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?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - PHP

£32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With extensive experience and a...

Barnardo's: Corporate Audit and Inspection – Retail Intern (Leeds)

Unpaid - £4 lunch allowance plus travel to and from work: Barnardo's: Purpose ...

Recruitment Genius: Content Writer - Global Financial Services

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - PHP

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future