George Zimmerman trial update: Watch live streaming video, day 3 of jury selection
George Zimmerman trial update: Watch live streaming video, day 3 of jury selection
•Zimmerman “makes a seemingly religious proclamation, ‘These shall be,’” about one second into the 911 call, while simultaneously Trayvon yells a “distressed, and tremulous ‘I’m begging you.’”
Reich’s involvement in the case began when he was retained for a May 2012 article in The Washington Post, which said the former University of Washington professor “has worked … in hundreds of criminal and civil cases over a period of more than 35 years.”Amid growing protest, the city of Sanford on March 16, 2012, relented to public pressure and released dispatch recordings from the night Trayvon Martin was killed, including a 911 call that captured cries for help and the fatal shot.
City leaders hoped the gesture would soothe tensions, but it had the opposite effect. It started one of the most contentious debates in the case: Who is heard crying out, Trayvon or his shooter, George Zimmerman?
In a crucial hearing that starts Thursday and may drag into Friday, Circuit Judge Debra Nelson will hear from experts who say they have an answer. Then she’ll decide which, if any, Zimmerman’s jury can hear from at his second-degree-murder trial, which starts Monday.
Of the experts who’ve weighed in on the case so far, none has been more decisive than Alan R. Reich, who could be a crucial witness for the state. Among Reich’s findings, from a recently revealed report:
•Trayvon’s voice “is younger and he generates much of what some observers have called screams,” including the last scream, which Reich says was the word “stop.”
During a court hearing Tuesday, George Zimmerman may find out whether he can leave Seminole County and take off his GPS monitor.
On Friday, his lawyers filed motions asking a judge to let him leave the county. They said he needs to meet with legal experts and witnesses.
His attorneys said it’s for his own safety because Zimmerman has been threatened in the past.
“Mr. Zimmerman is still at great risk of serious bodily harm, at great risk in his community, and has had to continue to live in seclusion and hiding. An increase in antagonism and threats towards him which is cause for additional concern for his safety and security,” wrote Mark O’Mara, Zimmerman’s defense attorney.
A hearing has been scheduled for Tuesday at 9 a.m.
According to new court paperwork, George Zimmerman‘s attorneys plan to depose next Tuesday two key Sanford cops: Tim Smith, the first officer on the scene and the man who handcuffed George Zimmerman, and then-Sgt. Randy Smith, the front-line manager who oversaw the police investigation.
Both men may wind up as key witnesses at Zimmerman’s second-degree murder trial.
Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black 17-year-old, in Sanford Feb. 26, setting off weeks of civil rights marches across the country.
In his police report, Tim Smith wrote that when he got to the scene, he saw that Zimmerman’s back was wet and had grass clippings on it. That suggests the defendant had been on the ground, facing up.
Tim Smith also wrote that he saw blood coming from Zimmerman’s nose and the back of his head.
Zimmerman, he wrote, complied with his requests, put his hands in the air, allowed the officer to snap on handcuffs and to pull Zimmerman’s handgun from his waist.
Zimmerman admitted shooting Trayvon, Smith wrote.
Sanford firefighters cleaned up Zimmerman as he sat in the back of Tim Smith’s patrol car, the officer wrote, and while that was happening, Smith heard him say, ” ‘I was yelling for someone to help me, but no one would help me.’ “
That’s important because someone can be heard screaming for help in the background of a 911 call. Travon’s mother says it was Trayvon. Zimmerman says it was him. FBI audio experts tried but failed to identify the voice, saying the recording was of low quality.
Randy Smith, who has since been promoted to lieutenant, was deeply involved in the investigation. At the time, he was manager of the department’s major crimes section, meaning he was the boss of lead Investigator Chris Serino.
The day after the shooting, Randy Smith accompanied Serino and Zimmerman to the scene, where Zimmerman re-enacted what he said happened.
Serino has not yet been deposed, but several other Sanford officers have, including other who were at the scene that night.
Zimmerman, a former Neighborhood Watch volunteer, says he shot the unarmed teenager in self-defense. Prosecutors allege he spotted a young black man whom he did not recognize, assumed he was about to commit a crime then followed and murdered him. source
The George Zimmerman defense team is launching its latest legal maneuver.
The recent motions filed are asking for consideration in appointing a senior judge that would stand on issues of reciprocal discovery.
Mark O’Mara and his defense team are also seeking a third party to sit in on depositions with witnesses that have strong ties to the case, like Ben Crump and Natalie Jackson.
Along with the recent motions, the defense is alleging that the special prosecutor Angela Corey’s office is not being forthright when it comes to handing over evidence.
Zimmerman has a hearing scheduled for Oct. 19.
Seven months after the killing of unarmed high school junior Trayvon Martin, the killer’s family is on a national media crusade to clear the family’s name.
What began as a series of routine media interviews denying that George Zimmerman is a racist blew up into a Twitter rant Monday night. Zimmerman’s brother, Robert Zimmerman Jr., took to social media after midnight and vowed to make it his life’s work to have one of the Martin family attorneys disbarred. He said he would expose the lawyers and their publicist, “one by one, day by day.”
“I hope GOD grants you a long life so you live to repent for what you have done,” Robert Zimmerman Jr. wrote in a tweet directed to Natalie Jackson, one of the lawyers for the slain teen’s family.
In another, he wrote: “My Life’s work = you WILL be held accountable for your words/actions. You AINT seen NOTHIN’ yet… I will see U disbarred.”
The flap underscored the heated rhetoric still visible regarding an incident that polarized the nation, and the extent to which legal advisers in the case were blamed for it. The threats posted online also highlighted the difficulty the Zimmermans have had managing their message, and the defense team’s inability to control the client — or his family.
Defense attorney Mark O’Mara said he cringed when he saw a relative of his client acting out on the web, and said the new media tour was launched with George Zimmerman’s knowledge. His message to Robert Jr: “Be careful with my case.”
What Mark Osterman and his wife, Sondra, write in “Defending Our Friend: The Most Hated Man in America” isn’t exactly new. Their book on George Zimmerman, the killer of Trayvon Martin, is an amplification of what Mr. Osterman told agents from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) on April 26. Zimmerman and his wife stayed with his mentor, a former Seminole County deputy, in the weeks after the Feb. 26 shooting.
But Osterman’s retelling of Zimmerman’s retelling of the tragic event raises serious questions about what really happened that rainy night. Chief among them: Where is the DNA evidence to corroborate Zimmerman’s story? For a man claiming self-defense in a life-and-death struggle, there appears to be precious little of it.
We know what Zimmerman says happened: Trayvon punched him in the face. There was a struggle, but the unarmed 17-year-old got on top of the 28-year-old and started slamming his head into the concrete. Curses were hurled. A flurry of punches were thrown at Zimmerman’s head and face by Trayvon. Zimmerman’s mouth and nose were covered by Trayvon. Zimmerman said he shot the teenager before he could get a hold of the neighborhood watch volunteer’s gun.
In that April interview with police, Osterman added some details Zimmerman had not. According to the report from FDLE, Osterman said that Trayvon “then observed or felt the handgun on Zimmerman’s side, took his other hand away from Zimmerman’s nose and reached for the handgun stating, “You’re gonna die tonight, m—–f—–.” Zimmerman then “slapped Martin’s hand away from the handgun, rotated the weapon and fired one round.”
In Osterman’s book, this detail is added to the Zimmerman recounting.
Somehow, I broke his grip on the gun where the guy grabbed it between the rear sight and the hammer.
The DNA evidence released by the prosecution two weeks ago revealed that Trayvon’s DNA was not on Zimmerman’s gun. Actually, that evidence had been among DNA evidence released earlier. Its significance was lost on me then. But given all that we know now, those DNA reports are a treasure trove of information that collectively raise more questions about (or poke more holes in) Zimmerman’s story.
Trayvon’s hands — how they were found versus what Zimmerman said he did with them — have long fascinated me. Now, there’s Trayvon’s fingernails.
Zimmerman claimed that Trayvon grabbed his head and slammed it into the sidewalk. Yet, “Exhibit ME-2,” fingernail scrapings from Trayvon, only showed the presence of blood from his right hand. “No DNA results foreign to Trayvon Benjamin Martin …were found….” Translation: Zimmerman’s blood isn’t present.
This Feb. 27 photo released by the Florida State Attorney’s Office shows George Zimmerman, the neighborhood†watch volunteer who shot Trayvon Martin, with blood on the back of his head. ((AP Photo/State Attorney’s Office))
For all the punching claimed by Zimmerman and the injuries he suffered — the bloody nose, the bloody back of the head — “Exhibit ME-12,” Trayvon’s hoodie, had no traces of Zimmerman’s blood on it. There were three stains, two of which “gave chemical indications for the presence of blood.” Only one had a partial DNA profile that matched Trayvon. The right cuff, left cuff and lower sleeves of both arms of the hoodie found “No DNA results foreign to Trayvon Benjamin Martin….”
Of the four stains that “gave chemical indications for the presence of blood” on “Exhibit ME-8,” the shirt Trayvon wore underneath his hoodie, only one matched Zimmerman. Two matched Trayvon. The major and minor contributors for the fourth stain “could not be determined.” The right cuff and lower sleeve of the shirt had no DNA “foreign to” Trayvon. The left cuff and lower sleeve had “the presence of at least two individuals.” It is “assum[ed]” that Trayvon is the major contributor. But because of “the limited nature of the results . . . no determination can be made regarding the possible contribution” of Zimmerman to that DNA mix.
According to Kendall Coffey, former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida, under normal circumstances, “ambiguities about DNA evidence favors the defense.” But he added, “This case has a distinction. That George Zimmerman says Trayvon Martin was trying to kill him. In a self-defense case, ambiguities in DNA can undermine a case of self-defense.”
Those ambiguities that undermine Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense don’t only apply to Trayvon’s clothing. They apply to Zimmerman’s, as well. And as you’ll see in my next blog post, the case where nothing makes sense — nothing — makes even less sense.
Tuesday’s season premiere of “Dr. Phil” was a trade-off for Mark and Sondra Osterman, friends of George Zimmerman.
The couple got to plug their book, “Defending Our Friend: The Most Hated Man in America,” about Zimmerman.
They also got a lecture from Dr. Phil McGraw who was starting his 11th season of “Dr. Phil.” McGraw weighed in on Zimmerman’s fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin in Sanford and Zimmerman’s status as a Neighborhood Watch volunteer.
McGraw said that “it’s a Neighborhood Watch program, not a neighborhood hunt program.” He stressed that people don’t take a firearm on Neighborhood Watch.
“Here’s a guy on a watch program packing a gun with no safety, it just smacks to me of Rambo, macho stomping around the neighborhood with a gun. That bothers me,” McGraw said.
Sondra Osterman countered that Zimmerman wasn’t on Neighborhood Watch the night of the shooting.
Zimmerman has said he was acting in self-defense against the 17-year-old. Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder.
Alicia Martin, Trayvon’s stepmom, was another “Dr. Phil” guest. She described the teen as “a sweet boy” and wondered why Mark Osterman wanted to share details of helping buy Zimmerman’s gun.
“Why would you even want people to know that you did that?” Martin said. The studio audience applauded.
“We believe George,” Osterman said. “We believe that the evidence that has come out supports what he was saying. I’m hoping people will reserve judgment until trial.”
Osterman called attention to Zimmerman’s head injuries and claim of being in jeopardy.
Martin described six-foot Travyon as “very skinny” and not violent. She said that Zimmerman was big enough to defend himself from Martin. “He killed him. He hunted him down,” Martin said. “He did not have to shoot him.”
The Ostermans acknowledged that if Zimmerman had never gotten out of his vehicle, the shooting wouldn’t have happened. The studio audience applauded.
McGraw summed up: “At the core of this story, this child here went to get some Skittles and got shot dead.” He told Mark Osterman: “I’m not saying that things don’t get sensationalized in the media. But I think what you’re saying is an absolute insult to the American public’s intelligence to believe that they buy into the hype and don’t have thoughtfulness enough to look at the core events here.”
The studio audience applauded.
In court paperwork made public Tuesday, George Zimmerman’s lawyer accused Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester Jr. of making “gratuitous, disparaging remarks” about the defendant and encouraging prosecutors to file more charges against him.
Defense attorney Mark O’Mara on Monday asked the Fifth District Court of Appeal to throw the judge off the case. O’Mara’s 28-page pleading, which the court made public Tuesday, accused Lester of being unfair to his client in a July 5 ruling that set Zimmerman’s bond at $1 million.
The ruling ignored a “tidal wave” of evidence that Zimmerman acted in self-defense, O’Mara wrote. That’s key, he contends, because Zimmerman is likely to be exonerated, so his bond should be low.
O’Mara also alleges that Lester insulted his client, calling him a manipulator and stopping just short of calling him a liar, things that have convinced Zimmerman the judge now won’t believe a word he says.
“In his order, the court made gratuitous, disparaging remarks about Mr. Zimmerman’s character; advocated for Mr. Zimmerman to be prosecuted for additional crimes; offered a personal opinion about the evidence for the prosecution; (and) continued to hold over Mr. Zimmerman’s head the threat of future contempt proceedings,” O’Mara wrote.
The judge’s comments were “harsh and unnecessary,” O’Mara wrote, and what Lester had to say about possible contempt charges “creates a horrible chilling effect on this case.”
It also signals that Lester has stopped being a “neutral arbiter” and is now a “quasi participant” in the case, O’Mara wrote.
Zimmerman, of Sanford, is charged with second-degree murder. He shot Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black 17-year-old from Miami Gardens, Feb. 26 on a Sanford sidewalk. Zimmerman says he acted in self-defense, that the teenager attacked him and began banging his head on the pavement.
Prosecutors alleges that he profiled Trayvon, assumed he was about to commit a crime, began following him then murdered him.
\Zimmerman, 28 of Sanford, is living in hiding in Seminole County. He is free on that $1 million bail and his whereabouts are being tracked by satellite.
The case has been assigned to a three-judge appellate panel. Two are former Orlando judges – Alan Lawson and Jay Cohen. Kerry Evander is a former long-time Brevard County judge.
It’s not clear when they will make a decision. It could be soon or it could take months.
They signaled that they may move quickly by on Tuesday ordering prosecutors to file paperwork in the next 10 days, offering their opinion on whether Lester should be removed.
Special Prosecutor Angela Corey’s team earlier filed paperwork with Lester, describing Zimmerman’s request as “absurd”.
O’Mara first asked Lester to step aside July 13. Lester said no in a two-page ruling Aug. 12 that gave no reasons, something required by law, except that the pleading was legally insufficient.
SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. —
The attorney for George Zimmerman, who is accused of killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, plans to file a motion to ask a judge to allow Zimmerman to be able to travel anywhere in the United States
for his own safety.
When Zimmerman bonded out of jail earlier this month, a Seminole County judge added some tough restrictions to his $1 million bond.
Zimmerman currently has to stay in Seminole County, be monitored around the clock with a GPS bracelet, and check in every 48 hours. He’s not allowed to have a bank account, a passport, or even go to the Orlando-Sanford International Airport for any reason.
But now his attorney wants to drastically change those conditions.
When WFTV showed up at his office on Tuesday night, Zimmerman’s attorney Mark O’Mara, was still finalizing the paperwork and said he could file a motion as early as Wednesday.
O’Mara said keeping Zimmerman in the county is costing thousands of dollars a week in security.
And with a dwindling defense fund, O’Mara said he can no longer afford it.
“Even though the defense fund is running very low, we have increased security costs because the closer he is, the easier he is to find, the more security he has to have,” said O’Mara.
O’Mara said he plans to file a motion asking a judge to let Zimmerman leave Seminole County.
But he’s not just asking to allow Zimmerman to leave the county. He wants him to be able to go anywhere in the U.S.
“Seminole County is the most dangerous county for him to be in, and there are still a lot of security concerns,” said O’Mara.
Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder for killing an unarmed teenager, Trayvon Martin.
His lawyer said Zimmerman’s fund right now only has about
$50,000 in it.
And despite efforts to generate more through an interview with Fox News, the money’s running out.
Meanwhile, we’re still waiting to hear whether Judge Kenneth Lester plans to recuse himself from the case.
And until the judge makes that
decision, WFTV was told there won’t be a ruling on O’Mara’s latest motion.
Meanwhile, Zimmerman’s wife,
Shellie, decided not to appear in court on Tuesday for a scheduled arraignment.
She is facing perjury charges for failing to disclose how much money the
Zimmermans had raised in donations during her husband’s first bond hearing.
She was not required to attend Tuesday’s arraignment because she had already entered a plea of not guilty.