Report: Zimmerman Didn’t ID Self as Watch Leader

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  • ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Murder defendant George Zimmerman could have defused the confrontation with Trayvon Martin if he would have identified himself as a neighborhood watch leader, the lead investigator wrote in an investigative report released Tuesday.

    Another investigator wrote that on the night of the shooting, two lie detector tests given to Zimmerman found he wasn't lying about what happened. The results of such tests are usually not admissible in court.

    Sanford detective Chris Serino said Zimmerman verbally confronted the unarmed 17-year-old before the physical fight that ended when Zimmerman shot and killed Martin. But he didn't say he was with the neighborhood watch group. The two got into a fistfight and the 28-year-old Zimmerman maintains that Martin attacked him and was beating him up before he fatally shot him. He has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder.

    Serino wrote in his report that Zimmerman and witnesses said the defendant who was in his car avoided Martin when he first saw him because, as he told investigators, "was afraid of Martin." Serino also said that later in the encounter, Zimmerman got out of his SUV and followed Martin.

    "His actions are inconsistent of those of a person who has stated he was in fear of another subject," Serino wrote.

    Based on his investigation, Serino recommended a charge of manslaughter to the state attorney.

    In video released last week by his attorney, Zimmerman told investigators his side of the story about the shooting. He told them he grabbed his gun from a holster on his waist before Martin could get it, and shot the teenager once in the chest. After firing, Zimmerman said thought he missed because Martin didn't immediately fall over.

    Zimmerman said Martin had been on top of him, slamming his head against the ground and smothering his mouth and nose with his hand and arm. The tape shows two butterfly bandages on the back of Zimmerman's head and another on his nose. There are red marks on the front of his head.

    "It felt like my head was going to explode," he says in the video.

    Zimmerman claims he shot the teen in self-defense, under Florida's "stand your ground" law.

    Martin's parents have said Zimmerman was the aggressor. They said Martin was walking back from a convenience store through the gated community in Sanford when Zimmerman spotted the black teenager and started following him. They claim their son was racially profiled.

    Zimmerman's father is white and his mother Hispanic.

    The latest release of documents in the case have come on the heels of unflattering telephone calls capturing Zimmerman and his wife talking in code about using money collected for a defense fund to pay credit cards.

    During her husband's initial bond hearing, Shellie Zimmerman testified that they had limited funds since she was a fulltime student and Zimmerman wasn't working. Prosecutors say they had raised about $135,000 from a website set up for his legal defense at the time of the April hearing.

    She was charged June 13 with making a false statement. That came just days after a judge revoked George Zimmerman's bond for misleading the court about his finances.

    He remains in jail awaiting a second bond hearing scheduled for Friday.

     

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