Zimmerman’s Statements are the Defense’s Own Worst Enemy

As I discussed in my previous post, there are two plausible scenarios that fit the undisputed evidence in the Zimmerman trial. Zimmerman’s defense is now presenting their case in support of scenario 1: that Trayvon decided to commit murder and beat Zimmerman to death with his bare hands, as revenge for Zimmerman having “disrespected” Trayvon. In making their case, however, Zimmerman has two problems they face. The first is that there is very little they can do to directly disprove the prosecution’s case, as the prosecution’s evidence is largely circumstantial and based on known parts of the record. The second is that the evidence of their version of events all comes from a single witness, George Zimmerman himself — and there are so many points of question and confusion over his testimony that it is difficult, if not outright impossible, to accept his version as being wholly accurate. The prosecution’s job will therefore be to argue that even if Zimmerman’s story cannot be completely relied upon, it reliable enough to create doubt to prove one central point: that perhaps Zimmerman doesn’t know what happened that night, but the events were so confusing that no one else can know either.

I’ve provided below a run-down of the central points for both problems that the prosecution will face.

Reasons to Believe that Trayvon Did Not Try to Murder Zimmerman:

  • There is substantial circumstantial evidence that Trayvon did not have any intent to harm Zimmerman. We know from Zimmerman’s non-emergency call that Trayvon initially tried to evade Zimmerman, not attack him. (Zimmerman later changed his mind about this, but I find his non-emergency call to be more reliable evidence than his after-the-fact statements.) We know from Chad and from the 7-11 video that Trayvon was doing nothing more than returning from the store with some snacks. We also know that Trayvon was on the phone with a friend at the very moment that the fight broke out, and we have the friend’s testimony that (1) Trayvon did not express any aggressive intent towards Zimmerman, and (2) that she believes it to be “retarded”, and not credible, to think that Trayvon would attack Zimmerman mid-phone call without indicating to her his intent.
  • The DNA evidence is incomplete, but the evidence that does exist is wholly consistent with the prosecution’s version of events, and provides no support for Zimmerman’s version . If Trayvon had been fighting desperately with Zimmerman, and used his hands to simultaneously smother, punch, and pound Zimmerman’s head, then there should have been DNA evidence suggestive of this version of events. There was none. It is possible that, by chance, all of the DNA evidence that would support Zimmerman’s story happened to be washed away — but the idea that Trayvon’s long sleeved hoodie had zero DNA from Zimmerman, even on the cuffs, makes the idea that Trayvon was manually smothering Zimmerman’s allegedly bloody nose improbable. In contrast, Trayvon’s DNA was found on the cuffs of Zimmerman’s jacket. (Zimmerman’s blood and DNA was also found in patches on Trayvon’s under shirt, underneath the hoodie, but I’m willing to assume this was from when Zimmerman was patting Trayvon down after the shooting. If it’s not from that, then it would further discredit Zimmerman’s story.)
  • Trayvon’s story only has a single unexplained inconsistency. Trayvon doesn’t have a story. He is dead. But we have Jeantel’s testimony regarding his intentions that night, and, based on her statements, everything about Trayvon’s story is perfectly consistent with the evidence, with one exception. Assuming Zimmerman’s recounting of the direction that Trayvon ran is accurate, Trayvon had time to run home, but was still outside when the fight occurred. Why didn’t he go back inside the house? We’ll never know. We don’t know what explanation Trayvon would give if asked why he didn’t go back, so we cannot evaluate the consistency of that statement. There is zero evidence to support the “Trayvon decided to commit murder” theory, however, other than Zimmerman’s own explanation. But again, even Zimmerman’s version doesn’t require that conclusion — Zimmerman still has no idea why Trayvon was outside when he encountered him, just that he did. And although it is necessarily speculation, there are many possible explanations for why Trayvon was outside of his house that night. Based on the other available evidence, my guess is it had something to do with his phone call to Jeantel. Significantly, Trayvon was on the phone with her that day, and with other people, for an absurd amount of time. But Chad, the 13 year old at the home with him at the time, never noticed Trayvon on the phone, suggesting that all of Trayvon’s phone calls occurred out of the house. Perhaps because Trayvon was unable to get reception inside — we know reception in the area was poor, with all the dropped phone calls on Trayvon’s phone records. Or perhaps because Trayvon didn’t want Chad to hear his phone calls. But even though we can never know why Trayvon was outside, assuming it was because he intended to commit murder is a wholly unsubstantiated leap.
  • The Trayvon-went-out-to-kill-Zimmerman theory has a major problem. Even assuming the revenge fantasy theory were accurate, how on earth did Trayvon find Zimmerman at the “T”? All the available evidence indicates Trayvon had no idea that Zimmerman ever got out of his car. If Trayvon was trying to find Zimmerman, how would he have known to find Zimmerman walking around at the “T”? Zimmerman claims he was on the east prong of the T, on Retreat View Circle, where it is exceedingly unlikely Trayvon could have seen him, based upon Zimmerman’s claim of where both of them were walking — so how did Trayvon find him there? Zimmerman has also said at various times that Trayvon was “laying in wait” for him, but this is not plausible. Trayvon had no idea that Zimmerman would be on foot, or which direction he would be walking in — Trayvon couldn’t have done it even if he’d wanted to, Trayvon didn’t have the time or knowledge of Zimmerman’s movements to pull it off.

The prosecution’s own story is straightforward: all the evidence in the record (saving Zimmerman’s own testimony) contradicts the claim that Trayvon tried to kill Zimmerman that night. In addition to the physical evidence,  the prosecution in this case has crucial evidence that is almost never present in killings that have been claimed to be self-defense: witness testimony concerning Trayvon’s subjective experience of the lead-up to the flight which, if accepted as true, demonstrate that Zimmerman is guilty of a wrongful killing. And finally, perhaps most importantly of all, the prosecution’s story is not contradicted by any physical evidence, and has only a single unexplained question: why did Trayvon not make it back inside his house that night?

But beyond this one question, the prosecution does not have any worries over the physical evidence and witness testimony. None of that evidence contradicts their version of the fight. Nor is there any physical evidence that contradicts the version of events described by Jeantel, in her testimony. In contrast, Zimmerman’s own version of events has dozens of unexplained inconsistencies, and relies upon many implausible assumptions. If Zimmerman had never given any police statements, or media interviews, or statements to friends about what happened, then it is very likely there would be no case to be brought against him at all. But he did speak — and his statements have become the prosecution’s strongest evidence in disproving the otherwise evidence-less claim that Trayvon was the one who tried to commit murder:

Reasons to Question Zimmerman’s Testimony:

  • Trayvon did not circle Zimmerman’s car. Zimmerman states in both written and verbal statements that, during Zimmerman’s non-emergency call, Trayvon “circled” his car, while it was parked on Twin Trees:

DS: Okay. He comes out from where?

GZ: I don’t know.

DS: Okay. All of a sudden you just notice he’s circling your car.

GZ: Yes, ma’am.

Zimmerman is either lying or bizarrely mistaken, because based on the distances and times involved, it is categorically impossible for Trayvon to have circled Zimmerman’s car as Zimmerman describes. There is simply not enough time for this story to be anything close to correct. Those who believe Trayvon randomly decided to kill Zimmerman that night try to excuse this statement as a mere “inaccuracy” caused by “confusion” and “trauma.” That is absurd. If Zimmerman inaccurately recalls Trayvon aggressively circling his car, Zimmerman cannot be considered a reliable witness regarding his claim that Trayvon acted aggressively in their final encounter, because his perception of events is faulty.

  • The “I was looking for an address” story is, technically speaking, total bullshit. Zimmerman has been inconsistent in whether he was looking for an address or a street sign, but it doesn’t matter. He never ended up getting information from either a street sign or an address. He walked right be several visible street addresses on Twin Trees while he was “not following” Trayvon. In order to “fix” this inconsistency, Zimmerman claims he walked across the “T” to get a street sign instead,  on the other side of the road — but if Zimmerman was looking for a street sign instead of an address, then his explanation is even more false, because Zimmerman knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the name of that road was. Because it was Retreat View Circle, the road he lived on, and the same road he knew well enough to refer to addresses by block number in prior calls and e-mails. So even assuming that Zimmerman genuinely forgot the name of Twin Trees, Zimmerman’s story still cannot be correct. Also, even if he didn’t know the name of his own road, there are zero street signs in the direction he was walking — a fact he also had to have known. Although Zimmerman informed the police that “And then I walked straight through to see a street sign and then when I came back obviously [Trayvon] was waiting somewhere,” this has to be a lie. In the time available, Zimmerman could not have walked to a street sign and back, in the direction he was heading, because there was not a street sign where he said he walked and saw a street sign.
  • Even assuming Zimmerman did not know the name of any road in his neighborhood, Zimmerman had no need to give the police an address of where to meet him, because the club house — the initial meeting location — was in sight of where his truck was parked. Zimmerman’s story — that he needed an address to tell police where to meet him — is not a rational explanation, unless Zimmerman had in fact intended to pursue Trayvon, and did not think he would be at his car when police arrived. Because even assuming Zimmerman did not know the name or address of either Twin Trees or Retreat View Circle, Zimmerman had no need for an address of his location — the dispatcher already had an accurate rendezvous location to give to officers. The dispatcher initially suggested “Okay, do you want to just meet with [the police] right near the mailboxes then?”, which is in the direct line of sight of where Zimmerman’s truck was located. If Zimmerman did not intend to move from his truck, this meeting point did not need to be improved upon in the slightest. The only address the dispatcher ever needed was the address of where his car was located, which had already been satisfactorily established.
  • Zimmerman’s claim that he went to find an address at the direction of the police dispatcher is incorrect, because the dispatcher’s request to Zimmerman could not be interpreted as a request to get an address from a different street entirely . The dispatcher did ask Zimmerman at one point “What address are you parked in front of?” and Zimmerman responded “It’s a cut through, so I don’t know the address.” (As it was a cut through, and not a house, then obviously it had no address to be given.) If the police had gone to the mailboxes, though, they’d have been able to see Zimmerman, as discussed above. But Zimmerman’s story is that he walked to a different street to get an address — when, obviously, that address would be useless for directing police to his car. Why was Zimmerman trying to get an address for the dispatcher of a location that had never been discussed, and had never been of interest? Why would Zimmerman get an address of a street his car was not located on, in order to direct police to his car? (Answer: As everyone who listens to the non-emergency call can tell, Zimmerman left the car to follow a running Trayvon. The idea that he left to get an address is a bad retcon on Zimmerman’s part.)
  • Zimmerman’s decision to leave his car to pursue, on foot,  a suspect who was on drugs, committing a criminal act, and who had only seconds before aggressively circled around Zimmerman’s vehicle,  shows that Zimmerman’s judgment was reckless, unreasonable, and bizarre. Zimmerman, by his own words, thought the kid he was following was “on drugs” and “up to no good” and “had his hand at his waistband,” perhaps holding a gun. So Trayvon was high, committing a criminal act, and indicating he had a gun — and Zimmerman gets out of his car and walks into the dark after him. And then stays in the darkened cut through for nearly four minutes. That is beyond foolhardy, it’s insanity. And people think Zimmerman’s decision that he needed to kill Trayvon can be trusted?
  • Trayvon did not say “You got a problem homie.” He just didn’t — that is not what a 17 year old says to some creepy stranger he is about to try to murder. This is a minor point, sure, but it is very telling about Zimmerman’s perception of the situation. Either Zimmerman’s recollection is tainted by his own beliefs of what a murderous thug would say before trying to kill someone, or else Zimmerman is distorting what happened to make it sound like Trayvon was more threatening than he was. Take away that one word, and Zimmerman’s story and Jeantel’s stories match on how the very first part of the fight started, with Trayvon asking “Why are you following me?” Jeantel’s version of how Zimmerman replied certainly seems plausible enough: “What are you doing around here?” Zimmerman’s own version is that, rather than ask the obvious question to Trayvon, he immediately tried to call 911 — but why? Why call 911 because the person he’d been following asks if there is a problem? It doesn’t make sense. Zimmerman wasn’t trying to call 911 when he was punched — because (1) it makes no sense that he’d do that, and (2) the phone was safely in Zimmerman’s pocket after the fight, as discussed in more detail below.
  • Trayvon could not both have sucker punched Zimmerman, and also have had a conversation with him first. Zimmerman has said at various times that Trayvon came out of the “darkness” or “out of the bushes” and punched him with zero warning. Zimmerman also says he didn’t see the punch coming in almost all of his stories. But they had a full three-sentence exchange before the first punch was thrown, according to Zimmerman — that is not a surprise attack. Did Trayvon just politely stand there while Zimmerman said “I don’t have a problem,” and wait for Zimmerman to pull out his phone? And then Trayvon had the presence of mind to get out a glib response, “Well you do now,” before taking a swing? That didn’t happen. And if it didn’t happen, then Zimmerman’s claim that Trayvon ‘came out of the darkness to punch him’ is false.
  • Zimmerman’s claim that he pulled out his cell phone before being punched cannot be accurate. Zimmerman said he pulled his phone out when Trayvon punched him. Zimmerman also says he was pinned on the ground immediately after the first punch. But the phone was still in Zimmerman’s pocket after the shooting. How on earth did Zimmerman manage to put his phone back in his pocket, in the middle of a beat-down? Zimmerman had his phone with him at the police station (along with his gun, which he was given possession of), with the phone apparently in working order, in direct contradiction with this claim:

“I was walking back through to where my car was and he jumped out from the bushes. And he said, “WTF’s your problem, homey?” And I got my cell phone out… to call 911 this time. And I say, hey man, I don’t have a problem. And he was, “No, now you have a problem” and he punched me in the nose. At that point, I fell down[.]”

  • Zimmerman believed Trayvon punched him because “I guess [Trayvon] was upset that I called the police.” Under the version of events Zimmerman provides, there is no possible reason that Zimmerman should believe that Trayvon knew that Zimmerman had called the police. Zimmerman is either making up explanations about why Trayvon allegedly attacked, or there’s something in Zimmerman’s story he’s leaving out. Or else he is completely illogical and has no idea what was going on. (Not to mention — if Trayvon knew Zimmerman had just called the police, why on earth would Trayvon decide to attack him? Knowing that police would be there in moments?)
  • Zimmerman was holding a flashlight in his hands when the fight started, and carried it for forty feet during the course of the fight, but failed to use this weapon to defend himself against an unarmed assailant. Actually, Zimmerman was holding two flashlights — the larger, difficult to turn on flashlight, and the keychain flashlight. (How he managed to pull out a phone to call 911, while standing at the T, when he was holding two flashlights already, is yet another question that is unanswered…) Although the small flashlight was dropped near the T, the larger one was carried nearly forty feet from where Zimmerman says he was first punched. But despite having in his hands a flashlight that he could have used as a weapon, when Zimmerman was attacked by someone only using fists, Zimmerman neither dropped the flashlight to defend himself, nor did he try to use the flashlight as a weapon. This is not a credible story. How does Zimmerman forget he was holding a potential weapon in his hands for at least the first ten seconds of the fight?
  • Zimmerman’s failure to fight back is inexplicable. Zimmerman describes that, during the fight, Trayvon (1) used both hands to cover Zimmerman’s mouth, (2) punched Zimmerman with both hands, and (3) held Zimmerman’s head and slammed it to the ground. Zimmerman does not describe doing anything at all to protect himself through any of this — something he was unquestionably physically capable of. Most bizarrely of all, Zimmerman never even tried to put his hands over his face to stop either the beatings or the smothering .  That is absurd. Instinctively, Zimmerman would have done so, as he was physically able to do so according to his version of events. So why did Zimmerman just lay there and allow the punches to rain down on him, without making even a token effort to prevent them?
  • Zimmerman had no defensive injuries, and Trayvon had no offensive injuries. That’s not possible, if an 80 second near-fatal beat down had actually just occurred, as Zimmerman claims. Unless of course the “fight” was more of a stand-off, with Zimmerman trying to grab the gun and Trayvon trying to prevent it. If there had really been a to-the-death fight going on for that long of duration, both Zimmerman and Trayvon should have had more serious injuries, regardless of who was the aggressor. Zimmerman’s arms and hands should have been bruised, battered, and scratched. Trayvon’s fists should’ve been bloody and ragged. Zimmerman was a physically capable man who had worked as a bouncer — and he was unable to injure the lighter and skinnier Trayvon in the tiniest bit, even in a fight for his life? Zimmerman didn’t even manage to bruise Trayvon with the flashlight he was holding? Or to land a single scratch anywhere on Trayvon’s hands or face or sides? He couldn’t even tear Trayvon’s hoodie, or bite a finger, or punch him in the leg? Dent Trayvon’s knuckle with a tooth? Over a minute of fighting, and Zimmerman just lays there and takes it, and does nothing to protect himself but to “squirm”? Why does Zimmerman fail to react instinctually, by bringing his hands and arms up to cover his face? Why doesn’t Zimmerman ever try to push Trayvon off? Zimmerman was a grown ass man. He’d been a bouncer, wanted to be a police officer, had substantial weight/muscle advantage over his “assailant”. He was calm and collected in his police statements that night. So why did he lay on the ground and accept the beating while only “squirming” to resist?
  • Zimmerman’s injuries are not consistent with having been in a prolonged fist-fight — let alone at the losing end of the fight. Ultimately, Zimmerman’s total lack of defensive injuries is a far more severe problem to Zimmerman’s story, but Zimmerman also lacked the sort of blunt force injuries that he should have sustained, according to his version of events.  The head “wounds” were described by police who saw him that night as “abrasions, not lacerations,” and they were shallow. Medical evidence introduced by the prosecution has stated that Zimmerman’s injuries were insignificant, and the result of no more than a handful of contact injuries. Although Zimmerman has not yet had a chance to introduce his own medical evidence, it is doubtful that Zimmerman will be able to introduce anything particularly dramatic. The swelling on the right side of his nose is entirely gone by the time Zimmerman has his picture taken at the police station, showing it was the result of a mild blow, and the blood on his nose was from two tiny cuts on the nose tip, not a bloody nose. Zimmerman’s facial injuries are consistent with him having received a single punch to the face, and also a single smack to the back of the head. It is possible — if not likely — that Zimmerman’s injuries were caused by as many as four separate blows, but in no event did he receive the dozens of potentially fatal wounds that he claims. The fact Zimmerman was injured is not surprising — there is no doubt that there was a prolonged physical struggle between Trayvon and Zimmerman. But the utter inconsequentiality of those injures shows that Zimmerman’s recounting of the fight is either a deliberate lie, or else the result of Zimmerman’s being completely unable to recall what transpired in the fight.
  • Zimmerman claims that, after he shot Trayvon, he checked Trayvon’s hands because he “thought Trayvon was holding something” — but if Trayvon had actually tried to smother Zimmerman with both hands, Zimmerman would have known for a fact that Trayvon’s hands were empty. Zimmerman was either lying about being smothered, or lying about checking Trayvon’s hands after Trayvon was shot. Or, if Zimmerman is telling the truth as he remembers it, his understanding of the situation was objectively unreasonable and cannot be trusted. Remember, Zimmerman also says he was holding hands with Trayvon at the moment he fired the shot. How could Zimmerman have thought Trayvon was holding anything? Zimmerman is, at best, paranoid and illogical, based on his story of how the fight occurred.
  • Zimmerman probably isn’t dumb enough to forget that he was armed, and only remember that he had a gun when his assailant tried to grab the weapon from him. Zimmerman’s statements to police allege that he was afraid for his life for over 80 seconds, but that he did not remember that he had a weapon until mere seconds before he fired it. Zimmerman claims that he only remembered he had a weapon at all because his assailant became aware of the gun’s presence, and then tried to grab it.  But come on now — does anyone actually think Zimmerman is that stupid? Zimmerman was in a fight for his life. He  had followed a criminal suspect on foot, in the dark, while armed.  But when that suspect attacked him, Zimmerman forgot he had the gun for a minute and a half? And that it didn’t even occur to Zimmerman to defend himself with his gun? ….. People actually believe this?
  • If the screaming on the 911 call was Zimmerman, then there should not have been yelling that could be heard in the seconds before the shot, at a period in time that Zimmerman alleges Trayvon was “smothering” him. Zimmerman’s story on this point is obviously incorrect. It’s possible that Zimmerman genuinely has no accurate memory of the fight, but if that’s the case, then there is no reason that the rest of his memory of events can be trusted to be accurate.
  • If the screaming on the 911 call was Zimmerman, then the yelling should not have stopped simultaneously with the weapon firing. Zimmerman says that he did “not know” that he hit Trayvon, and that he “thought he missed.” If that is the case, then Zimmerman’s yelling had no reason to stop at the split second of the gun shot. Because if Zimmerman thought he missed his shot, then Zimmerman would still have believed he was in mortal peril. But the yelling ceases, ending absolutely, precisely when the gun was fired. If the yelling was Zimmerman, then his fear stopped the second he fired, and his story that he “thought he missed” is extremely implausible.
  • Zimmerman says that after the gun shot, Trayvon said “you got me,” and that Zimmerman thought that Trayvon was indicating to him “okay, I see you have a gun, and I’m giving up now.” This is not consistent with Zimmerman’s story, which is that when Trayvon saw the gun, Trayvon’s reaction was not to ‘give up’ but to say ‘you die tonight motherfucker,’ and try to steal it. And more importantly, why did Zimmerman assume that the fact that he had a gun was news to Trayvon? According to Zimmerman, Trayvon had just tried to steal it from him.
  • Zimmerman says that right before he fired a shot, Trayvon was in the middle of pounding his head into concrete — but the location of Trayvon’s body indicates that, if the two were locked in a struggle at the time of the shooting, it is impossible for Zimmerman’s head to have been in contact with concrete. Trayvon’s body was approximately 5 to 6 feet from the sidewalk. In order for Zimmerman’s story to be true, then after the shooting, Trayvon’s body would have had to have been rolled over three or four times away from where he was actually shot. However, the gun casing was found inches from Trayvon’s head, suggesting he was shot in or close to the location where he was found. There is also no testimony or evidence that suggests, even under a very generous interpretation, that Trayvon was moved more than 2 to 3 feet after his death.
  • Zimmerman isn’t even sure if it was concrete or a sign that Trayvon was bashing his head against. Zimmerman is either lying or is so confused about what happened during the fight that he doesn’t even know what his head was hitting against.  There is in fact a sign, regarding poop scooping, that is located near the “T” and that Zimmerman’s head could have hit during a struggle. And it is easily possible that, if the two were engaged in a moving struggle while both were upright, Zimmerman’s head could have been pushed into the sign, thus explaining the abrasion injuries. This version of events would actually be consistent with all the physical evidence, and it also explains why Zimmerman says it could have been a sign that he was hitting. But the idea that you could confuse being bashed against an upright sign or against a sidewalk is nonsensical. Zimmerman likely dropped the fact that his injuries were received in part by contact with a sign, because it is inconsistent with his “I fell down in one punch” theory.
  • Zimmerman says he went down in one punch, but multiple witnesses saw two figures chasing one another. Either Zimmerman is lying, or multiple witnesses who lived within feet of where the fight occurred — and who gave statements before they even knew who had been killed — are telling the same lie. Given that Zimmerman has stated that the fight traveled at least 40 feet, which necessarily means the fighting involved running and fighting between standing individuals, Zimmerman’s claim that he went down in one punch can be disregarded. This is either a lie, or yet another example that Zimmerman has no reliable knowledge of how the fight occurred.
  • Zimmerman claimed he had no knowledge of Florida’s self-defense ‘Stand Your Ground’ law until after the shooting, but available evidence from teachers, friends, and firearm instructors strongly contradicts this claim.  In addition to the testimony of Zimmerman’s instructors that, contrary to Zimmerman’s claims on Hannity that he had no knowledge of self-defense law, Zimmerman’s initial written statement to police is pretty strong evidence, by itself, that he’d been trained in the legal requirements of self-defense. His statement is pretty much a textbook example of what to say. How convenient, that Trayvon should have “assured” Zimmerman of his intent to kill him, mere moments before Zimmerman made the calculated decision to fire his weapon. Apparently, even though Zimmerman subjectively thought he was about to die from having his head pounded in and having his airway cut off, Zimmerman didn’t even think to use his gun until Trayvon also gave his verbal assurance that he was, in fact, intending to kill Zimmerman.

As I slid the suspect covered my mouth and nose and stopped my breathing. At this point, I felt the suspect reach for my now exposed firearm and said “you gonna die tonight motha fucker.” I unholstered my firearm in fear for my life as he had assured he was going to kill me and fired one shot into his torso.

  • Zimmerman is unsure of when exactly it was that Trayvon said “you’re going to die tonight motherfucker.” Zimmerman was careful to note, in all of his statements, that Trayvon directly informed Zimmerman that Trayvon intended to commit homicide. But Zimmerman is inconsistent about when exactly Trayvon said the magic words. Sometimes, Zimmerman says it’s while Trayvon was smothering him. Sometimes, Zimmerman says it’s while Trayvon has one hand on Zimmerman’s mouth and one hand on the gun. And sometimes, it’s while Zimmerman is holding Trayvon’s hands while Trayvon is touching the holster. Zimmerman’s changing stories about when it was said suggest that it is either a deliberate insertion into the narrative, or that, once again, nothing that Zimmerman says about the fight is reliable:

And he puts his hand on my nose and on my mouth and he says, “You’re gonna die tonight.” And I don’t remember much after that. I just remember, I couldn’t breathe, and then he still kept trying to hit my head against the pavement or…I don’t know if there was a sign or what it was.

  • Zimmerman has never provided a complete explanation of his actions that night. Zimmerman has told his version of the fight many times, but he has never provided a version that can explain for the known timing and duration of the relevant events. Specifically, Zimmerman will not explain: (1) what he did for the two minutes between the end of his non-emergency phone call and the start of the fight, or (2) how the fight covered forty feet between the first punch and the gun shot. Zimmerman’s story (or at least his final version of it) lacks all details on these two points. It is deliberately generic: ‘he punched me, I went down, he bashed my head against concrete, he prevented me from breathing with his hands, I shot him.’ But when even these simple details get contradicted in retellings, or when physical evidence is not consistent with his version, Zimmerman’s defense falls back to the explanation that “his memory is fuzzy” or “he had head trauma” or “he can’t be expected to remember details.” This isn’t a sufficient answer — Zimmerman’s memory is pretty great concerning a lot of details that night, so why is it only the crucial ones he cannot recall? And that is probably the most decisive point, for me: if Zimmerman cannot explain, or cannot remember, how the fight transpired, then Zimmerman’s self-reported belief that he killed Trayvon in self-defense is not reliable evidence for reconstructing the events actually took place that night. And since Zimmerman is known to have acted irrationally in following Trayvon on foot,  and all other evidence suggests that Trayvon did not act in a manner justifying his killing, Zimmerman’s story is not entitled to belief.

Any of these points, taken alone, would not be sufficient to discredit Zimmerman’s descriptions of how the fight occurred. If there were one or two anomalies anomalies in his story, or perhaps only three or four, then the rest of Zimmerman’s story might be taken as roughly reliable, with some allowances made for a reasonably inexact recounting of a fight. But taken all together, with the outright contradictions combined with the weight of the many implausible claims, the veracity of Zimmerman’s story as a whole cannot be accepted, and the parts that are not directly contradicted by the evidence cannot be assumed reliable. It may be that Zimmerman is lying, or it may be that Zimmerman simply does not have in his own head an objective and accurate understanding of what occurred on the night that he shot Trayvon Martin. If you believe that Zimmerman is lying, then the case for murder 2 is plain; if you believe that he is hopelessly confused and reckless, then only a charge of manslaughter would be appropriate. As such, the defense’s goal in its case must be to avoid that question all together, by shifting the jury’s attention away from Zimmerman’s police statements and have then focus instead on the complicated morass of physical evidence. Because without Zimmerman’s self-impeachment, the case for guilt beyond a reasonable doubt becomes much, much harder.


32 thoughts on “Zimmerman’s Statements are the Defense’s Own Worst Enemy

  1. After realizing that Zimmerman had followed him on foot, Trayvon did not go back inside his house because he did not want to expose Chad to a possible pervert. Neither Chad nor Trayvon were armed, and Trayvon (being from Miami) assumed that Zimmerman probably was.

    • In addition, Trayvon had no keys or any other way to enter the home. He was required to get Chad’s attention to open the door, which would’ve alerted his pursuer to his location. He could not do that with all adults away and only a younger child home.

      • I think the chase started back closer to the mailbox where GZ originally marked his car on the google map with Serino. My guess is GZ entire timeline and path are a lie. I think either GZ found a way to cut him off unexpectedly or he approached him while he was already home. Perhaps locked out, or maybe just talking. The location of his body and the phone even closer to Brandys house suggests to me he was trying to get home. Not trying to murder someone with his bear hands.

  2. Great analysis on a great site; thanks.

    On the DNA evidence, it is NOT possible that all the DNA that would support Zimmerman’s story may have washed away. That’s because Trayvon’s own blood was found under his fingernails. So if any of Zimmerman’s blood had collected there earlier, it would still be there when Trayvon was autopsied. IOW, for Zimmerman’s blood to have washed away, Trayvon’s would’ve had to wash away first.

    “If Trayvon had actually tried to smother Trayvon with both hands, Zimmerman would have known for a fact that Trayvon’s hands were empty.” That’s an extraordinary point, pointing to one of the worst of Zimmerman’s lies.

  3. Great analysis:

    I’ll tell you precisely what story the evidence may tell when all this is tied up by the State: Zimmerman, frustrated at “these a-holes always getting away”, chased down Trayvon after locating him with his flashlight, confronted him, and attempted to detain him. Trayvon, in defense, tried to fight Zimmerman off, during which time Zimmerman sustained a few cuts to the head and bloodied (not broken) nose. Eventually, Zimmerman managed to pin Trayvon down on his back using his weight advantage and the incapacitating moves he learned as a bouncer and cursory training in Mai Tai. He draws his weapon and aims it at Trayvon whose arms are pinned down. Zimmerman’s DNA was found on the bottom left of Trayvon’s hoodie which indicates that Zimmerman stretched the hoodie with his left hand just enough to get a clear shot with his right (he shoots with his right hand). That also explains the misalignment between the bullet holes in the hoodie and Trayvon’s chest. Trayvon, realizing his impending fate, screams in mortal terror. Zimmerman knew that police and neighbors were on their way, and, knowing that Trayvon was unarmed, knew that he risked being arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. In a spur of the moment decision, Zimmerman shoots Trayvon and immediately begins to concoct his story about his victim being the aggressor. He turns Trayvon’s body over and searches him again, not finding anything. Murder 2. Guilty. Without question.

  4. Oh by the way, the whole “you gotta problem….well you do now” lines comes straight from a fight scene in the movie “Back to School”. Who knew that a cheesy 80’s flick could provide such lasting and useful material for his defense scenario?

  5. I don’t know who has ever said “Trayvon decided to commit murder.” He just wanted to give Zimmerman a beating. Seems like what a kid of is background would do if he felt “disrespected.”

    • So you admit your belief in Zimmerman’s story is based on stereotyping? Okay then.

      And yes, there are plenty of people out there saying that the “thug” tried to beat Zimmerman to death, and he got what was coming to him.

  6. Sure there are a few inconsistencies and implausibilities in Z’s statements. But Serino didn’t find them all that troubling. How many people accused of crimes have you interviewed.

    The basic elements of Z’s story have stayed the same.

    There is nothing about this case that is inconsistent with Martin doubling back, starting an altercation, and Zimmerman being on the losing side.

    Martin could have gotten back home with minutes to spare, but didn’t. This is a major problem with the prosecution’s case. Because it is more consistent with self defense, it creates reasonable doubt, regardless of what one thinks of Zimmerman’s explanation.

    • It’s the *single* problem in the prosecution’s case.

      Zimmerman has dozens of problems. Notice how his defense is focusing solely on issues relating to after the fight — who was screaming, how much of a weak pansy Zimmerman was. Anything but the question actually at issue, which is how the fight started.

      • Well the prosecution has a few more problems, such as their star witnessed perjured herself and they have no evidence as to who started the fight.

        Why would do you say his defense his focusing on issues after the fight? I guess you missed the testimony of Di Maio and Good.

        • Jeantel never perjured herself. She was also never impeached — she admitted to prior lies while on the stand, but, if you also believe her reasons for her prior incorrect statements, does nothing to challenge the veracity of her testimony about the phone call. Jeantel adamantly did not want to be involved in this, which makes the idea that she willfully staged her testimony hard to credit.

          So yes, they have that evidence of who started the fight. They also have evidence that Trayvon was walking home from the store, while Zimmerman was following the “fucking punk.”

          And neither the ME or Good testified as to what happened before the fight started. In fact, to my knowledge, the defense did not have a single witness testify to anything that happened before halfway through the fight was over.

  7. Listen to the non emergency call GZ made, he describes a person that he could have shot as he approach him with his hand in his waist band had that person made a move he was expecting him to make. Also that same tape recording depict other voices at various times speaking in the background indicating to me someone else is with GZ.

  8. Ms. Simpson,

    Excellent analysis. I hope the prosecution can articulate the state’s case half as well as you did when it wraps up. I gave up watching because it was too painful to watch the character assassination of Trayvon Martin.

  9. Everything Jeantel said was a lie.Considering the phone records’ relative accuracy, it can show that she was on the phone with TM until she heard the shot. After that she hung up and went into hiding not wanting to be an accomplice to a crime. This changes the timeline.
    You conveniently leave out the fact that Zimmernan’s unaccounted-for time (minutes) are also unaccounted by Trayvon.He disappeared from view at the infamous “T” but was still there for the fight 4 minutes later.He didn’t just not go inside his house he didn’t even go near it, although he could have done it in less than one minute.That supports the argument that he was the attacker.

  10. I love it. So often it is repeated, “Zimmerman legally can follow anyone he wants” and “Zimmerman can legally walk anywhere he wants” but when it comes to Trayvon Martin, he is required to go home and stay there.

    • William, Trayvon was not required to go home ,however that’s what his girlfriend testified he said he was doing.She even said the fight was in front of Trayvon’s house. If you followed the trial you should know that not to be true. The fight took place at the T intersection where Zimmerman hung up the phone with police and where Trayvon disappeared from view minutes earlier.The only explanation for this is if he came back to confront Z. or was lying in wait in the dark alley.In both cases he seems to initiated the fight that escalated to his tragic death.

      • We only have Zimmerman’s word that Trayvon ran past the T after he initially fled Zimmerman. And Jeantel had no idea where the fight was, she was just relaying what she understood of Trayvon’s descriptions. He did not go inside the house — that is all we know.

        The “Trayvon was laying in wait” story is the dumbest idea ever. He was (1) talking on his phone the whole time, he wasn’t in hiding, and (2) there is nowhere to hide there. We know Zimmerman lied or was hopelessly confused about how the confrontation occurred, and from Jeantel’s testimony, Zimmerman was winded and out of breath after tracking down Trayvon. There is zero evidence of a “surprise attack” scenario, in any event.

  11. Zimmerman said the fight took place at the T. He told both Serino and Singleton that Trayvon, hit and knocked him down at the T, yet somehow the body of Trayvon was found 40 feet down the T.

    All the evidence supports Zimmerman as the initial assaulter.

    Zimmerman was following Trayvon.
    Zimmerman “these punks always get away”.
    Trayvon’s body found 40 feet down the T, an area and direction that Zimmerman asserted he had never been.
    Phone witness testifies Trayvon said “get off me, get off me”, indicating that Zimmerman was grabbing or assaulting Trayvon in some manner.

    If only Trayvon had run home, this whole incident could have been averted.
    Mark O’Meara even said in closing argument that he had a full 4 minutes to do so.

  12. We all agree that Zimmerman was not obligated to follow the police dispatcher’s advice as to following, “We don’t need you to do that”.
    It will, however, go down in Florida history as one of the biggest failures of judgement by an individual, and that’s regardless of Zimmerman’s conviction or acquittal.

  13. Susan, I said “Trayvon was not required to go home ,however that’s what his girlfriend testified he said he was doing.She even said the fight was in front of his house” Than you wrote ” Jeantel had no idea where the fight was, she was just relaying what she understood of Trayvon’s descriptions. He did not go inside the house — that is all we know. ” Jeantel obviously had an idea where the fight was and her idea came from Trayvon’s description that he was close to his house.(If her testimony did not attest to the facts it is because either Trayvon was lying to her or more likely she lied to cover up that Trayvon was trying to teach the crazy ass cracker a lesson) Than what is your explanation that the fight took place a football field’s length away from there? My understanding of the concept of “following” is that it is a dynamic event.One person has to move in some direction and the follower has to move in the same direction behind him. How did they both end up at the T, where Zimmerman hung up the phone with the police dispatcher a little while ago and about 20-30 yards from his parked truck? Or more precisely , how did Trayvon Martin end up there 2-3 minutes after he left that area with Zimmerman following him? And one final question. Is someone asking you “What are you doing here?” ( Rachel Jeantel’s testimony) is enough an insult to beat the living daylight out of him?

    • Jeantel had never been to the neighborhood and had no idea what it looked like. Her understanding of the geographic positions involved isn’t reliable for anything specific, just for generalities — and that would be the same for anyone whose testimony comes from what they heard over a phone call. What does “close” mean? What does “run from the back” mean? She doesn’t have the information necessary to recreate the parties’ exact steps.

      Is someone asking you “What are you doing here?” ( Rachel Jeantel’s testimony) is enough an insult to beat the living daylight out of him?

      Obviously not. But some creepy dude who follows you and then tries to detain you sure as hell warrants a violent reaction to fight him off.

        • You feel “vindicated”? Good lord, that is absurd. Their decision has nothing to do with you, or your belief that a 17 year old deserved to die.

          Zimmerman killed a kid. The jurors’ decision in no way signifies they thought he acted correctly, or that he was not negligent, in Trayvon’s death, but instead that they saw at least the barest possibility that his acts weren’t criminal.

          • I feel vindicated, justified in forming my opinion that Zimmerman should not have been convicted of second degree murder or manslaughter based on the facts presented at the trial.The jury thought the same.I never said Trayvon deserved to die or his death is not a tragedy but he ultimately created the situation that led to it.I don’t believe for a moment that Zimmerman wanted to kill Trayvon.Otherwise he would’ve called the police after the fact and would have fired more than one shot.The prosecution didn’t have one shred of evidence to support their case so the jury had no other choice. I still think you are a brilliant woman with exceptional logic, but you formed your opinion of the case in your heart not in your head.

  14. A lot was made about how George Zimmerman was a wanna be cop. I am gonna go further and say he truly believed he was a cop, at least for his neighborhood. From his dozen of calls to police in which the explanation that was given was they (really just GZ the founder the neighborhood watch program) didn’t want other residents to call it in themselves but instead report to NW so they can call it in. Then look at his written statement where he used the word suspect 2 dozen times to reference Trayvon.
    Further proof is the 20 + visits to the girl that had her home broke while she was there. To be oblivious to the fact that following someone in your car then continue by foot is somehow acceptable behavior. This guy truly felt he was the RTLPD, and that night we was trying to apprehend an innocent kid.

    • What’s crazy is that the prosecution actually brought up many of these points, but the defense kept arguing that putting the pieces together was “speculation” even though their entire case was based on a very careful selection of the facts presented and a concerted effort to throw doubt on the witnesses and physical evidence that didn’t support their case.

      I personally don’t see how any objective observer could look at the multitude of Zimmerman lies, the physical evidence and direct ear witness evidence and still not convict. During the prosecution’s rebuttal, John Guy challenged the jurors to look at the timeline and to see for themselves that there were only two minutes not accounted for and then he told them to run through a demonstration on the dummy in the way Zimmerman described in his statements; I’m paraphrasing, but he said that it would be impossible for Zimmerman to pull his gun, if Martin was straddling him the way Zimmerman said he was, which means the gun was already out.

      I guess we’ll never know about the other jurors (unless they decide they want to talk), but at least in the case of juror B37, we know that she relied more on the Hollywood production than the actual documented evidence and that’s what’s really infuriating to me. Even though on cross-examination, even diMaio had to admit that Trayvon could have been pulling away and would have still been shot the same way; diMaio also acknowledged that he had no idea how the fight started. I would have given more weight to the evidence that didn’t rely on any speculation–Zimmerman’s own inconsistent and lie-filled statements, which to me makes his belief of his impeding death bs. The way the jury instructions were given, it was hard; the prosecution had to prove that Zimmerman wasn’t really in fear and how could they do that?

      • “The way the jury instructions were given, it was hard; the prosecution had to prove that Zimmerman wasn’t really in fear and how could they do that?”
        You finally said something I agree with. Actually the law and instructions said the fear had to be “reasonable”. Maybe the proximity of the concrete sidewalk made the fear reasonable. I am still waiting for somebody moaning and groaning about the verdict to suggest a reasonable change in the laws. In the meantime, honestly look at the similarities of Martin-Zimmerman with Cervini-Scott of 2009. http://themartialist.net/?p=306 Don’t you find the difference in the public reaction to the two cases quite remarkable? Maybe it shows how really talented Team Crump was.

      • If Zimmerman’s gun was in his hand during the mercyless beating he was receiving that just shows even more restrain on his part.He suffered blow after blow for the better part of a minute, cried out for help with no awail before finally fireing ONE shot, to end the ordeal,not to kill.That throws out the charge of second degree murder right there. And so goes manslaughter too. By the way, girlfriend, witness Rachel since admitted to a black reporter that Trayvon threw the first punch.

  15. The fact there has been zero reported attempt to harm GZ other the his yawn of events that night should quell any thug ideas about TM. Credit should also be given his family for the same reason and as they say about the apple, it doesn’t fall far from the tree. BTW folks if keys are left in the ignition, getting out of a vehicle sounds the same as getting in. GZ and his watch team were already out the vehicle when they spotted TM at the mailboxes as they approached he ran. These A–H— always get away meant just one thing to GZ and that’s out the back gate. Since we are all speculating, try this. (The four minutes)TM runs but not in the direction the vehicle is heading which is south on Twin Lakes, instead ran east down Retreat View Circle, then takes cover between the next to last and the last buildings on the south side. Anticipating TM attempt to get away thru the back gate, the chase begins one on foot runs down Twin Trees Lane cut thru the units, the other jump back in the vehicle and drives (the wind noise) around Retreat View Circle back to Twin Lakes (have them call me and I’ll tell them where I’m at). From his advantage point TM sees the vehicle go by, thinks it’s okay to proceed and does so south down the dog walk only to be confronted by the cut thru helper, the out of breath guy. GZ heading east on TVL parks and exit his vehicle goes thru the cut thru and meets TM running back north where the arguments that all the witness heard begin. Remember there were arguments, remember the first 911 call two shots can be heard and the begging begins.
    This You Tube time stamp version of GZ’s NEM call is what give credence to a helper or some helpers. (This IMO is why GZ’s story is so full of inconsistencies)

    At 7:11:11;17 whispers saying (inside) as referring to TM at the mail area
    At 7:11:16;29 whispers saying (help help)
    At 7:11:43;20 low in the background (he ran)
    IMHO seeing TM crime scene pictures of him on his back the last word that came out his mouth was HELP the last words spoken when the gun shot sounded. Besides who would be yelling for help with a gun in hand and finger on the trigger.
    One other thing people going to the store was cancelled because Neighborhood Watch began and according to some post GZ was doing a great job, he call and reported, he kept a visual but the problem was THE GUN it wasn’t suppose to be there. No matter how you slice it this guy was neighborhood watching. He says he forgot about his gun but in his interrogation and according to his friend he carries all the time, (proof he was on his way to the store) after all he had a CW permit. Leaving TM alive could have ruin his entire endeavor, but as karma has it killing him did the same thing.
    (Self Defense Claims, when one person is killed, Fifth Amendment rights should be revoked, the truth should withstand the scrutiny) Stand Your Ground on the witness stand. With hope this would slow down the GZ &TM tragedies.

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