Investigator: Zimmerman was not at a physical disadvantage to Trayvon Martin
With a new bond hearing set for Friday, the prosecution in the case of George Zimmerman released a raft of evidence today, much of which duplicates a release by Zimmerman’s legal team. But among the new nuggets made public Tuesday was an unredacted version of the report by the lead homicide investigator in the death of Trayvon Martin, revealing Officer Chris Serrino’s doubts about how badly Zimmerman was injured, and whether Martin actually posed a deadly threat to him.
Zimmerman is charged with second degree murder in the killing of Martin on February 26th. His lawyer, Mark O’Mara, released several new pieces of evidence last week, including Zimmerman’s interviews with police after the shooting, and a walk-through Zimmerman did with Sanford police officers at the shooting scene. The document release today included much of the same information, but also a few new items:
– A form confirming that Zimmerman passed a “Computerized Voice Stress Analysis” (CVSA) test. Video of Zimmerman taking the test had been released last week. The new document includes a checked box indicated Zimmerman “passed” the test, and a statement: “The examinee has told substantially the complete truth in regards to this examination.”
– An unredacted version of the March 13 “capias” request, in which Sanford homicide investigator Chris Serino recommended manslaughter charges. Prosecutors previously released a redacted version of the capias request, but the newly released version gives more insight into Serino’s doubts about Zimmerman’s story — specifically, the idea that his life was in danger. Among the quotes in the unredacted version: “Investigative findings show the physical injuries by George Michael Zimmerman are marginally consistent with a life-threatening violent episode as described by him, during which neither a deadly weapon nor deadly force was deployed by Trayvon Martin.”
Also revealed in the document release are further details about what police believed happened on the night of the shooting. Much of the information is not new, but sheds more light on what officers who responded to the scene and interviewed Zimmerman believed about what Zimmerman did, and what he said to them. Among them:
– Zimmerman twice declined to be transported to the hospital, despite complaining at one point that his “head hurt” and he felt “a little light headed.” That according to Officer Timothy Smith, the first officer to report to the crime scene. Smith wrote in a follow up narrative to his original report that “at no point did Zimmerman exhibit any behaviors that warranted any concern for immediate medical attention.”
– Investigator Serrino believed Trayvon was running toward his father’s girlfriend’s residence inside the Retreat at Twin Lakes townhome complex when he was confronted by Zimmerman.
– Serino took into account the fact that on August 3 and 4 and October 6, 2011, and on February 2, 2012, Zimmerman had called police to report “suspicious persons, all young Black males, in the Retreat neighborhood.” Serino’s report states that “According to records checks, all of Zimmerman’s suspicious persons calls while residing in the Retreat neighborhood have identified Black males as the subjects.”
– The capias report states that Zimmerman “admitted to avoiding a confrontation” with Trayvon Martin while he claims Martin was observing him in his vehicle, ‘because he was afraid of Martin,” but that Zimmerman “exited his vehicle, in spite of his earlier admission to investigators that he was afraid of Maritin, and followed Martin in an effort to maintain surveillance of him while Zimmerman awaited the arrival of law enforcement officers.” Serino’s narrative states that Zimmerman’s actions were “inconsistent with those of a person who has stated he was in fear of another subject.”
– The investigator believed Zimmerman failed to take advantage of “at least two opportunities to speak with Trayvon Benjamin Martin in order to defuse the circumstances surrounding their encounter.” His report states that “On at least two occasions, Geroge Michael Zimmerman failed to identify himself as a concerned resident or a neighborhood watch member” to the Miami teen.
– Serino doubted that Zimmerman was at “an extraordinary or exceptional” physical disadvantage to Martin during their encounter, “based on the physical dimensions” of the two, “coupled with the absence of any specialized training in hand to hand combat between either combatant.”
– The investigating officer believed that it was Zimmerman who could be heard “frantically yelling for help” in the background of one of the 911 calls placed by neighbors who overheard the confrontation on a back walkway of the Retreat townhomes.
O’Mara filed a request for “reasonable bond” Monday, ahead of Friday’s hearing. Zimmerman’s bond was revoked June 1st after a judge determined that Zimmerman and his wife lied to the court about their finances before his April 19 bond hearing, and subsequent release on $150,000 bond. Zimmerman’s lawyer has admitted his client allowed his wife, Shellie to mislead the court. Shellie Zimmerman is charged with perjury in relation to her testimony at the bond hearing.
The Martin shooting has spawned international protests, and led last week to the firing of the police chief who was in charge at the time of the shooting.
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