A trove of evidence from the Trayvon Martin shooting released Thursday may buttress George Zimmerman's claims of self-defense, some analysts say. But one finding undergirds the prosecution: The shooter could have avoided the situation.
Newly released details about the night Florida teenager Trayvon Martin died at the hands of a volunteer watchman named George Zimmerman are largely consistent with Mr. Zimmerman’s self-defense claims, with one hitch: The shooter could have avoided the fight that led to the Feb. 26 killing in Sanford, Fla.
The trove of evidence, some of which has been redacted to give anonymity to witnesses, sets up the prospect of a difficult trial in which forensic evidence will rub up against questions about Zimmerman’s state of mind, his views on race, and whether the 28-year-old aspiring police officer’s sense of civic duty morphed into reckless malice.
Evidence that Zimmerman was injured after confronting someone he believed to be suspicious, the close proximity of the gun shot to the victim, and eyewitness accounts that had Zimmerman on his back, screaming for help for several seconds before firing, have prompted some critics to suggest that special prosecutor Angela Corey overcharged Zimmerman to quell public unrest over the case – a notion she has denied.
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To some legal experts, the new evidence backs up Zimmerman’s original story – that he followed Trayvon, lost him, and was then attacked with “mixed martial arts” blows to a point where he feared for his life. A medical report that was not referenced in the state’s charging affidavit states that Zimmerman sustained a broken nose, two black eyes, and two cuts on the back of his head.
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