New evidence released in George Zimmerman case
Former neighborhood watch leader charged with killing Trayvon Martin
The state attorney's office has released new evidence in the case against George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watchman who is charged with shooting and killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
Among the evidence released on Tuesday were color photos of a bloodied Zimmerman taken by a Sanford police officer, photos taken near where the shooting took place and new witness interviews of friends of Zimmerman by Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
One of the new witnesses was a friend of Zimmerman since 2004-2005 and said that Zimmerman used to help him work security at parties. When asked if he saw Zimmerman in any fights, he said Zimmerman got into a confrontation with state Alcohol, Beverage and Tobacco agents near UCF during an underage drinking sting.
The friend recalled that Zimmerman lost his temper at a 2005 house party when another person was jumped by three people while trying to break up a fight and had their jaw dislocated. The friend said Zimmerman was upset at police because he felt police did little to initially apprehend the suspects.
The friend also said Zimmerman’s nickname was “Tugboat” because he was a “picker-upper” guy who also “pulled people out of jams.” The friend also said Zimmerman helped him through a tough period of his life when he lost one of his legs due to cancer.
In the witness interviews, a former policeman said Zimmerman was "fascinated" in his police experience, with the especially in a shooting case. No interviews stated Zimmerman had racist behavior, but mentioned alleged racism occurring from within the Sanford Police Department and its relationship with the community.
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[AUDIO: FDLE Interview | Recorded calls | Recording of Zimmerman]
According to FDLE reports, there was an investigation into a Crimeline tip that suggested there was an 8-year-old eyewitness to the shooting who saw the entire incident. The caller did not know the girl’s name or address, but said she lived in a house with a screened porch that was located within eyesight of the crime scene. FDLE checked out all the nearby residences with screened porches, but did not locate the possible witness or anyone who knew about her.
In the evidence, FDLE also obtained the ATF records on Zimmerman’s gun, which was used to shoot Martin. It was purchased Nov. 11, 2009 by Shellie Zimmerman at Shoot Straight II in Casselberry.
The evidence release comes one day after a high-resolution, color photo of the former neighborhood watch leader on his defense website, showing him with a swollen and bloodied nose the night he shot and killed Martin.
Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty, claiming the shooting was in self-defense. He said Martin, who was not armed, was beating him up when he fired his gun.
Zimmerman's murder trial is scheduled to begin in June, although a so-called "stand your ground" hearing, based on Florida law that allows someone to shoot to kill if they feel their life is in danger, will be held earlier.
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