New Witness Account, Autopsy Revealed in Martin Case

Zimmerman declined multiple offers to be taken to the hospital, police said

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Surveillance video released as part of the George Zimmerman case shows Trayvon Martin inside a Sanford 7-Eleven minutes before he was shot and killed.

    A massive amount of evidence released Thursday by prosecutors in the Trayvon Martin case detailed a new witness account of the alleged fight with George Zimmerman, exposed photos of his battered face and revealed marijuana was found in Martin's urine and blood.

    Among the 184 pages of documents and recordings released in the second-degree murder case against Zimmerman – the neighborhood watch volunteer who shot Martin in February – was the revelation that the lead Sanford Police investigator asked prosecutors to charge Zimmerman with manslaughter.

    A witness, whose name is redacted, told investigators he saw "a black male, wearing a dark colored hoodie," on top of a white or Hispanic male who was yelling for help.

    The witness, who was looking out the sliding glass door at his home about 30 feet away, said he saw the black male throwing punches "MMA (mixed martial arts) style."

    He said he told the fighters he was calling the police. He said that as he was making the call, he heard a shot. He looked outside and saw the person who had been on top laid out on the grass as if he had been shot. He said the other fighter was standing on the sidewalk, talking to another person with a flashlight.

    In addition to the witness account, an autopsy showed that medical examiners found THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, when they tested Martin's blood and urine. A police report shows Martin had been shot once in the chest and pronounced dead at the scene.

    "We know that no matter whether or not there's trace amounts of marijuana in Trayvon's system – whether or not he smoked a joint a week before – it does not matter. This was an unarmed teenager in a place he had every right to be, who was confronted by a man with a nine-millimeter gun," Natalie Jackson, a Martin family attorney, told NBC News prior to the release of the evidence.

    Sanford Police major crimes investigator Christopher Serino said in a report that Martin was sent to Sanford by his father because he had been suspended for 10 days from his high school for possession of cannabis. Jackson acknowledged the timing of the suspension.

    'We know that he was suspended from school because he had a bag with trace amounts of marijuana so we thought there was a possibility. That was just a week prior," she said. "If it is there, it's not a surprise."

     Martin had been in the central Florida town for seven days before the shooting, the March 13 investigation report said.

    The autopsy also says that Martin died of a gunshot wound to his left chest at intermediate range. The bullet struck the right ventricle of his heart and the right lower lobe of his lung, the report said.

    Other documents include the photograph that shows suspect Zimmerman with a bloody nose. Zimmerman has claimed self-defense and said he only fired because the unarmed teenager attacked him. He has pleaded not guilty.

    A police report says Martin had $40.15, Skittles candy, a red lighter, headphones and a photo pin in his pocket.

    The documents also show that Serino asked prosecutors to charge Zimmerman with manslaughter on March 13. Nearly a month later, on April 11, State Attorney Angela Corey of Jacksonville announced that she would be charging Zimmerman with the more serious offense of second-degree murder.

    “The encounter between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin was ultimately avoidable by Zimmerman, if Zimmerman had remained in his vehicle and awaited the arrival of law enforcement, or conversely if he had identified himself to Martin as a concerned citizen and initiated dialogue in an effort to dispel each party’s concern,” Serino wrote in his request for the manslaughter charge. “There is no indication that Trayvon Martin was involved in any criminal activity at the time of the encounter.”

    Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump focused on those statements by Serino on Thursday.

    "The police concluded that none of this would have happened if George Zimmerman hadn't gotten out of his car," Crump said. "If George Zimmerman hadn't gotten out of his car, they say it was completely avoidable. That is the headline."

    Serino wrote that at 7:16 p.m. on Feb. 26 a 911 call was made “where Zimmerman can be heard in the background frantically yelling for help.”

    At 7:17 p.m. a gunshot was heard in the background of a 911 call, and Officer Timothy Smith arrived moments later, according to Serino.

    Serino said that as he reviewed one 911 call, “in the background I could clearly hear a male’s voice yelling either ‘Help’ or ‘Help Me,’ 14 times in an approximately 38-second time span. This voice was determined to be that of George Zimmerman, who was apparently yelling for help as he was being battered by Trayvon Martin.”

    A witness whose name is redacted told Serino in an interview that she heard someone crying just before the gunshot, Serino wrote. She twice called out “What’s going on out there?” and after the second time the person standing over the other person said “just call the police,” she told Serino.

    “When asked to best describe the crying or sobbing she heard, she stated it was if coming from a young person, and the tone was that of fear, and/or complaining,” Serino wrote.

    Robert Zimmerman, the father of George Zimmerman, succinctly described the dispute over whose voice is heard crying for help in a March 19 interview at the State Attorney's Office.

    “The tapes, the 911 tapes were played for the Martin family and they identified that as their son crying for help. That is absolutely, positively George Zimmerman, myself, my wife, family members and friends know that is George Zimmerman," Robert Zimmerman said in a recording released Thursday.

    “He was just not yelling, it sounded like he was screaming for his life," the father told investigators about his son after listening to the tapes.

    In a March 19 report, Serino wrote that he played all six 911 calls from the incident between Martin and Zimmerman for Martin's father Tracy on the morning of Feb. 28.

    Serino wrote that when he played the call "in which a voice is heard in the background yelling for help multiple times, I asked Mr. Martin if the voice calling for help was that of his son. Mr. Martin, clearly emotionally impacted by the recording, quietly responded 'no.'"

    Smith, who was the first officer to arrive at the scene, told Serino "that Zimmerman offered no resistance while he was placed into custody at gunpoint. He stated that Zimmerman's facial area was bloodied, and the posterior of his clothing was soiled with wet grass, indicative of having recently been on his back on the grass," according to Serino's March 13 report.

    Statements Zimmerman made on the scene were corroborated by several witnesses, leading to the possibility that the shooting had been done in self-defense, Serino wrote.

    Also among the documents, the police officer who secured Zimmerman on the scene where he shot Martin said Zimmerman was given the opportunity to be taken to the hospital to be examined by a doctor for his injuries but declined to do so, a Sanford Police offense report said.

    Zimmerman complained that his head hurt and that he felt a little light-headed, but he declined one offer to be taken to the hospital on the scene, and then two more on the way to the police department, Smith said in the report.

    Jonathan Mead, an officer who responded to the shooting, reported that “Zimmerman appeared to have a broken and bloody nose and swelling of his face."

    Mead said that he put crime scene tape up, the report said.

    Another officer, Michael Wagner, said that he used his iPhone to take a photo of Zimmerman's face as he sat in handcuffs in Smith's car.

    "I saw that Zimmerman's face was bloodied and it appeared to me that his nose was broken. I also saw that the back of Zimmerman's head was also bloodied," Wagner reported.

    Officer Anthony Raimondo said in the report that he saw Martin lying on his stomach and tried to get a pulse but could not. After he confirmed that Martin had no pulse and was not breathing, he and another officer began to do CPR.

    “I lifted the male's shirt and saw a chest wound. As I lifted the shirt, I felt a large cold can in the center pocket," Raimondo reported. "I directed bystanders nearby to get me some plastic wrap and Vaseline. An Asian male returned with a plastic grocery bag and I used it to seal the chest wound."

     

    For complete coverage of the Trayvon Martin shooting, click here.