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Does George Zimmerman's Story Add up? Has the Prosecution Proven their Case?

Posted by on Jul. 4, 2013 at 6:28 PM
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1 mom liked this

No matter who you believe, the fact remains that the prosecution has to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Zimmerman is guilty of the crime of which he is being accused.

Do we think the prosecution has proven, beyond a reasonable doubt, that GZ is guilty?

Here is an interesting article I read earlier today - Remember, the burden of proof is on the prosecution and when it comes to trying a case, it doesn't matter if a person actually did the crime - it's whether the prosecution can prove he or she committed the crime, beyond reasonable doubt.

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View the article here:  http://www.hlntv.com/article/2013/07/02/george-zimmerman-trial-inconsistencies-zimmerman-story

Does George Zimmerman's story add up?

NEED TO KNOW
  • Mel Robbins is an attorney and HLN contributor
  • She takes a look at the alleged inconsistencies in George Zimmerman's version of events

Editor’s note: Mel Robbins is a criminal defense attorney and HLN legal contributor. She is an author, talk radio host and the editor-in-chief of Robbins Rundown. She is on Twitter.

The prosecution made some major mistakes presenting their case on Monday and Tuesday (and I'm still trying to figure out what on Earth they're doing).

In opening statements, the prosecution claimed they would prove beyond a reasonable doubt that George Zimmerman profiled Trayvon Martin and chased after him, vigilante-style, rather than wait for the police to arrive. They said they would prove that Zimmerman shot Martin not because "he had to, but because he wanted to."

So far, 26 witnesses into their case, the prosecution has fallen shockingly short of meeting that burden of proof.

First, they called Hirotaka Nakasone, an FBI voice analyst who testified for the defense in the Frye hearing. Nakasone testified that a 911 call "is not fit for the purpose of voice comparison" and that since the pitch of someone screaming is “all over the place," it "was not possible to determine" the age of the person screaming.

This is a critical issue. If it's "not possible" to determine the age or the identity of the person screaming for help, it’s considered reasonable doubt as to who was screaming. Where there's doubt, there is no conviction.  

The prosecution also introduced Zimmerman’s recorded and written statements into evidence, presumably to show the jury that he contradicts himself and is lying about his version of events the night he shot Martin. The problem is, it didn't work. 

If you have a liar on the stand, an inconsistency is like a loose thread: As you pull on it, a liar's story will start to unravel. However, some inconsistencies could be based on poor memory, stress, etc. Without the story unraveling, there's no "proof" that the witness is lying.

Let's walk through Zimmerman’s supposed inconsistencies:

1. In his first taped police interview, Zimmerman said Martin circled his car. In the 911 call, he didn’t describe it as circling. That seems immaterial and the police agreed.

2. Zimmerman told police that he got out of his car because he could not tell police the name of the street where he lost Martin. His neighborhood, the Retreat at Twin Lakes, only has three streets — not remembering the name of one of them is not very believable. Does this detail prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman is a liar? No.

3. Zimmerman also told Sanford Police investigator Doris Singleton that Martin “jumped” out of the bushes. However, the map of the area doesn’t appear to show any bushes near the spot of the fight. This could be a problem, but again, I’m not sure it proves that Zimmerman is lying about the entire encounter or simply doesn’t remember the dark, rainy scene accurately.

4. Zimmerman testified that Martin said “you’re going to die tonight” as he attacked him, but none of the witnesses heard that threat. I wouldn’t expect the witnesses to have heard it: It was raining and most witnesses were indoors and described hearing muffled screams. A threat is probably not going to be as loud as a scream for help.

5. Zimmerman claims that after Martin “jumped” out of the bushes, he sucker-punched him and Zimmerman fell to the ground. Four former neighbors testified that there was a scuffle on that dark, rainy night. Two said they thought Zimmerman was on top at one point, but the other two testified that Martin was on top. Jonathan Good very convincingly said it was Zimmerman yelling for help, pinned down by Martin. Is Zimmerman lying about the sucker-punch and the fall to the ground? I don’t know -- maybe. But even the police agree that someone might not remember every detail about a traumatic event. But remember, it’s the prosecution’s job to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman started the fight and just the act of getting out of his car doesn’t get you there.

6. One of the major inconsistencies in Zimmerman’s statement is that he says he got on top of Martin after shooting him and spread his arms out to make sure there was no weapon. That statement seems to be contradictory, assuming nobody altered the position Martin’s body, which was found face down, with his hands underneath him.

As if the decision to admit all of Zimmerman’s statements into evidence isn't weird enough, the prosecution then brings on more damaging witnesses. Sanford Police Det. Chris Serino did the most damage to the prosecution’s case, testifying that there were "no significant inconsistencies" between the statements and interviews Zimmerman gave.  

During cross-examination, defense attorney Mark O'Mara asked the lead witness for the prosecution if he thought "Zimmerman was telling the truth." At that moment, the jury leaned forward, listening intently, as Serino replied, "Yes."  

The lead witness in the prosecution's case believes Zimmerman is telling the truth…

It's not Zimmerman's story that's unraveling, but rather the prosecution's case against him.

by on Jul. 4, 2013 at 6:28 PM
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Replies (1-10):
T-HoneyLuv
by on Jul. 4, 2013 at 6:38 PM
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The Prosecution made mistakes yes, but at the end of the day imo they have proven George Zimmerman to be a liar. I hope it will be enough to send that man to prison. He has ZERO regrets about that night and someone like that doesn't belong in society.
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texassahm
by Bronze Member on Jul. 4, 2013 at 7:11 PM
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Are his inconsistencies big enough to not be explained by stress or diminished visibility?  If I was on the jury, I would go to my own personal experience of being attacked and know that my story changed as the stress level came down - the main events never changed, but the minor details did.

IMHO, GZ's minor details changed, but not one time has he waivered from the main, important events.  Even in his walk-through the next day with police, you can see him reliving the event in his head as he is physically describing what happened - you can see him using his hands and body and head to describe what happened.  His description is the same each time - no variation.  Any differences are minor enough to be explained by shock or stress.

Quoting T-HoneyLuv:

The Prosecution made mistakes yes, but at the end of the day imo they have proven George Zimmerman to be a liar. I hope it will be enough to send that man to prison. He has ZERO regrets about that night and someone like that doesn't belong in society.


lancet98
by Silver Member on Jul. 4, 2013 at 7:23 PM
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I don't think the prosecution has much.   At all.

But I also don't think Martin's lawyers have sufficient experience in criminal law and murder or similar charges.   

There are bits and pieces that support either one as the initial aggressor.

The thing that the public needs to keep in mind is that it doesn't matter what kind of person Martin or Zimmerman were before that night.

What matters is what happened that night, during those last 2 minutes, and neither side has any slam dunk evidence on that.

texassahm
by Bronze Member on Jul. 4, 2013 at 7:30 PM
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I agree, to an extent - I think the personalities of these two are what caused the altercation to begin with.

GZ had aspirations to be a police officer, even taking law classes.  TM had gang-related aspirations (his father is/was a Crip and TM was raised in that environment).

I believe those two types of personalities clashed on that night.  TM thought GZ was following him for no good, GZ was following him because he thought TM was up to no good.  TM struck first and pummeled GZ on the ground, but GZ brought a gun to a fist-fight and tragedy resulted.

I believe the first person to break a law in that altercation was TM.  I believe TM threw the first punch and had GZ in a position where GZ felt like he had to use his gun to protect himself.

Total misunderstanding from both men, that went terribly, terribly wrong.  No murder case here at all.

Quoting lancet98:

I don't think the prosecution has much.   At all.

But I also don't think Martin's lawyers have sufficient experience in criminal law and murder or similar charges.   

There are bits and pieces that support either one as the initial aggressor.

The thing that the public needs to keep in mind is that it doesn't matter what kind of person Martin or Zimmerman were before that night.

What matters is what happened that night, during those last 2 minutes, and neither side has any slam dunk evidence on that.


kailu1835
by Ruby Member on Jul. 4, 2013 at 7:32 PM
3 moms liked this
Sounds like a lot of grasping at straws in the wishful thinking that Zimmerman might not be found guilty. The fact is, he is lying. Big time on multiple accounts.
kailu1835
by Ruby Member on Jul. 4, 2013 at 7:35 PM
2 moms liked this
What a laugh. One was in trouble with the law multiple times. The only reason he got out of it was because of his dad. The other was a generally decent kid who did a few bad things in his few short years, none of which were very serious, and he was never charged with what he was accused of.

Quoting texassahm:

I agree, to an extent - I think the personalities of these two are what caused the altercation to begin with.

GZ had aspirations to be a police officer, even taking law classes.  TM had gang-related aspirations (his father is/was a Crip and TM was raised in that environment).

I believe those two types of personalities clashed on that night.  TM thought GZ was following him for no good, GZ was following him because he thought TM was up to no good.  TM struck first and pummeled GZ on the ground, but GZ brought a gun to a fist-fight and tragedy resulted.

I believe the first person to break a law in that altercation was TM.  I believe TM threw the first punch and had GZ in a position where GZ felt like he had to use his gun to protect himself.

Total misunderstanding from both men, that went terribly, terribly wrong.  No murder case here at all.

Quoting lancet98:

I don't think the prosecution has much.   At all.

But I also don't think Martin's lawyers have sufficient experience in criminal law and murder or similar charges.   

There are bits and pieces that support either one as the initial aggressor.

The thing that the public needs to keep in mind is that it doesn't matter what kind of person Martin or Zimmerman were before that night.

What matters is what happened that night, during those last 2 minutes, and neither side has any slam dunk evidence on that.


texassahm
by Bronze Member on Jul. 4, 2013 at 7:35 PM

What, in your opinion, is "...lying. Big time on multiple accounts."?  I see inconsistencies in minor, inconsequential details that don't affect the actual event, but others see different things - What differences do you see and how is it they are big to you?  Help me see it through your eyes.

Quoting kailu1835:

Sounds like a lot of grasping at straws in the wishful thinking that Zimmerman might not be found guilty. The fact is, he is lying. Big time on multiple accounts.


Sisteract
by Whoopie on Jul. 4, 2013 at 7:36 PM
2 moms liked this

I think GZ is guilty of manslaughter.

In most jurisdictions, voluntary manslaughter consists of an intentional killing that is accompanied by additional circumstances that mitigate, but do not excuse, the killing. The most common type of voluntary manslaughter occurs when a defendant is provoked to commit the Homicide. It is sometimes described as a heat of passion killing. In most cases, the provocation must induce rage or anger in the defendant, although some cases have held that fright, terror, or desperation will suffice.

If adequate provocation is established, a murder charge may be reduced to manslaughter.


I do believe this jury can convict on this lesser charge.

IMO, GZ's words and actions that night show that he was intent on not letting another asshole get away and he acted recklessly and irresponsibly. When TM responded to GZ's advances, GZ panicked and shot the kid. I believe that TM might have shoved GZ causing GZ to fall back and hit his own head- then it was game on.

I do find it interesting that TM had no hand wounds or any of GZ's DNA/blood on his hands or under his nails.

I also find it interesting that GZ's clothing contained none of TM's blood/DNA.

How could TM have been on top of GZ during the shooting and GZ have moved TM without getting any of TM's blood on his person?

talia-mom
by Gold Member on Jul. 4, 2013 at 7:36 PM
2 moms liked this

proven? Not remotely.


And there will be trouble for it.

momtimesx4
by Silver Member on Jul. 4, 2013 at 7:38 PM
1 mom liked this

I like this part:

During cross-examination, defense attorney Mark O'Mara asked the lead witness for the prosecution if he thought "Zimmerman was telling the truth." At that moment, the jury leaned forward, listening intently, as Serino replied, "Yes."  

Afterwards the judge realized that the state has nothing so she told the jury to ignore that info.  Judge has shown enough bias that if there was video supporting what Z said, the judge would still tell them to ignore that video or throw it out as evidence.

Combine with what Serino said along with Potato from earlier. state has a weak case.

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