All of the many lies of George Zimmerman cast a huge shadow over his version of events and his ever sinking Stand Your Ground defense. The problem with lies is sometimes they ultimately catch up and meet the truth. We will soon find out if Zimmerman’s lies will land him in jail for Trayvon Martin’s death.
George Zimmerman’s defense rests on Florida’s Stand Your Ground law enacted in 2005. The prosecution claims that Zimmerman was a wanna be cop who knew the Stand Your Ground Law and suggests he might know how to get away with murder using self- defense. Zimmerman told Fox News host Sean Hannity in an interview on July 18, 2012 that he knew nothing about Stand Your Ground laws before the incident. One of Zimmerman’s Seminole County State college professors, Alexis Carter, who taught a criminal law course involving extensive Stand Your Ground laws where Zimmerman was a student in 2010, testified that he remembers Zimmerman for being one of his better students who got an A grade in the course. Apparently, Zimmerman knew the Stand Your Ground law better than most others, perhaps good enough to try to get away with murder.
Zimmerman claims self- defense and that Trayvon Martin attacked him and repeatedly slammed his head into the concrete 20 to 25 times until he felt like his head might explode. Chief Medical Examiner Rao testified on direct examination that the injuries seen in the photos sustained by Zimmerman are superficial wounds and could likely be sustained with one impact. They are not life threatening wounds and no great force was used, according to Rao. Calling the head wounds superficial, Rao testified that a band-aid would suffice. The fact that a 17 year old teenager was killed over Zimmerman needing a band aid may be hard for the jury of 6 women to swallow. Superficial wounds would not occur with repeated slamming of the head 20-25 times, as the defendant wants the jury to believe. Even Detective Chris Serino stated he didn’t believe the 20-25 blows to the head because Zimmerman “was not hurt that bad”. The difference of 20 -25 blows landed to the head to maybe one or two is not an inconsistency. It’s a gross lie that goes directly to his defense.
Zimmerman’s best friend, Mark Osterman, who picked Zimmerman up from jail, testified that Zimmerman told him that Trayvon grabbed his gun and that he was able to break Trayvon’s grip and fire the gun. Zimmerman told the police that Trayvon attempted to grab for his gun. And DNA analysis shows there was no DNA of Trayvon Martin on the gun. Zimmerman couldn’t even tell the same story twice to the police and his best buddy who, by the way, profited by writing a book on Zimmerman’s account of the events.
In order to have a Stand Your Ground defense, Zimmerman cannot be the aggressor and pursuer. Zimmerman says Trayvon Martin came after him by ambushing him from behind bushes after he was returning to his car and attacked him. Detective Serino testified that the area where the fight occurred shows that Zimmerman was still pursuing Trayvon Martin. While his pursuit is not illegal, it could make his Stand Your Ground defense become null and void, like a worthless check.
The screams and cries for help on the 911 call may be the most damaging inconsistency that Zimmerman faces. Zimmerman wants the jury to believe that the screams for help on the 911 call are his voice. Yet, when he was questioned by Detective Serino, it was a different version. Detective Serino, in what appears to be an attempt to probably assist Zimmerman with his shaky version, asks him if the screams on the 911 tape were his voice…stating “the screams are yours right?” Zimmerman responded they don’t sound like me. And former neighbor and witness Jane Surdyka testified that she heard the screams of a boy screaming for help immediately before the shot occurred.
Zimmerman says that Trayvon Martin repeatedly beat him while holding his nose and mouth. That leaves one arm free while Zimmerman would have the use of both of his arms to defend himself and scream for help. And for all the alleged vicious beating being done supposedly by Trayvon Martin, there was no blood on Trayvon Martin that belonged to George Zimmerman, except for one tiny stain on the outer hoodie jacket, according to DNA expert analysis, leaving the jury to wonder how Trayvon Martin got the best of Zimmerman without any blood or other DNA on him.
The whole story of what happened on February 26, 2012 will never be known as Trayvon Martin did not live to tell his version while Zimmerman’s version changes constantly depending on to whom he is telling it and when he tells it. In the final analysis, those Zimmerman lies and inconsistencies add up and may end up being huge in the eyes of the all women jury and land Zimmerman in jail for life to ponder them.
Debbie Hines is a trial lawyer and former prosecutor who practices in Washington, DC. She founded LegalSpeaks blog in 2009 where she addresses race and gender issues in the law. She has tried cases before juries across the country and frequently appears in the media discussing criminal law, legal issues and the criminal justice system.