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If Tuesday ended well for the defense, Wednesday couldn’t have been much worse. Zimmerman’s prior calls to the Stanford PD were ruled admissible, one neighbor testified that she heard a cry for help from a boy, the same neighbor and another testified that Zimmerman was on top of Martin, and the girl who was on the phone with Martin just before his deadly confrontation with Zimmerman directly contradicted many of Zimmerman’s prior statements. Anyway, none of the defense team suffered a myocardial infarction or a case of the hiccups, so things could have been worse . . .

First, the five 911 tapes. All things considered, they probably helped Zimmerman. Aside from the call made the night of the shooting, these tapes represent the first time that the jury has heard Zimmerman speak for himself. And he spoke well.

In the new tapes, Zimmerman came across as thoughtful, professional and soft-spoken. His language was not at all the talk of the raging anti-black vigilante that the prosecution wants the jury to think he is. Yes, there was a marked contrast between the cool, calm and collected Zimmerman of the five tapes and the agitated Zimmerman of the Martin tape. Still, if it’s the prosecution’s theory that the Martin incident was the straw that broke Zimmerman’s back, they’ll need to do a lot more.

On the other hand, the testimony of the neighbors was very bad for the defense. Both witnesses claimed that the “bigger man” was on top was especially troubling. Martin was 5’11” and 158 pounds according to autopsy measurements, while Zimmerman was estimated to be 5’7” to 5’8” and 185 to 200 pounds. Zimmerman was from 27 to 42 pounds heavier that Martin at the time of their confrontation. The bigger man. The witnesses testimony was somewhat tempered during cross, when one admitted that she based her “bigger man” theory on older photos of Zimmerman and Martin.

The defense’s euphoria didn’t last long. On redirect, the witness was asked squarely if the bigger man was the one who got up from the confrontation. She said yes. That was the money shot, and it was deadly.

Her testimony corroborated the testimony of the prior witness who also claimed that Zimmerman was on top during the scrum. The defense tried to show that her timeline was off, that Martin was on top, then once he was shot, Zimmerman rolled to the top position. The witness was having none of it.

Neither witness presented the prosecution with a “smoking gun,” and there were some holes in their testimony. Hey, it was dark, one witness thought she heard three shots, and nobody saw any faces. Nevertheless, both neighbors contradicted Zimmerman’s account of his physical battle with Martin. These were the second and third neighbors to do so.

The testimony of Rachel Jeantel, who was on the phone with Martin in the minutes leading up to his death, was likewise problematic to the defense. Jeantel, who may have developmental issues, testified that Martin told her that he was being watched by “a creepy-ass cracker.” At that time, Jeantel made a joke about the watcher possibly being a rapist, but Martin told her to stop playing. Shortly after, Martin told Jeantel that the man, presumably Zimmerman, was now following him.

So far, Jeantel’s account did not vary much from Zimmerman’s. Zimmerman already admitted on the police tape that he observed Martin and then followed him. The operator then advised Zimmerman “we don’t need you to do that,” at which point Zimmerman responded “okay.” But the okay was after Zimmerman had complained that “they always get away.” So did he really turn back? That’s the 25-years-to-life question.

Jeantel then says that Martin told her he’d given his pursuer the slip. Jeantel told him to run home, but Martin said that he’d just walk fast because he was almost there (in fact, Martin’s body was about 50 to 70 yards from the place where he was staying).

According to Jeantel, she then heard Martin exclaim “oh, shit,” and “the nigger’s behind me.” Then she claimed she heard Martin asking “what are you following me for?” She claims she heard a heavy breathing man say, “what are you doing here?” What followed next were the sounds of thumping, which Jeantel demonstrated by tapping her chest where Martin’s headset microphone would have been. She heard “wet grass sounds” before the call was cut off.

That part of Jeantel’s account directly contradicts Zimmerman’s, in which Zimmerman stated that he had turned back to his car and was then confronted by Martin. While not part of any testimony so far, it’s worth noting that in neither Zimmerman’s nor Jeantel’s account did Zimmerman ever mention to Martin that he was the neighborhood watchman.

Don West handled Jeantel’s cross, and scored points by having her admit that she lied to Martin’s parents as to why she did not go to Martin’s wake and for claiming that she was a minor, when in fact she was 18 at the time. West will probably have another go at Jeantel tomorrow.

West’s cross was fine and his avuncular demeanor should not be off-putting to the jury, who might be offended by a more vigorous cross of a crying teenager who will never be confused with a Mensa candidate. It’s also worth noting that while Jeantel is inarticulate and a little slow on the uptake, when it comes to dates and times she’s practically a savant.

It’s early in the trial and there are bound to be surprises along the way, so we’ll keep watching.

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  1. I’m so fucking sick of this case, and the people on both sides stating bullshit without any facts. Trying to act like you know Martin’s or Zimmerman’s true motives and mindsets is idiotic, on both sides of the issue. Calling Zimmerman a racist and Martin a thug is so dumb, it’s caused me to stop following the case. Everyone is a raving lunatic about this case, it just needs to end.

  2. Can people stop pretending they know the true mindsets of Zimmerman or Martin? You don’t, both sides of the issue. I’m tired of reading Zimmerman killed him because he’s racist, or that Martin is a gangbanging thug (racist codeword) and he deserved his fate.

    So annoying.

      • Yeah, no. It’s used as a racist codeword and it means “black criminal” the vast majority of the time. That’s just a fact, jack.

        • No sir, it describes a behavior pattern. The fact that many who exhibit that behavior pattern are of groups we have been taught to view as persecuted does not in any way alter the behavior. A “gang banging thug” of European ancestry is neither more nor less reprehensible than one who’s ancestors hailed from a different climate.

        • I like to think I’m pretty alert to most racist code words, but I don’t think ‘thug’ applies.

        • I don’t know what Martin was. What I do know is that of the two, Zimmerman was the only one with a record. And a record of violence.

          Martin had been suspended from school and smoked pot. If those were crimes, then most of the 60’s generation would still be doing time. And he was 17.

          Zimmerman had a DRO and an arrest after a run-in with the cops. When he was 20.

          I find it amusing that the 17 year old was a thug when the twenty year old was an upstanding citizen.

          The truth is that neither of them was Dillinger. They were just guys.

        • No race card here, just facts. That’s how thug is used the vast majority of the time. It’s what you call dog whistle racism.

        • Per the American Heritage Dictionary “1. A cutthroat or ruffian; a hoodlum.
          2. also Thug, One of a band of professional assassins formerly active in northern India who worshiped Kali and offered their victims to her.”
          Thugs, or thuggees were first written about in 1356.

        • Yeah, thug means “big back black guy that is dangerous.” It was put into our common language by rappers and pop starts that want to be thugs and want to celebrate thugs.

          So when thugs die like thugs because they listened to thugs glorifying the thug life – I won’t shed a f*cking tear.

        • Nate, you are a racist for saying that, and that is a fact.

          I’ve known many White and Hispanic gangbanging thugs and that is a fact.

        • 1. The definition has no bearing on the way people use it, and they use it as a racist codeword.

          2. I’m racist for pointing that out? That makes no sense.

        • Blacks are also seven times more likely to commit murder and eight times more likely to commit robbery than other races Nate. That’s a fact. So, I guess by your definition ant synonym of criminal, to include criminal, is a “racist codeword” since they disproportionately are used to describe violent African Americans.

        • “The word is primarily used to denote black criminals, that’s a fact.”

          It makes you a racist by defining the word as such, as well as anyone who claims to be anti-racist by making everything center on racism or a “code word” for racism.

          When you stop letting your own prejudices or the pressuring of people who want you to think in such limited terms as “code words” determine your interpretation of things then maybe you’ll understand why your definition is racist.

          And that too, could be taken as a fact, “jack”.

        • Can you two (and others) PLEASE stop calling either other racist for every perceived slight. It’s getting tired.

        • So Nate, what was Trayvon Martin’s remark ““the nigger’s behind me” a code word for regarding Zimmerman?

          I mean, is “nigger” a code word for light skinned man? Just like thug must be a code word for dark skinned?

          Is this the new vernacular? Are all “niggers” now light skinned? I’m curious to hear what other education you may have picked up from NPR.

        • Sorry, but the Latin Kings, MS-13, Armenian Power, Flying Dragons, El Monte Flores 13 and the Clanton 14 gangs would all be upset with your thinking that gangbangers and thugs are “black”.

        • Ha ha. The Skittle chomper was a ghetto gang banger thug. Libtards (democrats) and their henchmen media elite made it an issue.
          I am going to break their effing hearts with it.
          I kill them before they kill me.

        • I really don’t know enough about either one of them to say who was what. All I’m doing is defending the English language, as others on here. But as for the word, it had entered the English language long before any modern lifestyle musicians. It was used in Britain AT LEAST since the late 1700’s to describe a person who made their living from violent crime. A synonym, and one often used in conjunction at that time would be ruffian.

        • you see how hard you guys are arguing, “well, it’s not possible for someone to use thug in a racist manner because the dictionary says-?”

          that’s what’s telling. there is a presumption among racists that Martin is a thug simply because he’s black WHETHER OR NOT he means the literal definition of “thug” due to his behavior or anything else.

          using the word accurately because of whatever reasons specific to Trayvon is not what Nate is actually talking about. some may be protesting a bit too much.

    • Hey Nate: what’s this in Trayvon’s hand?

      He was 17 years old. He was too young to own a handgun, legally.

      Or how about this exchange between Martin and a friend?

      “MARTIN: Cause man dat nigga snitched on me

      FRIEND: Bae y you always fightinqq man, you got suspended?

      MARTIN: Naw we thumped afta skool in a duckd off spot

      FRIEND: Ohh, Well Damee

      MARTIN: I lost da 1st round 🙁 but won da 2nd nd 3rd . . . .

      FRIEND: Ohhh So It Wass 3 Rounds? Damn well at least yu wonn lol but yuu needa stop fighting bae Forreal

      MARTIN: Nay im not done with fool….. he gone hav 2 see me again

      FRIEND: Nooo… Stop, yuu waint gonn bee satisified till yuh suspended again, huh?

      MARTIN: Naw but he aint breed nuff 4 me, only his nose ”

      Martin said someone “aint breed[bleed] nuff 4 me]” What kind of a human being says something like that, perhaps a thug?

      Also from the article:
      “Before leaving for Orlando on February 21, 2012, Martin had already missed 53 days of school that year and been suspended three times, most recently for possessing drug paraphernalia, the time before that for getting caught with women’s jewelry and a burglary tool.”

      Another exchange between Martin and a friend:
      “U a hoodlum,” said the friend. “Naw,” said Martin. “I’m a gangsta.”

      You complained, and I quote, of hearing that “Martin is a gangbanging thug”. In his own words, Martin said “I’m a gangsta”.

      • Clearly the loss of Trayvon Martin will be a huge loss for humanity. Just think of all the greatness he possessed. The wonderful contribution to society. The intellectual conversations.

    • It is ironic that consider people who presume to know Martin or Zimmerman’s mindset “idiotic” while in the same breath presuming that you know the mindset of everyone who has called Martin a “thug”.

  3. That 3 shots comment does not help her credibility. To bad none of these neighbors filmed this, it would make this trial much easier.

  4. No one saw exactly who was who through a pouring rain.
    And all of this doesn’t matter unless they prove malice from Zimmerman. Nothing presented even comes close to that. If justice prevails the case will be dismissed after the prosecution rests due to having zero case. I can see why two other prosecutors turned down the case. There’s noting here.

    • @Chris, the prosecution will have to prove a depraved mind to get a Murder 2 conviction. I’m not seeing that yet, but a manslaughter conviction is clearly on the table.

      Also, what the prosecution did today, unless successfully rebutted by the defense, will enable it to go to the jury. So far, I don’t see why the judge would dismiss the murder count.

      I don’t have a dog in this fight and I’m not siding with the prosecution or the defense. I’m just interpreting what I see as a lawyer. Which could change in a heartbeat, since we’re in the first three days of a case that should last a month or perhaps more.

      • If the judge thows out the murder charge how will a manslaughter charge work considering the Stand Your Ground Law in Fla.

        • Self-defense can still apply, but even a manslaughter charge (hell, any crime really) can force GZ into 25-life sentencing based on Florida’s mandatory gun-crime law. Angela Corey, has run others on the rail straight to prison based on this. Aim-high, land low, still get the sentence no matter the charge.

        • Clearly biased “witnesses” that saw what they say they saw in the dark of night. That’s solid.

        • @Steve O, if by “biased” you mean that they’re saying things that you don’t want to be true, then they’re biased.

          But that’s a strange definition.

      • Many people don’t know about the flaws of eye witness testimony and human memory. You can bet the prosecution would have made sure none of the jurors were too up to speed.

        • Can they afford an expert witness on it? There are certainly studies on the subject, but don’t they usually get excluded as being prejudicial? That’s what I remember from my Forensic Psych class, anyway.

  5. Jeantell also testified to hearing Martin’s voice shouting “Get off! Get off!” prior to the phone cutting out. If the jury finds her credible, that would suggest Martin was trying to disengage from the confrontation.

    • No. I was listening. Rachel testified that yes, under oath during the deposition, she would not say that it was Martin’s voice, but that it could have been, that sometimes he sounded a bit like that, maybe. So much for that ID.

      I was astounded by the witness, Rachel. How often does a witness take the stand to explain that yes, she lies easily? That she pretty’s up her statements to accommodate the deceased’s family?

      So Rachel lies to make people happy (her own testimony) and a neighbor can’t be sure if it’s one shot or three, but can see through the rain, but can’t.

      Fortunately there are other witnesses to take the stand. Perhaps we’ll get clearer less internally conflicted testimony?

      As for “who’s on top?” I’m bemused that people find it debatable. Exactly one of the two involved in the fight had puncture wounds on the back of his head requiring multiple impacts with a hard surface (because the wounds are puncture wounds in different planes). Exactly one of the defendants also had small puncture wounds on both sides of his head. Is it really in doubt who was on top? Really?

      • Even the defense said that they may have exchanged positions. So one may have started on top and ended on the bottom.

        • Well certainly in the abstract they “may have” changed positions Three times! Five times! But there would be physical evidence of that on a rainy night, wouldn’t there? (Yes, the forensics were bungled.)

          The question in light of the law seems to me to be “was Martin on top preventing Zimmerman from breaking off the fight, and was Martin inflicting, or appearing to have the present capacity and immediate intent to impose grievous bodily injury on Martin at the time the gun was pulled and the shot fired?”

          And that question only matters if the prosecution succeeds in making a strong case for the requisite state of mind for the crime. It will be interesting.

          Banging a fellow’s head on concrete even without puncture wounds can inflict death. With puncture wounds a fellow’s certainly in trouble. I have heard nothing thus far indicating that Martin suffered serious blows up to the moment of the shooting, which sways my admittedly inconsequential opinion.

  6. The state does not have the needed evidence to convict, that was clear a year ago. I hope that will be enough for GZ.

      • I have no idea how you think that Ralph; no witness has even come close to actually establishing who was on top in the fight without having to say they could see shadows in the pouring rain. Also, the fact that the main witness saying she could see that the “bigger man was on top” was basing the difference on a photo of Martin when he was 12 years old. I doubt the judge would even let it go to the jury at this point.

  7. Well, the problem with the testimony about Martin being on top, is that only Zimmerman had grass stains on the back of his shirt. Martin had grass stains on his knees consistent with Zimmerman’s account of Martin being on top. So, the physical evidence seems to support Martin on top from what I’ve read.

        • It’s amazing that smart people disbelieve anything from the media except when it suits them to believe. The same media reported that GZ was a racist, which at this point I find hard to believe.

          When I hear the testimony in court, I’ll come to my own conclusions, as will the jury. Until then, it’s just a rumor.

      • Actually, they held up Martin’s pants in court…guess what? They had stains on both knees. Not sure how you would get stains on your knees if you were being pinned to the ground. I’d believe the person doing the pinning would absolutely get stains on their knees. Subtle, but simple observation.

        • There are lots of ways to get your pants stained. And assuming that there were grass stains on Martin’s pants, the question isn’t whether he started on top, it’s whether he ended up that way.

          In other words, was GZ on the bottom when he fired, or on top?

          Even the defense contends that the two could have exchanged places. The defense proposed that maybe GZ was on the bottom, and then rolled to the top after the shot. is that correct? Damned if I know.

      • The testamony from the girl freind was 1/2 truths and lies proven by her past deceptions. The other accounts were iffy at best

  8. The testimony still doesn’t prove that Martin didn’t turn and confront Zimmerman, nor that Zimmerman had turned around. Too much reasonable doubt for me.

  9. Wouldn’t the injuries to the back of zimmermans head contradict the two witnesses saying zimmerman was on top. In my opinion the injuries, it being dark and neither of them could see TM’s or GZ’s faces it wouldn’t make them very credible witnesses of what actually went on.

    • Wouldn’t the injuries to the back of zimmermans head contradict the two witnesses saying zimmerman was on top.

      Not necessarily. None of the witnesses claimed to see the beginning of the fight. And there are lots of ways for Zimmerman to get scratches on his head. I’m waiting for the forensics. They may be very revealing. Or not.

      • The beginning of the fight really is key. It could be that Zimmerman shoved/pushed Martin first, effectively meaning that Martin was acting in self-defense – he couldn’t be sure how far this stranger would take things.

        That really is the problem in getting the ‘right’ verdict morally vice the ‘right’ verdict legally. No one saw how it actually started.

        • You are on the path to enlightenment. The thing I don’t get is this: if we believe Jeantel, Martin was scared of the creepy guy who was watching and then following him. Scared enough to say “oh, shit,” when he found Zimmerman on his six.

          What was Zimmerman scared of? He had the gun.

        • “Oh, shit” doesn’t mean a guy is scared any more than it means “there’s that pain in the a4s again.”

        • The beginning of the fight is made the focus by some interested parties, but I don’t see it as legally determinative. The legal question seems to me “Was there a time when Martin was on top, banging Zimmerman’s head on the concrete walkway? If so, was that circumstance the immediate precedent of Zimmerman’s pulling the trigger? Whatever happened earlier, if force which could inflict grievous physical harm was being applied and Zimmerman was prevented from withdrawing from the fight, the use of lethal force is, in FL, legal. Since there is physical evidence of Zimmerman’s head being banged, and essentially no injury to Martins body beyond scratches on his fingers and the terminal bullet wound, it seems like a difficult prosecution except on emotional grounds. I note several newspapers are still printing a photo of 12-year-old Martin, but a contemporaneous-to-the-fight Zimmerman. Just reporting?

        • Biased reporting, RD. That much is clear. But just because the media is FOS doesn’t mean that Zimmerman was justified in killing Martin.

          One guy had a weapon. One guy followed the other. Once guy killed the other. Scratches on the head or no scratches, Zimmerman has a lot of explaining to do.

          Maybe his counsel will do a good job and explain everything away. Maybe not.

          A long time ago when I was a baby lawyer, I was told to judge a case by one rule: if I could choose either side based on nothing but the likelihood of success, which one would I pick?

          It’s just too soon to pick that side in this case.

        • “A long time ago when I was a baby lawyer, I was told to judge a case by one rule: if I could choose either side based on nothing but the likelihood of PAYMENT, which one would I pick?”

          FIFY Ralph. 🙂

        • You always got paid? But of course. Criminal defense lawyers always require a retainer. I bet that whole federal “paid with the known fruits of crime” bit was a pain. Maybe not?

        • On a more serious note Ralph, is your Lawyer Spidey Sense not tingling with this case? The cast of characters involved, between the Black Grievance lawyers, the politicians and the whole Miami Martin /witness 8 crew, something very nefarious has been going on in this case from day 1. Way too much money at stake to be an honest prosecution of the entire case. We will see.

        • @J&D, my spidey sense always tingles during a trial. But it’s very early for me to draw any conclusions. There are weeks of testimony ahead of us, and I expect the unexpected.

          How will this play out? If I knew the answer to that, I’d be charging you for stock tips.

      • Exactly. Possibly the main piece of evidence I want to see is the bullet itself. Did it go through? Did it bury itself deep, straight down in the grass, indicating a top down shot? Or did it float off into nowhere because it was shot upwards. Kind of a big bit of evidence.

    • Well, the witness insisting there were three shots fired also insisted the perso who was shot was shot in the back while laying on the ground. She saw it in a heavy rain. So, how accurate are her perceptions?

      • The chamber was clear of any rounds, and the magazine was full. How does one pop off there rounds without tapping into the magazine and without a second round entering the chamber to be fired? There was one shot, the gun jammed probably because it the slide was kept from racking all the way back (may have been caught on clothing or a hand was on the slide) to pick up another round and place it in the chamber. 1 round expended. 1 full magazine. And aparently, the trajectory was an upwards shot with a burn lattem consistent of a 4″+ distance of muzzle to skin. Sounds like he pulled he gun out while being pounded on and just pulled the trigger hoping to hit something.

        • There was a lot of mistaken information about the state of the magazine immediately following the event. Some of it was propagated (and questioned) but not answered on this site. I hypothesized (and I was not alone in this) at the time that as the stories were coming from reporters who knew nothing about guns, in their world magazines are binary: they’re either “full” or “empty.” It appears that the hypothesis was correct.

          The magazine may have appeared “full” but it was not numerically full. It was a seven round magazine that contained six rounds when recovered by police. The gun forensic lab report states they received one empty brass case, one KEL-TEC PF9, one 9mm Luger cartridge, and one magazine containing 6 9mm Luger cartridges. The gun fired, ejected, and chambered the next round exactly as designed, leaving 6 in the magazine.

          Gun Forensic Lab Report (pdf warning)

    • I don’t follow. There is no law saying that as you’re being attacked you can not respond until you’re injured. Being good at defending yourself is not a crime.

      • If someone attacks you and breaks your nose and cracks your head open do you shoot him or let hm continue . If you are approached and are scared of the man that approched you do you run or leave or fight him the girl on he hone has done nothing but lie scince the beginning

        • “Cracks your head open”

          What? He had scratches. No stitches were needed to close these “head cracking” wounds. No visit to the doctor or ER was needed to repair his “cracked” skull. Scalp wounds bleed like Niagara Falls, and his bled minimally. There’s been no medical evidence to verify that his nose was broken, and a broken nose does not qualify as grievous bodily injury.

      • A broken nose is not a minor injury, and neither are blows to the back of the head.

        Assuming Zimmerman’s story is true (that he was on his back, having his head bashed against the concrete), pretty much all LEO guidelines say that in that situation, your life is in imminent danger and you are allowed to use deadly force.

        • A broken nose is a minor injury. And the “rules” for LEOs have nothing to do with us, since we are mere mortals.

        • There’s a FL case that clarifies a grievous injury in distinguishing aggravated assault. A broken jaw is grievous. A bloody nose is not. They didn’t mention broken noses. But the judiciary had, until recently, an extremely poor conception of brain trauma and its consequences. A hard punch to the head IS frequently the cause of grievous injury: It simply plays out over years, not minutes. Hopefully this is rapidly changing. (I cited the case here months ago. Not going to look it up again.) The present case is the rare one in which I completely agree with Alan Dershowitz’s public assessment.

        • Coup contra coup, the brain banging on one side of the skull and then bouncing off the other, you just need enough momentum of the brain to cause concussions. You can have concussions untreated and still live. Football players get concussions all the time, and they wear helmets, and they don’t show any signs on the outside that something is wrong. Banging a head off concrete, hard enough to cause a laceration, is plenty hard enough to give someone a concussion, but anyone can refuse medical treatment if they don’t want it. Just because they didn’t go to the hospital, doesn’t meant they weren’t really hurt.

        • TBIs (Traumatic Brain Injuries) are no joke and just now entering the public consciousness, as evidenced by a new focus in school sports. Even one concussion can have longlasting detrimental effects on a person. Then you have cases like the soccer coach who was punched by a player and died several days later. My 13 year old son got a concussion a few years ago when he was sick and passed out, hitting his head on a tile floor. Now he is diagnosed with frontal lobe post concussion syndrome and is suffering learning and societal disabilities that are not apparent unless you really know him but are destined to affect him for the rest of his life.

        • Yes, possibly. But GZ still must show that he was not the aggressor and that he was in REASONABLE fear of imminent death or grievous bodily injury.

          Reasonable fear means that an observer with no dog in the fight would believe that Zimmerman was in danger of imminent death or grievous bodily injury. From a fistfight. With an unarmed 17 year old who Zimmerman outweighed by at least 27 pounds. Who Zimmerman had followed when Martin had a perfect right to be where he was.

          The defense has a hill to climb.

        • Actually, Zimmerman and his defense have to show nothing. The State has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman either acted with a “depraved mind regardless without premeditation” or caused a death through culpable negligence. Without proving their case, the defense doesn’t have to worry about proving their affirmative defense, just saying Martin is dead is not nearly enough.

        • Not exactly, Haryan. Self defense is a defense. Zimmerman has the burden of going forward with self defense evidence. I haven’t seen any so far, but the case is young.

        • If the state does not prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt during their presentation of evidence; the defense can ask for a directed verdict, meaning they do not have to produce any evidence in defense. On the other hand, an affirmative defense only needs to be established if the state has met their burden of proof.

      • Here’s a local case that I think is interesting in the context of this trial. In this case a single punch knocked a man down. He struck his head on the sidewalk and died.

        “Court documents said Euston was drunk and as the bars closed he started bothering Griswold. Griswold’s girlfriend told police that Euston got in their faces so Griswold punched Euston in the head. Court records said Euston fell and hit his head.
        Kansas City police said Wednesday night they had a person of interest in custody in connection with the death.”

        The accused was found not guilty:

        “While many states view things differently based on their laws, it was ruled that Griswold did not commit involuntary manslaughter in this case. So, how do you prevent this from happening to you? Bottom line: It is vital to know your self-defense laws.”

  10. “So did he really turn back? That’s the 25-years-to-life question.”

    I honestly don’t think he did. This is a pretty nasty shooting, and the more I read, the less I believe Zimmerman is a decent guy.

    Heres the deal… I initially jumped ont he band wagon of “oh he had a right to self defense” but the more I thought about it… The more I realized that was just group think. He owns guns, so I have to support him? I’m over it. The more I read the more I get the feeling Zimmerman stalked this kid, and shot him at the end of a confrontation he could have otherwise avoided.

    A rule to follow….
    Avoid stupid people, in stupid places, doing stupid things.

    • Well, it’s pretty obvious that GZ fvcked up. IF he had stayed in his car. IF he had just met the police by the entry as he had done before. IF he had told Martin that he was the neighborhood watch captain, not a “creepy-ass cracker.” If, if, if.

      None of that makes Zimmerman a bad guy, nor a good guy. We’ll just have to see what evidence comes out in court.

      • IF TM stayed home… IF TM wasn’t suspended from school… IF TM bought Skittle and Arizona Ice Tea earlier that day…

        See, we all can play the IF game. The fact is he didn’t, both were stupid people, in stupid places, doing stupid things. One just did something a little more stupid, and that’s what the court if there for to decide.

    • Yeah, only guys with something to prove join the Neighborhood Watch. They have no interest in protecting their neighbors. All those guys who don’t join, but sit around every night watching tv, those are the ones who really care.

      Zimmerman wasn’t stalking the kid. He was just watching to make sure that a – in his mind – “suspicious person” got home safely without detouring into other people’s homes along the way. A polite conversation might have defused it, but I doubt they had one.

  11. “she heard a cry for help from a boy”
    I’m sorry. I was not aware that the witness was an expert on such matters.

        • Exactly. The defense will use the tweets to impeach, but that’s kind of weak. Not necessarily ineffective, but weak.

        • The tweets and FB posts also involved relating MMA style street fights past and planned, and the punching-out of a bus driver. Plenty there. Not easy to gain admissibility. Bernard Pierce (Baltimore Ravens) was car-jacked four miles from my house yesterday. The week before that I could walk from my desk to the US Open in ten minutes. Crime is out of hand. (Yep, referring to poor Phil M.’s suffering.) [I’ve got Zimmerman burnout, possibly.]

  12. Ralph, were you even watching the trial?

    Yesterday, Bahadoor was forced to admit that she didn’t see the fight, contradicted her earlier statements, and, oh yeah, was an activist that signed a petition to go after Zimmerman, and “liked” a Trayvon support page.

    Today, Surdyka admitted she didn’t really see much, when she did, she saw the person with the “dark gray or black” shirt on top (which was Trayon) was the one on top. She insisted, despite all facts and evidence, that there where THREE guns shots. Then she insisted Trayvon was shot in the chest, while laying on his chest, a physical impossibility.

    Manalo came in with a wonderfully, coached story, similar to Bahadoors. It, too, fell apart on cross-examination, where she admitted she never left her home, didn’t see the fight, and after the gunshot, only saw “shadows.” She tried to claim that the “larger” man was on top, and asserted that was Zimmerman based on pictures of the 12 year old Trayvon shown in the news. Like Bahadoor, she witnessed little to nothing at all, and her “testimony” was based upon inferences she picked up in biased news reporting, well after the incident took place.

    And then there was Rachel Jeantel. Her testimony began with the Prosecutor admitting she’d perjured herself in prior written testimony. She then made claims that she’d never made before, and topped it all off by admitting that she lied to Trayvon’s mother at least TWICE. She exchanged HUNDREDS of sexually explicit email with Trayvon, over weeks, and tried to blame it on her friends. It was obvious she was trying to dodge admitting statutory rape, on top of all other other lies and crimes. But that wasn’t the kicker.

    She then admitted that she didn’t told Crump basically what he wanted to hear in the statement that formed the backbone of the state’s entire case.

    If was a miracle that the judge did not stop the case and throw out the charges with prejudice at this point, but it got even worse from there.

    Jeantel told/threatened West she didn’t intend to be back tomorrow, and only the judge’s greatest restraint kept the lid on things. When West offered to call it a day , and told the judge he’d have Jeantel on the stand on cross examination for “several more hours, she shreiked, “WHAT?!?!?” to end the most catastrophically bad day in any trial I’ve ever seen, where EVERY eyewitness, without exception, completely discredited themselves.

    Again, sir… what trial were you watching?

  13. Thanks for the summary Ralph.

    I dont know if it will ever be addressed but Im curious about the robberies that were going on in the neighborhood before this happened. Specifically if they stopped or slowed down before or after these events. Im not saying Martin was responsible, just curious if the NW program or these specific events had an impact on the area crime.

  14. Today was the hardest day in that poor court reporter’s career, but there’s still tomorrow to make it worse. I predict it will.

    I noticed West started to really pick up the pace in the last half hour or so, so I think he’s on the hunt, now. He still probably won’t be combative, but I think he’ll definitely get more predatory tomorrow.

    “It’s also worth noting that while Jeantel is inarticulate and a little slow on the uptake, when it comes to dates and times she’s practically a savant.”

    Also, don’t forget how often Ms. Jeantel interrupted BDLR to answer his questions during the direct. It’s almost like she knew exactly what questions were coming. I realize that’s not terribly unusual, but the obviousness of it is.

    Ms. Jeantel’s attitude toward the defense was instantly combative when their part started, and only got worse. By the end of the day, she was openly sneering at the defense and making snide comments. Early in the questioning, when Don West was taking his time formulating his next question, she got impatient and said, “You can go. You can go.” Don smirked, apologized and explained that he was a little slow sometimes. Near the end of the day, Mr. West presented her with a transcript of an interview and asked her to take a look at “line 18 through 23.” She took half a minute to read over the indicated section, and after a minor objection from BDLR, there was this amusing exchange: (video here, my transcript below)

    West: “Take as much time as you want; read the whole thing if you want. Or maybe we could break until the morning if that would be better.”
    Jeantel: “No! I’m bein’ done today.”
    West: “What’s that? I’m sorry, what’d you say?”
    Jeantel: “I’m leavin’ today.”
    West: “Are you refusing to come back tomorrow?”
    Jeantel: “To you?”
    West: “Are you refusing to come back tomorrow?”
    At that point the judge intervened to get the questions back on track, and reserved matters of scheduling to herself.
    Ms. Jeantel continued reading, and after a short time, West asked, “Are you finished?”
    She gave him a dirty look, glanced back at the paper a moment longer, and then disdainfully shoved it towards him and said, “Take it, man.”
    West: “I’m sorry.”
    Jeantel: “Yeah.”

    West asked a couple more questions, but it became clear that the written transcript was useless, and they’d have to go to the recording, so maybe they should break for the evening. Judge Nelson asked how much longer West estimated cross would be, to which he responded, “I don’t know for sure; I think we should plan on at least a couple of hours.” There was an immediate, “What?!” from Ms. Jeantel on the witness stand, camera cut to her rolling her eyes as the Judge mildly rebukes her, something like, “I’m speaking now.”

    • I LOLed. it’s pulling teeth to get her to even mumble an illiterate answer and she expects to be done in 30 minutes!

    • The “You can go, You can go, You can go, You can go” made me grind my teeth. Pure rudeness. That smirk was priceless. So many other witnesses are being pulled from their daily lives for this case, and she is the only one who has just been rude and defensive about questions. The only one to delete public tweets about drug and alcohol use (illegal period, and illegal for her age). I think she has much growing up to do.

    • Today was the hardest day in that poor court reporter’s career, but there’s still tomorrow to make it worse. I predict it will.

      Funny! And true. I had the volume cranked and could barely understand what she was saying.

      • Ralph, I was amazed when the jurors started interrupting and asking her to repeat herself. I mean, I know they can, but I’ve never actually seen it happen before. And it happened more than just a couple times. Not approaching the two dozen times the court reporter had to, but more than a couple nonetheless.

  15. Also, I’ve come to the conclusion that there was some sort of temporarily effective memory-destroying agent in the water at Retreat at Twin Lakes. I believe most, if not all, of the residents who have testified so far no longer live there. Almost all of them have suddenly remembered new things in the past few days that they have not remembered and/or said before, despite all their interviews. I can only attribute this to a temporary localized agent wearing off after they moved to a new location.

    • Also interesting, all of the residents that have suddenly remembered new things have been interviewed by media organizations.

  16. Again, I would disagree with the characterization of the trial.

    I would point out that the two neighbors credibility was absolutely decimated on cross-examination. Surdyka, the first witness, claimed that three shots were fired while Martin was laying on his stomach; obviously impossible given the facts. She also repeatedly claimed that she was on the phone with the police during the shot, which was also shown to be false. Further, Surdyka also testified to the heavy rain, which helps the defense. Also, turned out she’s been on t.v. several times talking about the case, which is never good for a witness’ credibility.

    Second Witness, Manaloo, was even worse. First; she admitted that she did not actually see the altercation; just the shadows of the two individuals. She did say Zimmerman was on top, based on the relative size of the individuals. She admitted she was basing her size comparison on the infamous 12 year old photo of Martin she saw in the media. Also, she never mentioned before that Zimmerman was on top in the fight until showing up in court today; despite several depositions and interviews previously conducted.

    I’d go into Jeantel’s testimony here, but it would be far too long. I would point out though that she admitted that in her initial interviews with Crump, which the initial indictment was largely based on, she was essentially telling him what he wanted to hear; stating, “Crump interview don’t mean nothing to me.”

    Overall, of the substantive “direct witnesses” thus far, all have been shown to have demonstrable credibility issues at minimum, or just outright no credibility. I’d check out legalinsurrection,com for more details, including video. (I have absolutely no connection to the site whatsoever, but it has very good analysis.)

  17. little pony, “thug” is not the racial code part of the phrase; that would be “gangbanging”, and I challenge you to prove that’s not a racist code word. Nate is mostly correct, and some of us have our trigger set a little too light on this issue. Your calling him racist is uncalled for; he’s said nothing here that warrants that. CHILL, my brothers.

    I don’t know how this went down, and I don’t think any of us ever will. CHILL rhymes with WILL.

    Now if you’ll excuse moi, I’m going to see what Nancy Grace has to say about all this.

    I’m joking. It rained. I’m going to listen to the sound of some wet grass.

  18. We must be watching different trials. The defense absolutely destroyed the states witnesses today. Witness 8 will more than likely be impeached, and since the prosecution hung their probable cause arrest warrant solely on her testimony you may see this trial over tomorrow.

    The only thing keeping this case from being tossed is Judge Nelson who is obviously biased to the prosecution. Right now the prosecution team and the judge are trying to save what is left of their careers.

    When they depose Crump and put him on the stand, its pretty much lights out for the prosecution.

    For those coming late to the party I suggest the following to get up to speed:

    Very excellent daily writeups and witness analysis over at:

    • Generally, no. You’re allowed up to two links in any one comment. The third will get you kicked to the spam filter. I think that legalinsurrection site has some issues, though, because I had one get spam filtered yesterday when you first mentioned it.

      • Ok, thanks. I posted a pretty long counter-point reply and mentioned legal insurrection again, and it has not shown up yet. Also, just for the record, I have no affiliation in any way with that site if that helps getting my comment posted.

        • My normal course of action is to send an email to [email protected] with the subject line of “Please rescue me from the spam filter.” In the body of the message I include a link to the post in question. It’s usually resolved within an hour or two, unless I’m posting really late at night.

          The only thing really annoying about getting spam filtered is that it messes up the email subscription settings, so you don’t get subscribed, even when your comment gets cleared by a mod. You have to leave another comment elsewhere to jump-start it.

          Edit to add: When I see your comment pop up, I’ll look to see if I see anything in it that I know will get you filtered, so you can avoid that in the future.

  19. At this point all that matters is what testimony and evidence is given and admitted in the Court and what the Jury makes of it. Appears there is going to be a lot of contradictions for the Jury to sort through. I don’t envy them one little bit. All the Press coverage, interviews and speculation prior to the start of the Trial are also irrelevant now, but has been kind of an interesting and entertaining Sherlock Holmes ride.

    I do have one question. What is the “sound of wet grass”?

      • LOL!

        Mentally I was hearing a sort of squishy crunching sound, but too much like wet leaves…given cellphone audio over a “blutoot” headset against an apparent heavy Florida rain…maybe she was really hearing the sound of GZ’s head being banged against the sidewalk….

  20. I’m sure the anti-gun crowd is licking their lips. The court of public opinion convicted Zimmerman within 24 hours of the incident, assisted by the main street media. This sends a chilling message to anyone that has the balls to use a firearm in a defensive situation. Guess it’s better to take the beating, even if you end up permanently disabled like the poor bastard that got assaulted in Dodger Stadium a few years ago… NOT

  21. Well Nate you are either black,or you don’t know what a thug really is.This trial is a sham,for political gain for the Florida AG,or to try to stave off another Rodney King episode,because if GZ is exonerated it will probably happen.If he is exonerated the US Attorney General will probably pursue Civil Rights violation charges against GZ,which will be a racist event’because the only reason would be because TM was black,and oh by the way so is Eric Holder,so figure that one!Be prepared and ready.Keep your powder dry.

  22. I think you and I were watching a completely different trial. Legal Insurection Blog has a daily recap that totally disagrees with your take on it, especially from the legal key points.

    One witness claimed there were three shots, the positions were switched and Trayvon was shot in the back. These were all contrary to the known facts.

    One witness claimed there was a chase but then later admitted on cross that she made that up for the trial. Really???

    The defense was having a better day than you think you saw.

    • It’s true that Ralph’s opinions run largely opposite to Legal Insurrection (or perhaps Ralph is a little more neutral, because Branca has sorta cast his lot with GZ), but I appreciate Ralph’s insight because even if he disagrees with Branca (and/or me) he doesn’t do it the way the MSM talking heads do. By that I mean, Ralph has a reason to disagree, he’s not just randomly making stuff up. Also, he’s not doing it “to sell papers,” like the MSM tools.

  23. I’m surprised they didn’t put any more focus on the witness(the hysterical neighbor) during cross. She testified in court that she opened the window, which was contradictory to the 911 call which was played. That, plus the three shots that were heard seem to me that her recollection of the events were tainted by her emotional reaction. I think she fully believes what she heard/saw, but that that belief was formed by something other than the actual events.

    Zimmerman’s injuries conflict with testimony that he was on top during the physical altercation.

    So far, the only racist language has come from the prosecution’s witness, quoting Trayvon. He said “creepy-ass-white-cracker”…The HLN commentator actually said that the terminology used wasn’t indicative of a person being racist, but just part of a culture.. I sincerely doubt had something similar been attributed to the defendant there would be outrage, and the same commentator would be calling it proof of racial profiling.

    I don’t know what happened that night, I hope the truth is revealed, and the appropriate verdict reached. I’m fascinated by the case, since it shows exactly what someone can expect to face in the aftermath of a shooting.

    I definitely wouldn’t follow a suspicious person on foot, let alone confront them, alone, especially not having witnessed a crime or knowing that person to be an immediate threat to myself or family.

    Over this past winter, I surprised a guy in my backyard a little after 1 am. I had gone outside to make sure my vehicles and garage were locked. I heard the sound of the fence, and crunching of snow. I expected to encounter a deer or coyote as I peaked around the corner…but when I turned on my flashlight, there was a guy standing there, about ten feet from me. He definitely shouldn’t be there. All I thought was that my front door was open, and my wife was in the house, taking a shower. The guy took half a step toward me, I told him very assertively to stop, and not come any closer. My hand was on my pistol, but I didn’t draw. I could see his hands clearly, I’m not sure if he could see me, or my pistol.(I was 3/4 behind the corner of the house, with just my light/head/shoulder exposed) he took half a step toward me, I stepped out so he could see my right side, and just yelled “Don’t”! His eyes got really big, and he turned, hopped the fence he had come over, ran through a backyard, hopped another fence and was out of sight. I then realized I had left my phone just inside the house(I was just going to be outside for 20 seconds max originally) I ran, got my phone and called 911. Turns out they were already looking for this guy, as he’d stolen several bottles of liquor from a local big box store, and ran from security. As I was on the phone I could see the guy pop out from a house down the street, and run up a hill. He slipped and fell on the ice, got back up and went out of sight again. The police were there in two minutes. I informed the officer that I was armed, that I never drew, and gave a good description of the guy, and the last location I’d seen him, and direction he was headed. The police were in the neighborhood for a few hours searching. I guarantee the guy was freezing, as he was only wearing jeans and a light hoody.(it was about 12°F that night. I never found out if they caught the guy.

    I never considered chasing or following this guy, just being a good witness. He never overtly threatened me, and had I felt threatened I’d have defended myself without hesitation. A few things were learned that night….
    Home carry. I always have, and always will.
    Be aware, even in an environment that you are familiar and comfortable with. Had I not been paying attention, and the guy had different intentions, who knows what could have happened.
    Have a phone. I’d left mine in the house. Had things gone south, I’d have had to count on someone hearing me yell for help. It was winter when everyone had their windows closed. Who knows how long or how much yelling it would have taken.
    Have a light. I had a good high output light (surefire e2d), and it definitely made an impression on the guy when I lit him up.

    After this happened, I made sure that my wife wouldn’t be the one to check the cars at night, alone. Who knows what would have happened if this guy was encountered by a 5’1″ unarmed female, while he’s running from the cops, instead of by a 6’4″ guy with a gun…

    I could have done some things better (had a phone, etc), but I avoided any meaningful ones. Had the guy ignored my command to stop, and threatened me, in my yard in the middle of the night, I would have been justified to protect myself, and my wife. Had I decided to follow/pursue the guy down the street. (I’m fast, and I’m fairly certain I could have caught up to him) it could have been very bad. Had it turned violent down the street, it could easily be argued that I was in the wrong. There is no way I’d want, or let anyone argue that, so I stayed put.

    The cops got there in two minutes. I’d call that excellent. Two minutes can be a very long time depending on the situation. Be prepared, and stay ready.

    • Matt,
      As read your story I had to cringe as I realized that as uneventful days go by for long periods I have become somewhat complacent on the basics.
      It was great reminder to stay alert and keep sharp.

      • I think that was directed Highvoltage, not me, but I had the same thought. As time goes on, I get lazy about making sure I’m always prepared, like when walking the dog late at night, whether that means not be armed or simply not having my flashlight with me. It’s nice to get a non-safety-threatening wakeup call every now and then.

  24. Only 3 people know what really happened that night. One of them is Zimmerman, one of them is dead, the other is God.

  25. The defense should have demanded that pretty Rachel be psychologically tested and I Q tested to determine if she is intelligent enough to even be considered as a witness. Isn’t there some kind of law that people with IQ’s below 70 cannot be executed even if found guilty of murder? or that a low IQ can mean they are not intelligent enough to know right from wrong? The quality of these first few eye and ear witnesses leaves a lot to be desired. These supposedly intelligent individuals all seem to relatively ignorant and base their testimony on their own so called “self truths”, things they know to be a fact when in fact they can be absolutely 100% wrong. Rachel should not be allowed to have a drivers license as she testified she does drive. I believe anyone that immature and ignorant should not be considered competent.

  26. guess it depends on the balistics. If the round traveled up from the ground through TM from GZ then he was on bottom, and the bigger guy (taller) was on top. If the bullet went down through TM into the pavement… well…. thats going to be tough to explain.

    It is upon the prosecution to prove his GZ’s guilt. They don’t have to prove he is innocent, just that there is a reasonable possibility that he isn’t guilty. I just don’t see why they included all of GZ’s history to prove his background and not TM’s. They are trying to portray TM ass the innocent kid. He is the self proclaimed ‘gangsta”, who was going to die young from a gun shot wound either in a theft or a drug deal gone bad.

  27. Since there is no recording of the phone call, only records indicating it was made and how long it lasted, we are left with her word to go on. And that’s not looking too solid at the moment.
    She appears coached, although if she did work on this story she doesn’t have too many facts straight. She would be more credible if she could actually read the statement she allegedly wrote.
    Nice hair style. Didn’t catch the Court nails on TV.

  28. Ralph, your certainty of GZ’s guilt is apparent in your writing. This is reinforced by your parroting the ridiculous idea that following someone after being told “you don’t have to do that” by a 911 dispatcher is somehow evidence of a crime. I would also like to point out that the testimony stating that GZ was seen on top of TM was nothing new. Keep in mind that during a reenactment with detectives immediately following the incident, GZ mentioned sitting on TM’s back in order to move his arms away from his body and to clear him of potential weapons after the shooting. This is not contradicted by the testimony today considering that the witness herself testified that she did not look outside her townhouse until after hearing the fatal gunshot. This would seem to follow GZ’s timeline would it not? As of yet there is no witness that can testify seeing the fatal shot fired or what happened preceding the fatal shot. You also stated this in a previous comment:

    “Zimmerman had minor injuries and Martin is dead. It’s as simple as that.”

    So that’s it? Case closed? How minor or major must one’s injuries be before an individual can defend his or herself? I feel that you are concentrating too much on the semantics of the incident and not on the evidence presented thus far. This is the information that we have thus far that has not been disputed:

    – GZ followed TM through the community assuming that TM might be up to no good. Regardless of your personal feelings on this Ralph, this is not illegal.
    – Following the altercation GZ was left with a broken nose and lacerations to the back of his head, while TM’s injuries consisted of lacerations to his knuckles and the fatal gunshot wound to his chest.

    My question to you Ralph is this; What is the prosecution’s description of events at this point? If GZ was the aggressor, how exactly did everything go down? The prosecution has at this point failed to counter GZ’s story other than merely stating that GZ was the aggressor. They have left too many questions unanswered. Did GZ follow TM and then shoot him in cold blood? If so, why was GZ injured and TM not? The prosecution has yet to explain a plausible theory of how the events unfolded. What they have said at this point is that:

    -GZ was the aggressor
    -GZ was on top of TM attacking him
    -TM was the individual heard screaming on the 911 call

    Ralph, I would love to read your attempts to tie all of these details together in order to offer an explanation counter to that of the defense. Did GZ knock TM to the ground managing only to injury TM’s knuckles? At that point did TM scream for help half a dozen times before being fatally shot? Did GZ manage to break his own nose and lacerate the back of his head after shooting TM without multiple witnesses seeing this? One common theme I have read on various discussion boards is this:

    Had GZ not followed TM the beating would not have taken place and thus GZ would not have needed to shoot TM in order to defend himself in the first place.

    That is all fine and dandy but how does that equate to murder? Following someone is not illegal, even after being told by a 911 dispatcher that it is not necessary. Beating someone up because they were tailing you is in fact highly illegal. The fact that TM was not actively engaged in a crime before the alleged beating of GZ is irrelevant. The prosecution as of this point has not been able to explain GZ’s injuries. My assumption is that they will say that the beating took place after GZ presented his weapon. Did TM pound GZ into the pavement while simultaneously screaming for help as a gun was pointed in his direction? Did TM do his damage while GZ was in the mounted position? Unless the prosecution can present a plausible picture of what they believed actually happened, a guilty verdict at this point would be in spite of the evidence presented. At the very least they are very far from presenting a case that is beyond a reasonable doubt.


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