Prosecutors release an eight-page list of witness statements, reports
The document contains no new details about the case
George Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in death of Trayvon Martin
Prosecutors released a summary of evidence Tuesday in the case against neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, who is accused of second-degree murder in the death of Trayvon Martin.
The eight-page document released to the public contains a list of possible witnesses and law enforcement reports that could be used in the prosecution’s case against Zimmerman.
But it doesn’t include details from those statements or reports, and contains no new revelations about the case, which sparked nationwide protests and reflection on race relations and gun laws in the United States.
The document is part of the routine exchange of information between prosecutors and defense attorneys that occurs before trials.
Defense attorney Mark O’Mara said Monday on the website set up to release information from Zimmerman’s side that his office had received “67 compact discs and numerous hardcopy documents” from prosecutors, including many of the records and statements mentioned in the summary.
“Please remember and understand that it is inappropriate for us to comment on particular pieces of evidence,” O’Mara said in the website statement.
Zimmerman, 28, is accused of killing Martin on February 26 as the African-American teenager walked back to the Sanford, Florida, house where he was staying, after visiting a convenience store. Prosecutors have said Zimmerman, who is a white Hispanic, killed Martin unjustly after profiling him.
Zimmerman, who acknowledges shooting Martin but claims self-defense, has entered a not guilty plea in the case, which has not yet been scheduled for trial.
The document lists 50 possible law enforcement witnesses, including 28 officers from the 140-member Sanford Police Department. It also lists 28 civilian witnesses, including Martin’s brother, mother and father, two of Zimmerman’s friends – Joe Oliver and Frank Taffe – and his father, Robert Zimmerman.
Prosecutors did not give names for 22 other potential civilian witnesses.
Attorneys have previously expressed concern about publicly identifying some witnesses who may fear retribution for their roles in the case, which has inflamed passions among supporters of both Martin and Zimmerman.
At least one of the witness interviews was conducted by Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump, according to the document.
Evidence taken from Zimmerman after the shooting, including his weapon, bullets, clothes, a DNA sample, medical records and his cell phone data were also included in the disclosure to defense attorneys, according to the document.
The document indicates that police technicians in biological and DNA evidence, trace evidence, gunshot residue, fingerprints and firearms may testify, along with two FBI agents, as well as two audio technicians who analyzed emergency calls made during the confrontation between Zimmerman and Martin in an effort to determine who was heard screaming in the background.
Experts Tom Owen and Edward Primeau concluded that the screams did not come from Zimmerman, who told police that Martin rushed him after they exchanged words, knocked him to the ground and repeatedly hit his head against the concrete sidewalk.
Martin, who lived in Miami, died after a chance encounter with Zimmerman in the gated community where he was staying with his father during a suspension from school.
Zimmerman called police to report a suspicious person walking on the streets of the neighborhood, which had been struck by several burglaries in recent months.
Prosecutors say he disregarded a dispatcher’s advice not to follow the person, who turned out to be Martin, and shot him after a confrontation minutes later.
While Zimmerman supporters have characterized him as a well-meaning neighborhood watch volunteer who was only trying to protect his community, Martin’s family and supporters have said he unfairly profiled Martin as a troublemaker just because he was an African-American teenager walking down the street wearing a hoodie.
Sanford police initially declined to arrest Zimmerman, saying there was no evidence to contradict Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense under Florida’s “stand your ground” law, which allows people to use deadly force anywhere they feel a reasonable threat of serious injury or death.
After weeks of protests demanding Zimmerman’s arrest, a special prosecutor appointed by Florida Gov. Rick Scott filed the second-degree murder charge against Zimmerman. He was arrested April 11 and briefly jailed. He has returned to hiding after his release on $150,000 bond.