Zimmerman Trial - What Does the Location of the Evidence Tell Us

by Paul Siciliano


In addition to eyewitness testimony, it is important to see where items found at the crime scene are to determine what happened.  As of this point at trial, this is what we have:

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The defense claims that the conflict began by #1, the key and flashlight since this would appear to make Martin the aggressor.  Martin came up to Zimmerman as he was walking about to his car.   

The Prosecution, on the other hand, will want to place the beginning of the altercation closer to the body which would suggest that Zimmerman started walking on the pathway between the townhomes.  I believe there is stronger evidence for that.  Telling is the location of Martin's phone (#7) and the flashlight (#5).  This leads me to believe that the altercation began by where Martin's body was found.  It seems unlikely that Martin made it all the way up to where the two sidewalks meet.   Besides, the altercation was no more than a minute.

If Martin lunged for Zimmerman while Zimmerman was at the intersection (and that is supported by Bahador's testimony of the sound going from left to right), Zimmerman would have plenty of time to brace himself or even hit him with the flashlight.  If Martin did move towards Zimmerman it would be where Zimmerman's flashlight was.  This suggests that Zimmerman was looking for Martin.   

Would Martin make a move for Zimmerman?  At this point, I think he did and it was not only because Zimmerman was following him but that Zimmerman had pulled out his gun.  You are 5-10 feet from this man following you who asks you why are you in the neighborhood and presents his gun.  At that split second, Martin is presented with a choice, turn and run or fight for your life.  Martin chose the later and screamed for help at the same time.  The flailing was Martin's attempt to save his own life.   

Zimmerman was caught off guard because he did not expect Martin to respond as he did.  One thing I find interesting about Zimmerman's behavior is how he acted according to police protocol, especially after the incident.  His actions seem weird to me.   

At this moment, this is how I see it: 

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1.  Zimmerman while driving out spots Martin at the clubhouse area which is when calls non-emergency 9-1-1 and parks on Twin Trees so that he can flash his flashlight into the kiosk area.  At this point, Martin realizes someone is following him (as he tells Jeantel).  

2. Now, Martin is in a quandary.  Zimmerman's vehicle is between where he is and the place he is staying.  Scared, Martin walks by Zimmerman slowly (he may have even put his hand into his waistband to pretend he had a weapon) and once past Zimmerman's vehicle, he darts.  Zimmerman tells non-emergency 9-1-1 that he believes Martin is heading for the back gate which is why I have him going down Twin Trees instead of running onto the T. 

3.  Zimmerman, suspecting Martin is going out the back entrance, is not going to pursue directly.  He is going to cut across the T to see if Martin, in fact, is going out the back entrance.  As a result, he probably does not notice if Martin goes in between the buildings.  When Zimmerman realizes that Martin did not go out the back gate, he figures that Martin must be between the two buildings.

4.  This is when Zimmerman pulls out his gun.  Zimmerman, himself, is going to find Martin and is not going to walk in the darkness without his gun out.  I do not believe that Zimmerman somehow reached for his gun when Martin was on top of him since Martin would be on his chest.  With gun out, Zimmerman slowly heads down dog walking area and encounters Martin.  That is when the conversation with Martin occurs about why Zimmerman is following him.  Martin sees that Zimmerman has the gun out and fights for his life. He drops the cell phone which disconnects the ear buds (which is why the ear buds are near Martin's body).  Martin struggles for his life which would explain the flailing and all and Martin may have been on top.  Zimmerman drops the flashlight, which he turned off, if he ever had it on but it had to have been in his hand (police procedure).  Martin is screaming and his silenced by the gunshot as Zimmerman is able to steady it up against Martin's chest.  Martin goes down and then Zimmerman behaves like a cop, and makes the call to non-emergency 9-1-1 (both Mora and Surdyka see Zimmerman with his hand up to his head) but Zimmerman drops the call when Johnathan Manalo arrives on the scene. 

Since Zimmerman had his gun out, he started the confrontation even if Martin may have made the first physical move.  This is not self-defense.  There are a couple of other reasons why it is not self-defense, including the fact that Zimmerman knew the police were coming.