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AP: Evidence Mixed For Zimmerman’s Claims

Some criminal journalism from the Associated Press:

Evidence mixed for Zimmerman’s self-defense claim

By KYLE HIGHTOWER and MIKE SCHNEIDER
May 18, 2012

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — When George Zimmerman tries to convince a judge or a jury that he shot Trayvon Martin in self-defense, the evidence in the case appears to be a mixed bag.

More than 200 pages of photos and eyewitness accounts released by prosecutors Thursday show he and Martin were in a loud and bloody fight in the moments leading up to the shooting and that Zimmerman appeared to be getting the worst of it, with wounds both to his face and the back of his head.

But the original lead detective in the case believed Zimmerman caused the fight by getting out of his vehicle to confront Martin, who wasn’t doing anything criminal, and then could have defused the situation by telling Martin he was just a concerned citizen and tried to talk to him. He didn’t think Zimmerman could legally invoke Florida’s "stand your ground" law and should be charged with manslaughter

The AP thinks that a detective’s opinions are "evidence"? Even his thoughts on the law? None of which is "evidence" by any standard meaning of the term. But this is the only "evidence" that the AP can cite in order to call it "mixed."

For the record, Mr. Zimmerman did nothing illegal. It is not criminal to follow someone or to ask them what they are doing. In fact, our government encourages people that ‘if they see something they should say something.’

Joelle Moreno, a Florida International University law school professor, said the evidence now released makes it difficult to predict if that defense will work. She is a member of a state senator’s task force examining [Florida’s "stand your ground"] law.

Is this more of the mixed "evidence"? A law professor’s opinions? Besides, if you are lying on your back being pummeled, the ‘stand your ground’ law is completely unnecessary for your defense.

Under those circumstances you are allowed to defend yourself with deadly force even in enlightened states like New York.

Larry Kobilinsky, professor of forensic science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, said that after reviewing the evidence, he thinks Zimmerman is in a good position.

"I think the prosecution’s case has been seriously diminished by all of this evidence," he said.

Still, many of the pertinent questions remain unclear: What was in Zimmerman’s mind when he began to follow Martin in the gated community where he lived? How did the confrontation between the two begin? Whose screams for help were captured on 911 calls? And why did Zimmerman feel that deadly force was warranted? Did the fact that Martin was black play a role in Zimmerman’s actions?

Notice how even this far into an article purportedly about the just released new evidence, the AP still has not bothered to tell us what the evidence is. They feel like they have to undercut it first.

The evidence supporting Zimmerman’s defense includes a photo showing the neighborhood watch volunteer with a bloody nose on the night of the fight. A paramedic report says Zimmerman had a 1-inch laceration on his head and forehead abrasion.

That is all they mention. Not his broken nose, his black eyes. Nor the fact that Martin’s hands had skinned knuckles, or that he had THC in his system. Or that Zimmerman shot him at close range.

But other evidence supports the contention of Martin’s parents that Zimmerman was the aggressor.

The investigator who called for Zimmerman’s arrest, Christopher Serino, told prosecutors the fight could have been avoided if Zimmerman had remained in his vehicle and awaited the arrival of law enforcement. He said Zimmerman, after leaving his vehicle, could have identified himself to Martin as a concerned citizen and talked to him instead of confronting him.

How do we know he didn’t? Was Mr. Serino there?

But once again, this is not evidence. And Zimmerman did nothing illegal.

The release of evidence did little to clear up whose voice is screaming for help in the background of several 911 calls made during the fight…

Serino wrote in a report that he played a 911 call for Martin’s father, Tracy, in which the screams are heard multiple times.

"I asked Mr. Martin if the voice calling for help was that of his son," the officer wrote. "Mr. Martin, clearly emotionally impacted by the recording, quietly responded ‘no.’"

Zimmerman’s father also told investigators that it was his son yelling for help on March 19. "That is absolutely positively George Zimmerman," Robert Zimmerman said. "He was not just yelling, he sounded like he was screaming for his life."

Yes, that is terribly confusing.

Investigators sent all the recordings to the FBI for analysis. They were asked to determine who was screaming, and also if Zimmerman might have used an expletive in describing Martin. Prosecutors said in their charging documents that Zimmerman said "(expletive) punks" in describing Martin as he walked in the neighborhood.

But the analyst who examined the recordings determined the sound quality is too poor to decipher what Zimmerman uttered. In regards to the screams during the altercation, there also wasn’t enough clarity to determine who it is "due to extreme stress and unsuitable audio quality."

Why don’ they just ask NBC?

The autopsy says medical examiners found THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, when they tested Martin’s blood and urine.

This detail is mentioned at the 34th paragraph of this article.

Kobilinsky said the amount was so low that it may have been ingested days earlier and played no role in Martin’s behavior. He doubts the judge will even let it be used by the defense if they try to introduce it at trial.

Naturally not. You don’t want to prejudice the jury with information that would undercut the victim’s sainthood. And how kind of the AP to point this out.

A police report shows the 17-year-old had been shot once in the chest and had been pronounced dead at the scene. The autopsy says the fatal shot was fired from no more than 18 inches away.

This is mentioned in the 36th paragraph in the 38 paragraph long article. But it probably isn’t newsworthy.

Apparently, the only important thing for the AP was to show that the evidence is "mixed."

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, May 18th, 2012. Comments are currently closed.

3 Responses to “AP: Evidence Mixed For Zimmerman’s Claims”

  1. GetBackJack says:

    Mixed?

    MIXED???

    (long string of foul and unspeakable Chinese curses ending with) … and your Mother, too.

    • Rusty Shackleford says:

      Add: “…and the horse you rode in on”.

      Seems the mangled media is actually trying to evoke public outrage that could lead to, oh, I dunno, rioting? And if that happens (and it will), will the AP claim responsibility or just sit back and “report” on their all-too-welcome results.

      In the military, we used to call this “rolling a grenade in the room then closing the door and walking away”. In short, trouble-making. Dipping your spoon in someone else’s soup. This is not, nor ever has been the function of the press. The press should be free from opinions and speculation about upcoming court cases. Freedom of the press has been seriously abused and though I’m 100% against censorship, the press has used its position in “reporting” the news the same as a firebug who sets a house on fire and then watches it burn and was also the one who called the fire department, and he gets interviewed on the news and gives details that the average person wouldn’t know. This alone raises suspicion and the argument the AP raises is nothing more than a means to an end: To get Obama re-elected via civil unrest.

      However, I also suspect that “blacks behaving badly” will present itself once again and 90% of the rest of the country won’t have a lot of sympathy towards them. Misdirected anger is a fool’s errand and when they start beating each other up and stealing and looting and burning in their own neighborhoods, they only hurt themselves.

      Reporter: Sir, why are you carrying that 60″ plasma TV?

      Man: Cuz dey dih-ent ‘vict Zmmm’man. Ands dat makes me angry, so I’m takin’ dis cuz dat’ll show’em.

      Woman: Whut fo’ s you axin’ him dat? You sum kinna raciss?

      Reporter: Um, ma’am….I’m black, same as you.

      Woman: Don’t be hannin’ me dat. You work fo’ da man and he be payin’ you come down here and gives us trubble.

      And so it goes…..

  2. Voice of Reason says:

    Heya Steve and all the great folks at S&L!!! Been busy working for Mourdock and kicking Lugar’s RINO ass out of Indiana politics but still lurk. Couldn’t pass on this one tho…..a few things as I have followed this fairly close…..at least from 1,000 miles away and not in the local PD or FBI.

    1. Zimmerman, according to the 911 call I heard, was already out of his vehicle and either running or walking fast (you can hear him huffing and puffing) when the 911 operator told him they didn’t need him to find Trayvon. At this time, he STOPPED and proceded back towards his vehicle.
    1a. ALSO Zimmerman claimed to be looking for a street number in the maze of units to allow the cops to come straight there.
    1b. ALSO ALSO the timeline on this on the 911 tape showed about 14 seconds elapsing. I follow people for over 14 seconds every day while walking from the parking lot to the elevators at work….stalker I am now huh?
    2. There should be absolutely NO DOUBT who is screaming for help on that tape and any “attempts” by local PD to get the parents of the two parties to identify it is silly. They have an eyewitness report who stated he heard the commotion outside and when he looked he saw Trayvon astride Zimmerman who was on his back on the ground. Martin was pounding him MMA style (his precise description) and Zimmerman was yelling for help. End of story. Zimmerman claims he was yelling for help and an eyewitness confirms that.
    3. Much has been made of the weed in Trayvon’s system. Not to go too far into the gory details……but I do have a bit of insight here. While THC does adhere itself to fat (adipose) cells and can metabolize in the body for some time……this could explain it away in his urine. NOT his blood. If you have THC in your bloodstream, you are under the influence and as you only stay high for a few hours…….well, you do the math.
    4. The injuries to both men certainly indicate at least part of what Zimmerman contended and that the “witness to the screaming” certainly seems to back up…….Zimmerman got the crap kicked out of him and the only injuries Trayvon had were those that Zimmerman’s face did to his knuckles and the one that Zimmerman’s gun did to his chest. Had Zimmerman grabbed him, poked him, shoved him or hit or kicked him in any way, there would have been forensic evidence showing just that. There isn’t, so any conjecture or attempts to paint Trayvon as anything other than the aggressor are silly. Coupled with the fact that Zimmerman was on his way back to his vehicle and you have to underpinning of a sad but all too frequent story of a wannabe tough who picked the wrong guy to thug up on and lost his life because of it.

    Since most all I read now is this one or that’s conjecture, lemme run this down…….

    Trayvon is a budding criminal. He is already experiencing his preliminary training by acting out in school and regaling his social media buds about his other thug exploints like the bus driver nonsnese. He’s been suspended before and one time he is caught with jewlery that is not his and he cannot reasonably account for. At this time he is also caught with a large screwdriver. Again having spent a day or two on the wrong side of the law, I know how valuable a large thick shanked screwdriver can be. It is a perfect stabbing weapon and if robust enough will thwart many common locks like doorknobs and some automobile ignitions. Great thing about it……you really can’t arrest a guy for carrying a tool.

    Now he gets suspened from school and ends up at the home of his Dad’s latest. Can’t imagine that being all that and a bag of chips. Bored out of his skull with XBox, he decides to get out of the house. Forget for a minute that he is in a house with food, but he needs to walk in the rain for some skittles and a iced tea. (BTW I’ve read that while there is security cam footage of him at the minimart there’s no record there of his purchasing those items….small item but did he shoplift that night too?) So now while out and about…..something he likely wasn’t supposed to do as he was seemingly in dutch over the suspension………”going to the store” he eschews the straightest most direct route to the store and back……its raining remember…….choosing instead to go through folks yards and in between units…….the “screaming witness stated this all took place out his back patio door.

    Meanwhile a local sees him. Sees possibly the guy who has been involved in the recent break-ins. (I’d like to see the timeline on those burgels and when Trayvon began to stay there) And begins to follow him and calls the cops. Then Zimmerman loses him because he isn’t walking down the sidewalk….he’s skulking around folks property (what initially prompted Zimmerman to act) and seemingly behaving as would one “casing” prospective ripoff victims would……maybe he’ll need tea and skittles later or during the day when folks are at work…… And young mister I’m afraid while on the phone with my GF, doesn’t hang up and call the cops. He doesn’t tell his girl to get their house phone and call the cops while he stays on the line with her. He doesn’t even heed her advise to run away home. He sees it isn’t the cops or a marked bonafide residential security firm like ADT and decides he is going to at minimum scare and terrorize this guy and maybe just throw him a beating if nobody is around to bust him. He sees Zimmerman is not on his phone and jumps him.

    First shot is to the nose. This completely discombobulates you (for those never having enjoyed a bop in the beezer) and allowed for Trayvon to overpower Zimmerman and get on top of him if the initial blow didn’t already knock him on his butt. Pound pound pummel pummel. At some point Zimmerman’s cries go unanswered….even after the witness yells he is calling 5-0. Trayvon knows it will take a few minutes for the po po to get there and he will be long gone before they do. (little did he know how true this was…..) So he is going to dribble Zimmerman’s head on the cement a bit before he does. This coupled with the fact the Zimmerman stated he feared at this point Martin would grab his gun and finish the job……Zimmerman shoots and kills Martin.

    Hey, it’s far more plausible that what Rev Al and the media is offering.

    See ya guys! Keep up the great work Steve!

    Don’t forget to get out and vote this November…….your country is counting on you.


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