.huffingtonpost.com

ORLANDO, Fla. — George Zimmerman appears believable when he re-enacts for police what he says led to the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, but some of his statements are questionable, lawyers who reviewed the footage Thursday said.

Watch here : video 

Even a detective who interrogates the neighborhood watch leader in an audio recording points out inconsistencies in his story, particularly Zimmerman’s claim that Martin confronted him, punched him and slammed his head onto the ground when the teenager had no prior history of violence.

Detective Chris Sereno asks Zimmerman whether he was profiling Martin because he was black, a claim Martin’s parents have made.

“You know you are going to come under a lot of scrutiny for this,” Sereno said. “Had this person been white, would you have felt the same way?”

“Yes,” said Zimmerman, who father is white and his mother Hispanic.

The video and audio tapes released by Zimmerman’s attorney give Zimmerman’s most detailed account yet of what led to the Feb. 26 shooting. They were released almost a week before Zimmerman’s second bond hearing on a second-degree murder charge, and 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.

Zimmerman claims he shot the unarmed 17-year-old Martin 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 spotted Martin and started following him.

In the video ( ), Zimmerman said he grabbed his gun from a holster on his waist before Martin could get it, and shot Martin once in the chest as they fought on the ground outside townhomes in a gated community. After firing, Zimmerman said he thought he missed. http://apne.ws/KWquJX

“He sat up and said, `You got me. You got me, or something like that,'” Zimmerman said.

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 said.

Criminal defense lawyers who reviewed the video for The Associated Press and have no connection to the case said there were some parts that didn’t add up.

“He came across as being straight-forward,” attorney David Hill said. “I didn’t see him being too slick on the details.”

Hill said the video didn’t show him to be the zealous “cop-wannabe” that Martin’s parents have portrayed.

Zimmerman claims Martin confronted him after the neighborhood watch leader had given up searching for him and was walking back to his truck. But there doesn’t appear to be a place to hide in the area where Zimmerman says Martin suddenly appeared, Hill pointed out.

Zimmerman’s injuries also don’t appear to be consistent with the severity of the attack he described, Hill said.

Attorney Blaine McChesney said he found parts of Zimmerman’s re-enactment difficult to envision, such as his account of how he was able to reach for his gun with Martin on top of him. Zimmerman said he got on top of Martin after the shooting to restrain him.

“I also find it strange that Zimmerman would have attempted to use both his arms to hold Martin facedown, re-holstering his firearm, given those circumstances,” McChesney said. “Once out from under Martin’s alleged attack, it would have been more logical to hold Martin at gunpoint from a few feet away until police arrived.”

In one of the audio recordings, Sereno tells Zimmerman three days after the shooting that Martin was a “good kid, mild-mannered kid.”

Sereno tells Zimmerman that Martin, an athlete with an interest in aeronautics, was “a kid with a future, a kid with folks that care.” The detective said Martin only had a bag of Skittles and an iced tea on him when he died.

“Not a goon,” Sereno said.

He asked Zimmerman to explain why he doesn’t have bruises on his body or broken ribs. The two dozen punches Zimmerman claims he took are “not quite consistent with your injuries,” Sereno said.

Benjamin Crump, the attorney for Martin’s parents, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Thursday. But appearing on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight,” Crump said Zimmerman’s credibility is the issue.

“Everybody’s going to have to look at this for what it is,” Crump said. “You’ve got objective evidence, and then you’ve got George Zimmerman’s versions. You put them up against one another and we know that written statement that he did that night doesn’t match up to that 911 tape.

“And there are other inconsistencies, and when we see the lie, we’ve got to call it out and say, there’s his credibility again, and that’s the important thing.”

Zimmerman called police after spotting Martin walking around the neighborhood and the dispatcher told him not to follow the teen. For reasons that are still unclear, Zimmerman kept up his pursuit, even getting out of his truck. He lost sight of Martin and was walking back to his truck when Martin confronted him, Zimmerman said.

“Do you have a problem?” Zimmerman said, quoting Martin.

If Zimmerman’s account his accurate, he has a viable “stand your ground” defense, McChesney said.

Zimmerman’s attorney has the option of asking for a “stand your ground” hearing in which he will present Zimmerman’s account to a judge and ask that the charge be dismissed without going to trial.

Zimmerman’s second bond hearing will be June 29. His $150,000 bond was revoked earlier this month after prosecutors said Zimmerman and his wife, Shellie, misled the court about how much money they had available for bail. Shellie Zimmerman was charged last week with making a false statement.

Defense attorney Mark O’Mara said his client will be shown to have told the truth about the incident, even though the statement regarding the Zimmermans’ finances was shown to be false.

“The attacks on Mr. Zimmerman’s credibilities are going to pale in comparison to the undeniable, objective evidence,” he said.

FLORIDA – Defense: George Zimmerman in police custody


June 3, 2012 Source http://www.palmbeachpost.com

MIAMI — George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer charged with murder in the killing of Trayvon Martin, surrendered to police Sunday and was booked into jail after having his bail revoked two days earlier.

Zimmerman’s legal team said in a tweet that he was in police custody. Zimmerman’s bail was revoked because the judge said he and his wife lied to the court about their finances so he could obtain a lower bond.

On Sunday afternoon, about 40 minutes before the 2:30 p.m. deadline to surrender, Zimmerman was listed as an inmate on the jail website. He was listed as being held without bail and having $500 in his jail account.

Prosecutors had said Zimmerman and his wife told the judge at a bond hearing in April that they had limited money, even though he had raised about $135,000 through a website. Defense attorneys said the matter was a misunderstanding.

Attorney Mark O’Mara announced earlier Sunday on his website that Zimmerman had arrived in Florida late Saturday evening ahead of his surrender. Zimmerman, who is charged with second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of the 17-year-old Martin, was ordered by a judge Friday to return to jail.

During a bond hearing in April, the couple had indicated they had limited funds. But prosecutors say Zimmerman had raised thousands through a website he had set up for his legal defense.

Zimmerman’s legal team said Sunday that they will ask for a new bond hearing to address those concerns, and that they hope Zimmerman’s voluntary surrender will show he is not a flight risk. Furthermore, the money Zimmerman has raised is in an independent trust and cannot be directly accessed by Zimmerman or his attorneys, according to the press release.

Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty to the second-degree murder charge. He maintains he shot Martin in self-defense under Florida’s so-called “stand your ground” law because the teen, who was unarmed, was beating him up after confronting Zimmerman about following him in a gated community outside Orlando.

Zimmerman’s credibility could become an issue at trial, legal experts said, noting the case hinges on jurors believing Zimmerman’s account of what happened the night in February that Martin was killed.

Zimmerman wasn’t charged in the case until more than a month after the shooting. Protests were held across the nation, and the case spurred debate about whether race was a factor in Zimmerman’s actions and in the initial police handling of the case. Martin was black; Zimmerman’s father is white and his mother is from Peru.

Police in Sanford did not immediately arrest Zimmerman, citing the Florida law that gives wide latitude to use deadly force rather than retreat in a fight if people believe they are in danger of being killed or seriously injured.

Zimmerman was arrested 44 days after the killing.

Prosecutors pointed out in their motion that Zimmerman had $135,000 available when the bond hearing was held in April. It had been raised from donations through a website he had set up. They suggested more has been collected since and deposited in a bank account.

Shellie Zimmerman was asked about the website at the hearing, but she said she didn’t know how much money had been raised. Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester set bail at $150,000. The 28-year-old was freed a few days later after posting $15,000 in cash — which is typical.

Prosecutor Bernie De la Rionda complained Friday, “This court was led to believe they didn’t have a single penny. It was misleading and I don’t know what words to use other than it was a blatant lie.” The judge agreed and ordered Zimmerman returned to jail by Sunday afternoon.

The defense countered that Zimmerman and his wife never used the money for anything, which indicated “there was no deceit.”

The judge said he would schedule a hearing after Zimmerman is back in custody so he could explain himself.

Benjamin Crump, an attorney for Trayvon Martin’s parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, said his clients have always said Zimmerman should remain in jail until trial.

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FLORIDA – George Zimmerman released from jail on $150,000 bail


april 23, sourcehttp://www.suntimes.com

SANFORD, Fla. — George Zimmerman was released around midnight Sunday from a Florida county jail on $150,000 bail as he awaits his second-degree murder trial for fatally shooting Trayvon Martin.

The neighborhood watch volunteer was wearing a brown jacket and blue jeans and carrying a paper bag. He walked out staring straight ahead and following another man also carrying bags and didn’t look over at photographers gathered outside. He then followed the man into a white BMW vehicle and drove away.

His ultimate destination is being kept secret for his safety and it could be outside Florida.

Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester said at a hearing Friday he cannot have any guns and must observe a 7 p.m.-to-6 a.m. curfew. Zimmerman also surrendered his passport.

Zimmerman had to put up 10 percent, or $15,000, to make bail. His father had indicated he might take out a second mortgage.

Zimmerman worked at a mortgage risk-management company at the time of the shooting and his wife is in nursing school. A website was set up to collect donations for Zimmerman’s defense fund. It is unclear how much has been raised.

Bail is not unheard of in second-degree murder cases, and legal experts had predicted it would be granted for Zimmerman because of his ties to the community, because he turned himself in after he was charged last week, and because he has never been convicted of a serious crime.

Prosecutors had asked for $1 million bail, citing two previous scrapes Zimmerman had with the law, neither of which resulted in charges. In 2005, he had to take anger management courses after he was accused of attacking an undercover officer who was trying to arrest Zimmerman’s friend. In another incident, a girlfriend accused him of attacking her.

Zimmerman, 28, fatally shot Martin, 17, Feb. 26 inside the gated community where Zimmerman lived during an altercation. Martin was unarmed and was walking back to the home of his father’s fiancée when Zimmerman saw him, called 911 and began following him. A fight broke out — investigators say it is unknown who started it.

Zimmerman says Martin, who was visiting from Miami, attacked him. Zimmerman says he Martin in self-defense, citing Florida’s “stand your ground” law, which gives broad legal protection to anyone who says they used deadly force because they feared death or great bodily harm.

Zimmerman was not charged for over six weeks, sparking national protests led by Martin’s parents, civil rights groups and the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. Martin was black; Zimmerman’s father is white and his mother is from Peru.

Earlier Sunday, Zimmerman’s attorney was working to secure the money for bail and a safe place for Zimmerman to stay. But residents in Sanford, where Martin was killed, didn’t expect a ruckus once Zimmerman was released.

City commissioners said they hadn’t received calls from nervous residents. Protesters didn’t show up outside the jail. And talk at one local coffee shop seldom focused on the case.

“It’s just kind of a non-issue now,” said Michele Church, a server at Mel’s Family Diner. “That’s pretty much all anybody in Sanford wanted, was an arrest, so it could be sorted out in the court system.”

On Friday, a Florida judge agreed to let Zimmerman out on $150,000 bail. Defense attorney Mark O’Mara has said there are several options for where Zimmerman should go, but would not disclose any of them. Lester on Friday indicated Zimmerman would be allowed to leave the state if arrangements with law enforcement could be made for him to be monitored. He will be fitted with an electronic device.

About a half-dozen photographers and cameramen camped outside the Sanford jail Sunday, focused on the door marked “Bonds Rooms,” where other people who had been arrested and released on bail exited. Zimmerman had entered the jail about a week earlier after more than a month of nationwide protests calling for his arrest.

“The mood in Sanford has calmed down tremendously,” said Sanford Commissioner Patty Mahany, whose district includes the neighborhood where Martin was killed. “I think now that people are able to see the justice system taking place, even though they understand it’s going to be quite slow, people are willing to just remain calm and really we’re all getting back to our daily routines.”

A spokeswoman for the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office declined to release any information about whether they were increasing patrols or security.

Defense attorneys for other high-profile clients who awaited trial on bail have said Zimmerman should leave Florida and refrain from going out in public. Sanford residents say they aren’t expecting to see him around the neighborhood anytime soon.

“They’ve already said they’re going to move him to a safe place,” Church said. “Everyone has calmed down. That’s all anyone in Sanford wanted, an arrest.”

Meanwhile, Martin’s parents published a “Card of Thanks” in The Miami Herald obituary page Sunday. The note says Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin express their appreciation for all the public’s support since their son’s death. The notice includes a photograph of Trayvon Martin dressed in a hooded sweatshirt, similar to one he was wearing the evening he was killed.

“Words will never express how your love, support and prayers lifted our spirits and continue to give us the strength to march on,” the letter says.

FLORIDA – Zimmerman’s Bail Set at $150,000 in Martin Shooting


april 20, 2012 source :http://www.nytimes.com

A Florida judge on Friday set George Zimmerman’s bail at $150,000 in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin and imposed restrictions on Mr. Zimmerman’s release from jail.

During the bail hearing, Mr. Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer who has been charged with second-degree murder for shooting Mr. Martin to death, offered an apology to the victim’s parents, who were in the courtroom.

“I wanted to say I am sorry for the loss of your son. I did not know how old he was,” Mr. Zimmerman, 28, said, speaking publicly for the first time about the Feb. 26 shooting. “I thought he was a little bit younger than I am. I did not know if he was armed or not.

Mr. Martin’s parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, showed no emotion during Mr. Zimmerman’s remarks. They left shortly before the hearing ended and were whisked by their lawyer across a parking lot to a waiting car.

In setting bail, the judge, Kenneth R. Lester Jr., said that Mr. Zimmerman could have no contact with Mr. Martin’s family and no access to alcohol or firearms and that his movements would be monitored electronically. Judge Lester also set a curfew that would require Mr. Zimmerman to remain at home from 7 p.m. until 6 a.m. and require him check in with the authorities every three days.

Mr. Zimmerman will not be released from jail on Friday. The judge said that he wanted to make sure that security measures were in place for Mr. Zimmerman, who has received death threats.

Mr. Zimmerman’s family members testified that they would assume responsibility for his whereabouts when he is released from jail.

Testifying by telephone, Mr. Zimmerman’s wife, Shellie Nichole Zimmerman, said that she would also notify the court and law enforcement officials if she lost contact with Mr. Zimmerman for any reason before his trial.

 Judge Lester had agreed to allow Ms. Zimmerman and other members of the Zimmerman family, including his father, Robert, and his mother, Gladys, to testify at the hearing by telephone out of concern for their safety.

Mr. Zimmerman, 28, dressed in a white shirt, dark suit and gray tie, was shackled and wore a somber expression during the proceedings as he sat next to his lawyer, Mark O’Mara.

He showed no expression as his wife calmly answered questions from both Mr. O’Mara and Bernado De La Rionada, an assistant state attorney.

Ms. Zimmerman said she and her husband had been married for almost five years and that she did not believe that he posed a flight risk. She said she spoke with him every day by phone when he was in hiding in the weeks before his arrest.

Mr. De La Rionada asked her whether she believed her husband was a violent person. She replied, “No.”

Mr. Zimmerman has spent nine days in the Seminole County jail since his arrest, which came six weeks after he shot and killed Mr. Martin, 17, who was unarmed and walking through a small gated development in Sanford. Mr. Zimmerman told police he shot Mr. Martin in self-defense.

The case, which led to protests and marches around the country, raised questions about Florida’s expansive self-defense law and racial profiling after Mr. Zimmerman was not immediately arrested after the shooting on Feb. 26 and remained free for weeks. Widely criticized for not moving quickly enough on the case, both the Sanford police chief and the local prosecutor stepped aside.

Gov. Rick Scott appointed Angela B. Corey, a state attorney from the Jacksonville area, as a special prosecutor to manage the case. Ms. Corey brought the maximum possible charge against Mr. Zimmerman, outlining in court papers that he had profiled Mr. Martin based on his race before following him as he walked through the development.

If convicted of second-degree murder, Mr. Zimmerman, could face life in prison.