Zimmerman Trial - Should George Zimmerman Testify?

by Paul Siciliano

Whether George Zimmerman should testify at this own trial is a question many are asking (okay, only those who care about the case).  Those thinking Zimmerman does not have to testify site the fact that Zimmerman's story has come in through the prosecution's case-in-chief.  That is true, even though the Defense has hinted at it throughout.   

Say what you will, even though Zimmerman's basic story does not change, there are significant inconsistencies between his stories, there are significant inconsistencies with his story and evidence presented, and there are significant gaps of information in his stories. 

Let's take what we have so far: 

The biggest inconsistency between his stories involve the beginning of the altercation.  In his statement, Zimmerman says that Martin sucker punched him near the intersection of the T, that he fell down and Martin started pummeling him.  When Zimmerman is taken to the scene, he realizes that he has to somehow get the altercation to move from that point to where Martin's body is found so he adds this detail of fighting him off for 30 feet (why not escape then).  This is huge.  I also believe this conflicts with the location of Martin's phone.  Based on the testimony of Jeantel, and I believe this, the phone is dropped at the point of the physical altercation.  Where is the phone found, just to the south of Martin's body and no where near the intersection on the sidewalk. 

Zimmerman claims that after he got on top of Martin, he spreads his arms to restrain him.  Then, an on-looker appears (this has to be Johnathan Manalo) and Zimmerman claims he told him not to call 911 but help him restrain Martin.  We know from the picture, that Martin's hands are under his chest (suggesting that Zimmerman never spread them).  Further, Manalo did not testify that Zimmerman asked him to help restrain Martin.  Manalo testified that he met Zimmerman over by the intersection of the sidewalk.  I don't know why Zimmerman lied about this - probably because he was creating a self-defense claim from the beginning or even beforehand (telling dispatch that Martin has his hand in his waistband is telling).

Zimmerman fails to tell investigators crucial points in the encounter.  Zimmerman cannot explain how he got out from under Martin after he shot him.  That is important.  If Martin straddled him and was parallel to Zimmerman when the shot was fired (which would explain the direct path of the bullet), Martin should have landed on top of Zimmerman.  Zimmerman really should know how he got out from under Martin. 

Okay, I need to stop because I getting off track here.  Back to whether will Zimmerman testify.  I still say he needs to for a couple of reasons.  Even though the jury can not consider the fact that Zimmerman did not take the stand as evidence against him, they will - juries always do.  If Zimmerman is so willing to share information with the investigators and has stuck to his story, why not tell it again?  Why has this man all of a sudden become quiet?  Even the mild challenging that Officer Serino conducted put great pressure on Zimmerman - maybe he would crack under cross examination.  Again, a jury is not allowed to consider it, but it would seem odd that he now does not want to tell his story. 

Additionally, I think you need to make Zimmerman likable.  Anecdotes are great and all, but a more personal touch might help - assuming Zimmerman is charming.  Finally, you are claiming self defense.  Jurors want to hear it.  Go up and tell the same story, you have told it enough, you should do fine and if it is the truth, you will do fine on cross. 

I am sure I am totally wrong and Zimmerman will not testify but then you risk the jury finding him guilty of manslaughter (a compromise verdict).