Photos and Videos
On Thursday, Mark O Mara released a written and several audio statements made by George Zimmerman. In the video, Zimmerman tells a truth verification specialist what happened the night he shot Trayvon Martin.
Statements, interviews and two videos of George Zimmerman's accounts of the night he shot and killed Miami Gardens teen Trayvon Martin were released by Zimmerman's attorney Thursday.
Zimmerman's lawyer, Mark O'Mara, released the new evidence on his website.
The evidence included one written statement to the Sanford Police Department made on February 26, the night of the shooting, and several audio and video recorded interviews with investigators.
In the handwritten statement, Zimmerman begins by recounting a break-in at a neighbor's home in 2011 which led him and his neighbors to start a neighborhood watch program, before he describes spotting Martin in the gated community where the shooting happened.
"Tonight, I was on my way to the grocery store when I saw a male approximately 5'11" to 6'2" casually walking in the rain looking into homes," Zimmerman wrote. I pulled my vehicle over and called SPD non-emergency phone number. I told the dispatcher what I had witnessed, the dispatcher took note of my location. The suspect fled to a darkened area of the sidewalk, as the dispatcher was asking me for an exact location the suspect emerged from the darkness & circled my vehicle. I could not hear if he said anything."
Zimmerman wrote that Martin disappeared between some houses, and he got out of his car to look for a street sign to tell the dispatcher his location.
"The dispatcher told me not to follow the suspect & that an officer was in route," Zimmerman wrote. "As I headed back to my vehicle the suspect emerged from the darkness and said 'you got a problem' I said 'no' the suspect said 'you do now.'"
Zimmerman said he tried to find his cell phone to dial 911 when Martin punched him in the face.
"I fell backwards onto my back. The suspect got on top of me. I yelled 'Help' several times. The suspect told me 'shut the (expletive) up' as I tried to sit up right, the suspect grabbed my head and slammed it into the concrete sidewalk several times," Zimmerman wrote. "I continued to yell 'Help.' Each time I attempted to sit up, the suspect slammed my head into the sidewalk. My head felt like it was going to explode."
Zimmerman wrote that he tried to slide out from under Martin, but that Martin covered his mouth and nose and stopped his breathing.
"At this point I felt the suspect reach for my now exposed firearm and say 'Your [sic] gonna die tonight mother (expletive),'" Zimmerman wrote. "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. The suspect sat back allowing me to sit up and said 'you got me.'"
Zimmerman said he got on top of Martin and held his hands away from his body as a man appeared to ask if he was OK and say he was calling 911.
"I said 'I don't need you to call 911 I already called them I need you to help me restrain this guy,'" Zimmerman wrote.
At that point, an officer arrived and took Zimmerman into custody, he wrote.
Zimmerman, 28, has been charged with second-degree murder in the shooting of the 17-year-old. He has pleaded not guilty and claims the shooting was self-defense.
Martin's family has said the cries for help, also heard on a 911 call from a nearby resident, came from the teen.
In one of the videos, Zimmerman gives police a play-by-play reenactment of what happened. Two band aids were visible on the back of his head as he led police through the gated community in Sanford where the shooting took place.
Zimmerman said he didn't think he had shot Martin during the scuffle.
“I didn’t think I hit him because he sat up and said 'you got me, you got it, you got me' something like that. So I thought he was just saying I know you have a gun now, I’m giving up," he said.
In an interview from the same night recorded at Sanford Police, Zimmerman tells an investigator, D. Singleton, that he had never seen Martin before.
"There's been a few times where I've seen a suspicious person in the neighborhood and we called the police, the non-emergency line and these guys always get away," Zimmerman says.
"What made them suspicious?" Singleton asks.
"This gentleman in particular? I had never seen him in the neighborhood, I know all the residents. It was raining out and he was leisurely walking taking his time looking at all the houses. when I drove by he stopped and looked at me," Zimmerman says.
Zimmerman also tells Singleton he doesn't remember much after the shooting and that his vision was blurry.
"I didn't know what he was hitting me, it felt like he was hitting me with bricks, so I remember, once I shot him, I holstered my firearm and I got on top of him and I held his hands because he was still talking and I said 'stay down, don't move'" he said.
Singleton asks if Martin said anything else after the shooting.
"After you shot him, he said 'you got me?'" she asks.
"Yeah," Zimmerman responds.
"And then when you got on top of him, did he say anything else?"
"He said 'ow, ow,'" Zimmerman said.
Singleton also asks Zimmerman about his injuries and he says he can't feel his head.
"And who told you, you said when I came in here they said someone told you you broke your nose? Who told you that?" she asks.
"The EMT," Zimmerman replies.
"Did you need to go to the hospital?"
"I don't know, they said I didn't, but I don't know," he replies.
During an interview and truth verification test on Feb. 27 that was recorded on video, Zimmerman said that he feared for his life when he fatally shot Martin and said he had forgotten he was carrying a gun until Martin reached for his holster.
“To be honest with you, the whole time I forgot that I had the gun. When he said I was going to die and I felt him brushing, it automatically clicked he was going for my gun," Zimmerman said.
In another interview with police from Feb. 29, investigators pressed Zimmerman multiple times, asking him what had triggered the unarmed teen to attack.
"You ever hear of Murphy’s Law? Okay that’s what happened. This person was not doing anything bad," investigator Chris Serino said. "He was 17 years old, an athlete, probably somewhere going to be in aeronautics, a kid with a future, a kid with folks that care. In his possession we found a can of ice tea, a bag skittles and about $40 in cash, not the goon."
Serino also questions why Zimmerman called police to report Martin.
"It was raining, [Martin] was looking into the houses, looking behind, looking at me, he wasn’t walking quickly to get out of the rain, he didn’t look like he was trying to head home, he didn’t look like hard core athlete that wanted to train in the rain or anything, he looked out of place," Zimmerman said.
When asked if Zimmerman would have felt the same way had Martin been white, Zimmerman said yes.
Investigators also grilled Zimmerman on why he hadn’t identified himself as a neighborhood watch volunteer. "Did it ever occur to you to go ahead and actually ask this person what he was doing out there?" Serino asked.
Zimmerman said no, and reiterated he was scared. "I didn’t want to confront him and it wasn’t my job," he said.
"I pray to God that someone videotaped it or the neighborhood had put up a video camera that I didn’t know about it or something," Zimmerman said.
The release of the interviews and statement comes a day after the Seminole County Sheriff's Office released two phone call recordings in the case.
In the first call, Martin's father, Tracy, calls 911 to report his son missing the morning after the shooting. In the second call, a dispatcher calls Tracy Martin back to ask more details on his son.
Also on Wednesday, Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee Jr. was permanently relieved of duty by City Manager Norton Bonaparte. Lee has temporarily stepped down as chief on March 22 after he and his department were strongly criticized for the handling of the Martin shooting.
Zimmerman remains behind bars at the Seminole County Jail following a hearing earlier this month in which Judge Kenneth Lester revoked his bond, which had been set at $150,000, claiming Zimmerman misled Lester and prosecutors about his finances and passport.