Documents show Trayvon Martin was shot through the heart and George Zimmerman suffered broken nose

 

Trayvon Martin was shot through the heart at close range and George Zimmerman had a broken nose, bruises and cuts on the back of his head, new documents show.

Details revealed in nearly 200 pages of documents, photos and audio recordings also show the lead investigator in the case wanted to charge Zimmerman with manslaughter in the weeks after the 17-year-old's shooting but was overruled.

The case of Martin's shooting by Zimmerman, 28, in a gated community in Orlando, Florida, has riveted the US.

It has become a national flashpoint because the Martin family and supporters say Zimmerman singled Martin out because he was black.

The new evidence supports neighbourhood watch volunteer Zimmerman's contention that he was being beaten up on 26 February when he fired the fatal shot.

It also bolsters the argument of Martin's parents that Zimmerman was profiling Martin - visiting from Miami - and the confrontation could have been avoided.

Many of the pertinent questions remain unclear: What was in Zimmerman's mind when he began to follow Martin? How did the confrontation begin? Whose screams for help were captured on emergency service calls? And why did Zimmerman feel that deadly force was warranted?

At a hearing later this year Zimmerman is expected to claim the shooting was justified under Florida's "stand your ground" law. His lawyer, Mark O'Mara, did not return a phone call seeking comment today.

The evidence supporting Zimmerman's defence includes a photo showing him with a bloody nose on the night in question. A paramedic's report says Zimmerman had an inch-long laceration on his head and forehead abrasions.

"Bleeding tenderness to his nose, and a small laceration to the back of his head. All injuries have minor bleeding," paramedic Michael Brandy wrote.

Whether Zimmerman was injured in the altercation with Martin has been a key question. He has claimed self-defence and said he only fired because the unarmed teenager attacked him.

Zimmerman was not arrested for weeks because he invoked the law, which does not require a person to retreat in the face of a serious threat.

He was released on bail and is in hiding while he awaits trial on a second-degree murder charge. He has pleaded not guilty.

The investigator who called for Zimmerman's arrest, Christopher Serino, told prosecutors the fight could have been avoided if Zimmerman had remained in his vehicle and waited for law enforcement.

He said Zimmerman could have identified himself to Martin as a concerned citizen and talked to him instead of confronting him. The report was written on 13 March, nearly a month before Zimmerman's eventual arrest.

He said there is no evidence Martin was involved in any criminal activity as he walked from a convenience store to the home of his father's fiancee in the same gated community where Zimmerman lived.

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

The release of evidence did little to clear up whose voice can be heard screaming for help in the background of several emergency services calls.

Since first hearing the calls in early March, Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton, has been unequivocal in saying that it was her son's voice on the tapes.

But Serino wrote in a report that he played an emergency services call for Martin's father, Tracy, in which the screams are heard multiple times.

"I asked Mr Martin if the voice calling for help was that of his son," the officer wrote. "Mr. Martin, clearly emotionally impacted by the recording, quietly responded 'no'."

Zimmerman's father also told investigators that it was his son yelling for help.

"That is absolutely positively George Zimmerman," Robert Zimmerman said. "He was not just yelling, he sounded like he was screaming for his life."

Investigators sent all the recordings to the FBI for analysis. They were asked to determine who was screaming and whether Zimmerman might have used an expletive in describing Martin.

But the analyst found the sound quality is too poor to decipher what Zimmerman said, nor could they say whose voice is heard "due to extreme stress and unsuitable audio quality".

The trajectory of the bullet - straight through Martin's body - does not shed light on whether Zimmerman and Martin were standing or on the ground, said Larry Kobilinsky, a professor of forensic science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.

Kobilinsky added he thought the evidence diminished prosecutors' case for second-degree murder.

AP

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Digital Web Designer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Web Designer is required to join a f...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Business Development Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to develop an ...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Middleweight

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the South East's fastest growing full s...

Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

£35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor