Zimmerman Case: Who Uttered the Terrified Scream for Help Punctuated by a Gunshot?

UPDATE: The defense has filed a Motion to Disqualify Judge Lester. Read it here. H/t to commenter Sharona Baby.

Both sides will be attempting to prove that their person is screaming for help because that is the central issue in the case, Zimmerman and his dad will say it’s him. TM’s parents and his cousin will say it’s TM. I would not be surprised if his girlfriend also identifies him as the person screaming.

Unclear at this point if audio experts can conclusively identify the source.

Two audiologists using different methodologies while working independently of each other claim they have excluded GZ as the source of the scream to a reasonable scientific certainty. They compared a recording of his speaking voice during his conversation with the dispatcher to the background scream on the recording of a neighbor’s 911 call.

An expert at the FBI Crime Lab has issued a report concluding that no opinion can be reached given the poor quality of the 911 recording.

Common sense indicates that the man with the gun would not have been screaming for help up until the precise moment that he pulled the trigger ending TM’s life. The terrified scream also is high pitched indicating a young person in fear for his life, rather than an adult male armed with a gun and, of course, GZ’s injuries were relatively minor and unlikely to have provoked him to scream in terror.

Given GZ’s track record for uttering inconsistent and provably false statements, I doubt that a jury will believe his claim.

Will the jury believe the father, or will it assign little weight to his testimony on the ground that he is trying to save his son from a long penitentiary sentence.

If I were a betting man, I would bet the jury will be more likely to believe the grieving mother and father who seek justice for the tragic loss of their unarmed son.

For these reasons, if I were GZ’s lawyer, I would be extremely concerned about the probable likelihood that the jury would conclude TM was screaming for help and begging for his life when, according to GZ, he “aimed” and shot him in the heart at point blank range.

Does that sound like self-defense or does it sound like an “act imminently dangerous to another and evincing a depraved mind regardless of human life?”

Recall the statutory definitions of “imminently dangerous conduct” and “evinces a depraved mind”:

Imminently dangerous conduct means conduct that creates what a reasonable person would realize as an immediate and extremely high degree of risk of death to another person.

A person evinces a depraved mind when he engages in imminently dangerous conduct with no regard for the life of another person.


The Florida jury instruction for second degree murder (Fla. Std. Jury Instr. (Crim.) 7.4) provides that an act is imminently dangerous to another and demonstrating a depraved mind if it is one that

1. A person of ordinary judgment would know is reasonably certain to kill or do serious bodily injury to another


2. Is done from ill will, hatred, spite, or an evil intent


3. Is of such a nature that the act itself indicates an indifference to human life.

Would you be willing to bet 25 years in prison, which is the minimum mandatory sentence for second degree murder, that a jury would not find that shooting a terrified kid screaming for help constituted “ill will, hatred, spite, or an evil intent?

I did not think so.

So, what can you do, if you are GZ’s lawyer?

How, if at all, can you climb or get around this Everest that appears to block any meaningful chance to win the case?

If I were GZ’s lawyer, I would have him secretly tested in a sound lab to see if his screams “match” the scream in the background of the 911 call to a reasonable scientific certainty.

If it were a match, I would take it to the prosecutors and say “Checkmate, Got Yah!”

If GZ were excluded as the source, which is what I am expecting, I would never mention the test or the results.

The test and the results would not have to be disclosed since they would be protected from disclosure by the attorney-client work product privilege.

I know that might sound crazy to you but it’s true. I have arranged for private testing in many cases, usually involving DNA testing, and that is the way it works.

The only time the defense has to disclose the unfavorable results of expert witness testing is when the tests involve mental health as might be the case when the defense is insanity or diminished capacity. Even then the results do not have to be disclosed unless the defense asserts the defense.

Meanwhile, I would have thought that GZ’s lawyers would have arranged for this test while he was out before his bond was revoked. Maybe they didn’t have the time or the money to do the test. In any event, you can be certain that they would have introduced the result at the recently concluded bail hearing, if they had it and it helped their case.

They clearly did not, but given the relatively short opportunity to do the test between bond hearings, I don’t believe we can reasonably conclude they did the test yet.

The more time that passes without the defense saying anything about a test, the more likely the test was completed with unfavorable or inconclusive results.

Should that have already happened, or if it happens, we can be reasonably certain that the defense will never mention it, ever.

There is another possibility to consider. The prosecution could move for an order requiring GZ to submit to a voice analysis test, or scream analysis test, if you prefer.

There is no Fifth Amendment right to refuse to participate in such a test because the evidence is not considered testimonial. That is, the suspect or defendant is not being forced to testify against himself. For example, it’s permissible in a bank robbery case to have each person in a lineup step forward and utter some phrase the robber said, so that witnesses can compare the sound of their voices to the robber’s voice. It’s also permissible in a forgery case to require a suspect to provide a handwriting exemplar.

The prosecution has not expressed an inclination or desire to go there, perhaps due to the expert at the FBI Crime Lab who opined that the scream is unsuitable for comparison purposes.

That would not stop me or any good defense lawyer from pursuing the matter, especially since we know there are two experts who have relied on the 911 recording.

Where there are two, there will be more, and where there are some, there will be one.

Pick the most respected legitimate expert and if the results are favorable, use them.

The prosecution might object, but if it does, request a pretrial Frye/Daubert hearing with expert testimony on the admissibility of test results obtained using a novel scientific theory or methodology.

Under the present circumstances of this case, if defense counsel fail to go down this road, I think they would have failed to provide effective assistance of counsel, which they are required to do under the Sixth Amendment.

167 Responses to Zimmerman Case: Who Uttered the Terrified Scream for Help Punctuated by a Gunshot?

  1. Beatriz says:

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  2. princss6 says:

    I the prosecution to request a picture today of that shaved head to see the “life-threatening wounds” on his head. He has obscured them since day one and the hair trick is fooling no one!

  3. Patricia says:

    Yes, Michael – any way he could grab it quickly.

    I think we all agree GZ did not pull that gun out the hambone way he showed the detective the next day.

    The face-head smashing by cellphone could have happened after the first encounter (after “What are you doing here?) but we don’t know whose voice DeeDee heard saying “Get off, get off!” – the last words she heard. That would help.

    But “get off” strikes me that both were down – GZ may have grabbed TM by the front of his hoodie. (GZ strikes me as a coward, I don’t think he would be that forward.)

    In any case, the clotted blood flow clearly happened when GZ’s head is leaning way forward, and for more than a few secnds. Perhaps the smash to GZ’s nose first, then rap to the head later at the death site. TM was tall enough to pull GZ forward and rap his head if – repeat, if -GZ was straddling.

    If TM was running and slipped on the grass, he would NOT fall on his back. He would fall forward and his hands would be in front of him, trying to break his fall. Or fall on his side. Running forward, the momentum would propel him forward.

    I chase coyotes. Sometimes I fall. Always forward. (The coyotes keep running, but I know it’s just a joke to them.)

    Perhaps GZ reached him, turned him on his right side – and TM started screaming. That’s a pretty good angle for left-handed GZ to drill one right into TM’s left torso, which would be a good 12″ high, perpendicular off the grass. It was a close shot – even with TM struggling.

    But not for long.

    GZ just had to let him fall back over again, and TM’s hands would be under him.

    Try this with a kid’s big teddy bear.

    Hand-to-hand fighting is messy. TM could have been under GZ at any angle – GZ isn’t going to wait for him to straighten out nicely.

    TM may have lost the phone as he fell and all the damage to GZ happended 20-30 ft. back. Don’t know (yet).

    TM may have been, and likely was trying to push himself up from his fall, as GZ reached him – so TM’s hands would definitely be UNDER him.

    But before he could accomplish that, GZ could be on him, turning him at an angle for the shot – because GZ, even as dumb as he appears, knows it ain’t gonne be “stand your ground” if he just shoots TM in the back.

    So GZ lets go after the shot, TM falls back to earth, arms under him, and GZ does his “weapons search” (still hoping to brand TM as a criminal), which the neighbor came out and saw.

    Nobody saw the “I put his hands in a Y” position that GM claimed.

    This weren’t no Bolshoi Ballet.

  4. deadassassin says:

    lfmao how did my quesion not make sense…you claim it was tm screaming, i said show me the logic that says gz would silently take a beating as only one voice screams…..cant have tm scream while attacking and gz silent…makes no sense

    • CommonSenseForChange says:

      Zimmerman’s voice doesn’t carry, Zimmerman reverts to a whisper when in a jam. Listen to all the police interviews with him to hear for yourself.

      Zimmerman was in a jam because he didn’t expect Trayvon Martin to scream for help which alerted the neighbors and exposed his illegal apprehension of an unarmed citizen.

  5. Les Hutton says:

    OK, Let’s assume that Zimmerman (fat & short) chased Trayvon down, cornered him and was holding his gun to Trayvon’s chest (ME reports shot fired from “contact” distance). Zimmerman is going to kill Trayvon and Trayvon knows it and begins to scream loud enough to wake the entire neighborhood. Why in the world would Zimmerman patiently wait for Trayvon to scream fourteen times through a period of almost 40 seconds before pulling the trigger?

    He wouldn’t have. And that is why there’s only one explanation for the number of screams. Zimmerman was pinned, couldn’t reach his weapon, was getting beaten badly and felt he needed help… Until he finally was able to pull his gun.

    • Why would you assume TM was just screaming and not hitting GZ about the nose and head with his cell phone as GZ calmly drew his gun, aimed and fired.

    • raiikun says:

      The location of the encounter proves Zimmerman did’t chase TM down, due to the fact it happened at the spot that Zimmerman had previously lost TM.

      Wherever TM went, he had to have come back to the T for the encounter to have happened.

      And of course I agree with the conclusion to the number of screams. Seconds before the shot, W6 saw Trayvon on top of George with George struggling to get away while the yelling was happening.

      I found it interesting that the defense was ready to call W6 to the stand on June 29th in case his statements were objected to. I kinda woulda liked to see what W6 would have said on George’s behalf.

      • The encounter did not happen where GZ claimed it happened.

        It happened where TM’s body was found, over 60 feet from the T-intersection.

        There is no evidence to support GZ’s claim that TM returned to the T-intersection.

        W6 is not a credible witness about anything because he changed his story regarding a materially important matter that he had just made up.

        • raiikun says:

          W11 heard the encounter start north of their home at 1211 TTL, meaning it started at or just west of the T intersection. They then heard the encounter move south past their home getting louder with grunting sounds until it turned into sounds for help.

      • Case#1 says:

        That not what Zimmerman stated, and nor is that interpretation reflective of the physical evidence.

      • Case#1 says:

        By the way, even if we buy your account (which we aren’t required to do) it doesn’t help Zimmerman. Why would a jury inference that the victim was in fact the attacker? Who is going to confirm your interpretation of what you believe Witness 11 means even if we believe witness 11?

        • raiikun says:

          What do you mean “my interpretation?” It’s what W11 said. And the fact that it independently corroborates George’s account that the encounter happened at the T intersection and moved south is significant.

      • Case#1 says:

        I believe this may be the statement from witness 11

        Click to access Witnesses_11_and_20_SAO_Memo.pdf

        I am not sure. I haven’t looked any closer.

        The key element is that this is occuring while on the phone and without visual cues, right? She says she hears a sound moving left to right or something like that. How do you go from that to 60 feet away?

      • Case#1 says:

        I mean she said she heard a sound , could not see it, that she was trying to explain to a 911 operator, while being clearly nervous because I just heard the audio, etc. And from that while listening to someone scream, you decided with little or no evidence that the distance that they traveled was 60 feet. So yes, again, how do you know what you are saying is true?

      • Case#1 says:

        One other point, look what you did there to fill in the holes of what you think happened, “independently corroborates George’s account ” In other words, you decided this was right because it fits the story you want to believe. The problem is that what you claim to be Zimmerman’s account is not the account Zimmerman gave. I know. I know. You believe he had his reasons for not giving the account of a 60 feet struggle.

        • raiikun says:

          Zimmerman says the encounter started at the T and moved south. W11 says the encounter started at the T and moved south. Seems the only issue is one of distance, and ya know, it happened to be dark and Zimmerman was probably more focused on the person he was fighting with than trying to accurately measure how far the fight moved while in the dark with a broken nose.

          • I would cut GZ some slack on specifics too for the reason you suggest, but he initially said TM appeared out of nowhere and sucker punched him at the T knocking him to the ground and then he changed that to he stumbled around 12 feet or so down the sidewalk that runs between the two rows of townhouses.

            That doesn’t even get him halfway to where he shot and killed TM.

            There ain’t no way he stumbled over 60 feet.

            The witness described what she heard on a dark rainy night with little or no light illuminating the area between the townhouses and sound probably echoes between the rows making it difficult to figure out what’s going on.

            The fact is that GZ’s version of what happened is inconsistent with the location of TM’s body. Therefore, GZ is not telling the truth and Witness 11 does not change that conclusion.

          • raiikun says:

            No, he didn’t stumble 60 feet, but it sounds like they scuffled and fought for 60 feet, according to W11.

          • Come on, now.

            GZ did not describe a stumbling scuffle, so the witness’s version conflicts with his version and is next to useless because she did not see anything.

            How can you selectively plug-up gaping holes and inconsistencies in GZ’s story with bits and pieces of other witness’s recollections that conflict with his story and announce, “Problem Solved?”

          • raiikun says:

            During the reenactment, GZ did in fact describe something I would call a stumbling shuffle.

          • For about 12 feet.

            He was very specific.

          • raiikun says:

            Looked to me like he entirely wasn’t sure. Which is why we have to rely on other witnesses, and W11 describes the scuffling go past her house. She was quite specific.

          • raiikun says:

            But then again, it seems like there are people willing to make a judgement of guilt based on George’s inabiiity to gauge distance while in a fight with a broken nose in the dark.

          • raiikun says:

            You seem to be jumping to the irrational conclusion that Zimmerman could trick the police into thinking the body wasn’t where it was though. I see no reason to make that assumption.

            George describes where the encounter starts and describes it moving south as he tried to fight Trayvon off.

            W11 hears it come from north of her home around the corner and move past her house, with grunts and scuffling getting louder until it turned into cries for help.

            W6 hears the encounter come from by W11’s home and move south until it ends up near his patio.

            Yeah, George seems to have trouble with distance, but the last time I was in a fight and lost my keys, and had to go back to find them, they were like 30+ feet from where I thought they shoulda been, and that fight was in the daytime,

          • Let’s just agree to disagree.

            You’ve decided GZ acted in self-defense and I do not see any evidence of self-defense. Nothing you’ve said has changed my mind and apparently nothing I’ve said or Case#1 or anyone else on this blog has said, has changed yours.

            I see you starting from a presumption that GZ told the truth and picking and choosing evidence that supports what he says and bending what he said into something else to make everything fit.

            I call that style of reasoning pounding square pegs into round holes. It’s outcome driven and not rational and if you cannot see that, I don’t know what else to say.

            So, I don’t see any point in continuing this discussion.

          • raiikun says:

            You’re making assumptions there about my starting presumption…I’ve made no such thing. My starting presumption is that anyone in George’s position would say whatever is in his best interest, and that was before the bond hearing. I take nothing George says as true without independent corroboration.

            The only picking and choosing of evidence is coming from the other side IMO. I’ve seen people claim the encounter started where the body was, despite clear evidence that it started north from there (the debris field, witness statements.)

          • raiikun says:

            My current belief that he acted in self defense is predicated on the fact that there is absolutely nothing to refute the defense’s claim that George was pinned down, struggling to get away, after having several head injuries, with a witness seeing Trayvon on top of George with George trying to get up seconds before the shot was fired.

      • Case#1 says:

        I just pulled up what the witness said

        Click to access Witness_11_Narrative.pdf

      • Case#1 says:

        This may be a cognitive problem.

        Zimmerman says an exact statement: it occur at the T.

        The witness you use says some statement that could possibly be interepreted the way you want while saying a lot of other things that do not back up what Zimmerman’s statement is.

        I have now linked to several examples to underscore the point of how you are spinning the witnesss statement.

        You ignore how her statements don’t corraborate Zimmerman’s claims. You losely base your argument on a heat of the moment impression that may or may not have been right, and you decide that Zimmerman is right.

        At this point the cognitive issue is that you are discounting the part where Zimmerman has given testimony that in some ways contradicts her statements, she didn’t say how far they traveled, and the body was found 60 feet away.

        You are taking the pieces that neatly fit your beliefs without looking at the rest of what she also says.

        The only issue is that we have a witness who is not a very good witness who essentially says many things that do not corraborate the defendant’s “he attacked me from the bushs story” but you ignore all of that tofocus on the one improbable piece that fits the unlikely idea that they struggled for 60 feet

        I have to thank you however for posting because this is precisely the kin of sloppy thinking that explains why people believe Zimmerman. Like I Said, even if we buy your argument that they struggled- it doesn’t match what Zimmerman told the police of being hit and knocked down and in a death match for his life since that’s what was necessary for his actions to be that of a reasonable person in fear of immiment death or serious bodily injury (which is the standard).

      • Case#1 says:

        I don’t need to go through her 19 pages of statement to get the important elements of it through the audio, which I can hear. I certainly don’t need to try re-listen to realize you are making some exaggerated claims with little to back it up.

        • raiikun says:

          That’s just it, there’s no exaggeration. She describes it starting on the sidewalk out back north of her house, and outright saying that the fight bent the corner and moved past her house.

          There’s no leap or stretch of interpretation here.

      • Case#1 says:

        At this point, because I know you are operating on pure belief , I have two questions from your believers perspective of reality

        (1) Why did Zimmerman’s multiple statement never mention this?

        (2) How was she able to “see” all of this by hearing it after (a) turning down her tv and (b) calling 911?

        I don’t expect an answer because I am not dealing with someone rational and thats been a problem with the case for some time.

        • raiikun says:

          No, if I was operating on pure belief, I’d still think Zimmerman was guilty like I did at first, before the overwhelming evidence in his favor slowly changed my mind over time.

      • Case#1 says:

        You didn’t answer either question as I predicted.

        • raiikun says:

          One question irrational and required one to guess at the circumstances in W11’s home, and the other wasn’t specific.

          It’s not fair to ask impossible questions then predict them not be answered.

      • Case#1 says:

        Still no answer to either of my actual questions.

        • raiikun says:

          If that’s all you can do, ask questions that require speculation into the minds of people I’ve never met, then act as if a lack of an answer is some kind of victory, then there’s no reason to continue this discussion.

      • Case#1 says:

        You speculated over and over again that hearing a sound coming from outside at night in in drizzling weather, after turning down one’s TV, while calling up 911 is proof positive that Zimmerman’s account of self defense or SYG is right.

        But you can’t answer

        (1) Why did Zimmerman’s multiple statement never mention this?

        A factual question about the inconsistent statements none of which back your assertion. Not a mental state question.

        (2) How was she able to “see” all of this by hearing it after (a) turning down her tv and (b) calling 911?

        A factual question about how conclusive her testomony under the circumstances could possibly be. Not a mental state question.

        Like I said, I didn’t expect any answer.

        • raiikun says:

          1) What are you claiming Zimmerman’s statements didn’t mention? Be specific.
          2) How do I know how W11’s house is set up so that I would know how she could tell that the scuffle started, turned round the corner, then moved past her house as she described?

          You’re still asking questions that are impossible to answer.

      • mentlegen says:

        Mr. Leatherman, where is the evidence that the fight moved 60 feet?

        • Well, there really isn’t any evidence that the fight moved 60 feet.

          TM’s body was found more than 60 feet south of the T-intersection.

          GZ claims he was walking back on the sidewalk between TTL and RVC toward his vehicle when TM suddenly appeared out of the gloom between the two rows of townhouses and sucker-punched him in the nose at the T-intersection. He said he stumbled around and fell down and TM jumped on top of him straddling him and started hitting him in the face 20 to 30 times. He was yelling for help and then TM grabbed his head and started slamming it against the concrete sidewalk, etc.

          If that story were true, TM’s body would have been found near the T-intersection, but it wasn’t.

          Also the debris, including TM’s cell phone was found near his body.

          Raiikun has been arguing that witness 11, who lives in the end townhouse up by the T-intersection reported hearing a struggle cut the corner and go past her back porch in a southerly direction between the 2 rows of townhouses.

          But witness 11 did not actually see anything. She was watching TV when she first heard some sounds and then she was on the phone to 911.

          Raiikun believes witness 11 confirms GZ’s story that the fight started at the T-intersection, but that does not square with GZ’s version of where the fight took place, the body, or the debris field.

          I don’t believe GZ’s story that he was not attempting to find TM and restrain him and I don’t believe his story that TM suddenly materialized out of the gloom and jumped him.

          I think GZ was trying to find TM and he found him when he headed south between the two rows of townhouses.

          I don’t believe he was returning to his vehicle when he found TM and attempted to restrain him without legal justification.

          • raiikun says:

            “Raiikun believes witness 11 confirms GZ’s story that the fight started at the T-intersection, but that does not square with GZ’s version of where the fight took place, the body, or the debris field.”

            Yes, it does. She heard the fight move past her house, therefore any speculation that it started where the body was found is completely ignoring witness testimony that suggests otherwise.

            It sounds like you’re operating from a preconceived conclusion and disregarding any evidence that challenges that.

            (I admit I did the same at first, until the evidence supporting self defense started mounting up and I realized my original conclusion was hasty and irrational and I was forced to revise it in the face of the evidence. At present there is no evidence whatsoever that proves George’s story wrong, but if evidence comes out that does, I’ll change my mind back to my original opinion.)

          • raiikun says:

            Seriously, I can only see 2 reasons George might have failed to explain the entirety of the 60 feet that the fight moved.

            1) He was unable to remotely accurately judge distance while in the dark and getting beaten up.
            2) He somehow thought he could trick the police into thinking the body was 60 feet away from where they found it.

            I cannot see how anyone can possibly come to the conclusion that 2 is correct unless they’re operating under a preconceived assumption of guilt, and are only willing to see or interpret any evidence that supports that assumption.

      • Case#1 says:

        “Yes, it does. She heard the fight move past her house, therefore any speculation that it started where the body was found is completely ignoring witness testimony that suggests otherwise.”

        You cannot reasonably make the inference from her statements that you are making without more evidence that would need to be supplied by Zimmerman as to the nature of the fight, where it was at, etc. What she actually says in her statement is that she heard two people arguing (already a problem for Zimmerman because that’s not what he claimed. He says he was jumped), the fight grew louder, she turned down the TV, she heard the noise grow louder, she was talking to another witness, they called 911, and she never bothered to see visually what was going on. So, all of this is based on sounds in a confused situation. Yet, you are certain based on this that you know what happened that night. This is why I call you irrational. No one can reasonably make the leaps you are making.

        From all of that, you are able to tell they fought for 60 feet. Leaving nothing behind along the way. Where was the kid’s bag found? Where was his cell phone found?

        NOTE: Prof Leatherman, this is example of what I mean by people wanting to believe what they believe, however, improbable. Notice, at each turn, despite the improbable nature of a piece of information happening the way the Pro-Zimmerman defense types claim the more they stop asking “okay how can all of these improbable events” of a perfect storm happen and fall just the way they would have had to have happened for the defense to be right?

        Indeed, it gets worse- he doesn’t explain why the story is directly at odds with Zimmerman’s statements.

        The problem: The physical evidence doesn’t match the conclusions. The defendant statements do not match the conclusions. The evidence does not add up to Raikun’s conclusions.

        They are right because, however improbable each piece is, they can explain away each bit of evidence in the narrative.

        The problem, of course, is that Raikun refuses to answer why this does not match Zimmerman’s multipel testimony.

        Not only are we being “irrational” but apparently Zimmerman doesn’t remember having argued with the defendant or fighting for 60 feet.

        But Raikun is certain thats what happened because that’s what Raikun wants to believe to confirm the evidence to his belief that the defendant isn’t guilty.

        My concern in a nutshell is that this kind or Rodney King jury-eque thinking is exactly what’s may happen in this case.

        • raiikun says:

          “already a problem for Zimmerman because that’s not what he claimed. He says he was jumped”

          Wrong, she describes what she thought was three exchanges, as if one person said something, then the other person, then the first, almost exactly as Zimmerman describes it.

          Then later on, when the SPD inquire for more details toward the end of the interview, she describes the direction she heard it come from, how it turned the corner behind her house, then passed her house getting louder.

      • Case#1 says:

        He didn’t need to know distance to know whether he had been fighting for a sustained period of time with the defendant before he was pushed to the ground as he claimed and repeatedly beaten. He never mentioned your version (and it is your version) at all. Still hasn’t.

      • Case#1 says:

        By the way, as I said earlier, if we choose to buy into your argument that this woman had some kind of bat-like echo sound location ability above that of the average human, we would also have to consider the evidence that she points out the two were arguing as she states.

        Do you see a problem with that if the defendant is arguing self-defense or SYG?

        His story depended on us believing that the kid started to attack him out of blue.

        The kid had no way of knowing who he was unless he so identified himself. He never mentioned identifying himself. He had two chances to diffuse the situation according to the police investigating the case. If we believe your version of what happened that night based on this witness being right, we should not be selective. We should believe it all. Including the argument that she claimed to have heard.

        As I said earlier, this doesn’t help you as much as you think.

        • raiikun says:

          “By the way, as I said earlier, if we choose to buy into your argument that this woman had some kind of bat-like echo sound location ability above that of the average human”

          Wow, you really can’t tell what side of your house a loud noise is coming from? I know I can, and I nearly got a medical discharge from the military for my below average hearing. I thought the ability to tell basic direction of noise is common among humans.

          ” we would also have to consider the evidence that she points out the two were arguing as she states.”

          She describes what she thought were 3 exchanges, just like George described. I don’t see the issue here.

          “Do you see a problem with that if the defendant is arguing self-defense or SYG?”

          Not at all. Arguing beforehand is entirely irrelevant to the self defense claim according to Florida law…what matters is if there was a reasonable fear of imminent great bodily harm at the moment of the shooting. And with W6 seeing Trayvon on top of George seconds before the shooting, any duty to retreat isn’t needed even if SYG is found to not apply, George is covered under traditional self defense.

          The Defense’s claim is that George was pinned to the ground, unable to get away while sustaining injury at the hands of Trayvon until he feared for his life. If the State cannot refute that claim, then George walks, regardless of any arguments, following, confronting that may or may not have happened beforehand, according to Florida law.

      • Case#1 says:

        to be precise she said she heard some loud talking outside of her backdoor that got louder, and that this lead her to turn down her TV

        See the problem with this yet as far as SYG and self-defense between a guy with a weapon and one without?

        This was before she heard scuffling and fighting in the statement.

      • CommonSenseForChange says:

        W3’s account is at odds with W6’s if both of them are referring to the same guy in the white shirt. W3 saw what was occurring later than W6 did and she is a second witness to capture the gunshot on her 9-1-1 call.

        W11’s 9-1-1 call did not capture any smashing noises or punching sounds. W6 confirms not hearing any as well.

        As to the location of the altercation’s start, W11’s account logically started some time after it was already in progress — after it already escalated and gotten loud.

        The direction the altercation traveled AFTER it was already in progress was towards Trayvon Martin’s home — south. That’s all W11’s and W6’s can really show as to direction.

      • Case#1 says:

        “Zimmerman then recounts his harried interaction with Martin after he ended his called to police. As the 28-year-old man walked back to his car, Martin approached him and said, “You got a problem?” When Zimmerman replied “no” and reached for his phone, he claims Martin ramped up his aggression, saying, “You got a problem now,” and punched him, sending him to the ground. According to Zimmerman’s account, Martin then climbed on top of him, slamming his head against the concrete sidewalk.”



        This does not fit with what Raiikun is claiming.

        At this point I am not sure what to say Raiikun. Either produce infomation in the form of links quoting Zimmerman that backs your statement or stop telling us that your version of the fact is actually based on something more than what your own beliefs.

    • Dennis says:

      Funny you mention that. In the reenactment video from a couple weeks ago, GZ can’t even act out his fantasy correctly. He is a left handed person with a left handed gun holster. But in his reenactment, he reaches to his right side for his gun. The guy is completely full of crap and doesn’t even realize how many mistakes and lies he has made in his fantasy story.

      • Two sides to the story says:

        “Funny you mention that. In the reenactment video from a couple weeks ago, GZ can’t even act out his fantasy correctly. He is a left handed person with a left handed gun holster. But in his reenactment, he reaches to his right side for his gun. The guy is completely full of crap and doesn’t even realize how many mistakes and lies he has made in his fantasy story.”

        It’s my understanding that many lefties wear right-side holsters and cross draw or else they holster, draw, and shoot with right hand because most guns are made for right-handed people and eject shells to the right. GZ claims to be one who does the latter. [Not that I don’t think there are other discrepancies in his stories]

  6. Patricia says:

    I have been looking again at the first photo taken of GZ’s “back of the head injuries,” a photo by the first neighbor on the scene (first outside the condo) that was taken 4 minutes after the gunshot.

    At the age of 18 I had an accidental small L-shaped laceration of the scalp, about 3/4″ on either arm of the L, that didn’t really hurt more than 3 seconds and never created a health problem but at the time it bled like a shower (vastly more than GZ shows) so I know how vascular the scalp is, with lots & lots of blood but almost zero pain. Shortly it clots and the bleeding stops. Literally, “it’s nothing.”

    I could not believe any EMT who stated GZ’s head was 45% covered by blood, having seen this picture. Did GZ aggravate the wounds after he was taken into custody but before that EMT cleaned him up? Hard to fathom.

    As one of your writer/contributors noted, the flow of blood, before it coagulated, ran in a FORWARD position on GZ’s head, toward the ear This is CONSISTENT with gravity flow with GZ straddling TM from ABOVE and leaning FORWARD – either gun in hand or attempting to smother TM’s cries.

    If GZ had been on the bottom, with TM above, the wet grass would have wiped most of the blood off the back of GZ’s head, leaving a few smeary clots.

    Note that the next day GZ did not point out to the investigators, “Right about here is where he was banging my head on the concrete.” I always wondered why there was no DNA testing along the concrete dogwalk (or any search for any blood). Yes, it had rained, but blood is persistent stuff. IF GZ were telling the truth he would have been demanding this search.

    More and more the scenario is unfolding – GZ on top of TM; TM striking out with his only weapon – the cell phone found near his body. TM was taller and rangier; he may have been able to grab GZ’s head and bring it forward, rapping the cellphone against the back of GZ’s head.

    There is no way TM could get up with 200 lbs of GZ straddling him (GZ weight and height taken at Sanford PD immediately after the shooting). All through this desperate struggle, TM screams for help – he is trapped and vulnerable under this crazy stranger.

    If any advanced audio technology can separate two voices at that moment, I bet it’s a kid screaming and GZ himself saying “Shut the fuck up.”

    But a cellphone smack right on the nose is really, really going to hurt, so I can see GZ, with a history of anger management, mustering up his courage (i.e., drawing his gun from his pocket) and, getting the perfect aim on TM’s heart, and with TM screaming from the bottom of his gut in mortal fear, GZ fired his single round. From above.

    Then frisked TM. hoping to find a gun on him – to establish TM as some sort of criminal, and GZ the hero.

    BTW, if GZ did not unholster his gun as soon as he got out of his vehicle (probably not, for safety’s sake, since he took off running) I bet the transfer of gun from holster to pocket took place where his Honda keychain/flashlight ring was dropped. There may have been a hand-to-hand altercation at that point. TM would get up and run, but in the dark, make a poor target. GZ likely spotted TM in the near distance. How could a short fat guy catch up with a running young athlete? He could, if TM slipped on the wet grass. That’s all the time GM would need to drop and straddle.

    The trajectory of the hollowpoint and the powder pattern will make a powerful exhibit if this case goes to trial.

    • GZ did not look for blood on the sidewalk because he never banged his head against the sidewalk and he knew it wasn’t there.

      Your point about TM slipping and falling on the wet grass is a good one that had not occurred to me and triggered a memory that one of the witnesses told the police that she saw someone lying in the grass as if he had slipped and fallen.

      Good work

      The whole is greater than the sum of its individual parts and I think we’re seeing that principle in operation here as we slowly piece together what happened.

      Carry on.

      • Dennis says:

        I believe it was raining a little that night which is why TM had his hood up.

        Here is my take on GZ:

        GZ is a sociopath and went to follow TM only because he was black and was wearing a hooded sweatshirt. According to GZ’s own calls to police many times before this incident, every criminal in that neighborhood that was breaking into houses was reported to be black. GZ follows and pursues TM because he is black (racial discrimination) and because he is wearing a hoody so delusional GZ automatically assumes he is a criminal. Since TM tries to evade and run from GZ, at this point GZ is sure in his own mind that TM is a criminal. GZ leaves his car and pursues TM on foot. GZ tries to detain TM and TM starts hitting GZ in the face with his cellphone. TM breaks free from GZ to try and run for his dad’s girlfriend’s townhouse. While running TM slips on the grass and there is another physical altercation once GZ catches back up to him. GZ eventually shoots TM.

        What do you think of this scenario?

    • Michael Stewart says:

      Your “slipping” observation makes for some interesting speculation Patricia, sincerely. Now we have to figure out how Martin wound up laying face down.

      Personally I don’t adhere to the “pocket” theory. That isn’t a very safe way to carry a weapon into a picture perfect ambush set-up. Nor do I agree with the “gun already drawn” theory; he’s in a close residential setting at 7:00pm in the evening.

      If anything, I think it’s more likely that Zimmerman was prowling in the dark with his weapon holstered – hand in the ready position.

      • Dave says:

        He could have had the gun in his hand but concealed in his pocket. That wouldn’t be particularly unsafe. GZ’s gun is doubleaction only so there would be almost chance of an accidental discharge.

      • princss6 says:

        But when do you believe the depraved mind starts, i.e. he had careless disregard for life when he went to start the confrontation. I don’t think he took any care with keeping that gun in a safe place. He was reckless from the moment he jumped out of his car. It is possible he exercised some car but I’ve not heard or seen any evidence of it.

  7. jd says:

    deadassassin: if your name is any indication, I’d say you are already too biased to bother with. The same “missing minutes” questions can be posed about GZ, BTW. Did he stand on RVC for two minutes playing with a dead flashlight, or did he walk north to make sure TM didnt go around back east on RVC, then assume that by process of elimination he must have missed him back at the T? If a rat turns around at a dead end of a maze, has he given up looking for the cheese? GZ ran/jogged/ away from his truck for 24 seconds and then took a lot longer never to get back to it. Why? Are street signs the reason, or was he seeking a confrontation that he ultimately found?

    Yes TM seems to have spoke first, but was it in response to a flashlight in his eyes? Or a 9mm pistol?

    Let me ask you a question since I’ve tried to answer yours. Where was GZ when he said this?

    Zimmerman: That’s the clubhouse…
    Dispatcher: That’s the clubhouse, do you know what the—he’s near the
    clubhouse right now?
    Zimmerman: Yeah, now he’s coming towards me.

    Looking forward to how your answer matches GZ’s own statements.

    • deadassassin says:

      burden of proof is on state not on zimm. therefor it is not zimm who needs to account for the time between losing him and the fact 4 minutes later tm still at top of t

      • deadassassin says:

        evidence of tm seeing gun please///remember dd on cell=she would have said so yet she didnt therefor never occured

      • Dave says:

        The trajectory of the bullet through Trayvon’s body shows that he was in a position to see the gun aimed at his chest. Do you think he had his eyes closed?

      • Dennis says:

        Who cares about the missing time? The prosecution already has proof that Zimmerman lied to protect the fact that he kept pursuing Martin on foot. Degenerates like you keep sending this murderer money and what does he do with it? He tells his wife to basically hide it and his second passport as well. Why? Because he was planning on fleeing. That is called consciousness of guilt. Innocent people don’t feed the police lie after lie about the shooting of an unarmed teenager.

  8. deadassassin says:

    i see leatherman ignored my logical assertions and instead used jewish words and talked about zimms dad. lmfao

    • Okay I’ll bite … oy vey

    • I did not answer your question because it did not make any sense to me.

      • Dennis says:

        You do raise a good point. Judge Lester did in fact grant Zimmerman bail a second time even though he believes that he was planning to or at least considering fleeing. Zimmerman’s lawyer is opening defending his manipulation of the system like it is no big deal, when in reality it shows “consciousness of guilt”. It is my understanding that the court is not obligated to even grant you bail for 2nd degree murder in Florida. It is my assumption that the prosecution only granted him the option of bail in the first place because they wanted more time to prepare their case and also did not want to disclose evidence they want to keep private until the actual trial. If they would have denied him bail at his first hearing, the prosecution would have had to divulge certain evidence and also would have had less time to prepare the case. If a defendant is denied bail, they will usually execute their right to a speedy trial. What do you make of this?

        • raiikun says:

          “It is my understanding that the court is not obligated to even grant you bail for 2nd degree murder in Florida.”

          Not quite true. The defendant still has the right to bail, but there’s very limited discretion to deny it if the State can meet a burden of proof of guilt even higher than the burden of proof required to convict. (Or is a proven flight risk, or proven risk of intimidating witnesses etc).

          The State didn’t meet that burden, so bail had to be given.

  9. Case#1 says:

    More on the motion to recuse Judge Lester.

    I just read a comment by someone claiming to be an expert on the subject.

    Read here

    ““He doesn’t want to try the case and have it reversed on appeal, and probably doesn’t want to take a lot of time and have this case go up to the appellate court now. I would suspect after he reads it, considers it and thinks it over, he’ll probably recuse himself,” Fussell concluded.”


    Why would the case be reversed on appeal?

    The expert does not say. The only thing the article adds is this:

    “Near the end of the 13-page motion, Zimmerman’s attorneys quoted legal precedence saying, “every litigant is entitled to nothing less than the cold neutrality of an impartial judge,” claiming Judge Kenneth Lester is not capable of being impartial anymore.”

    Again as I wrote above, this is not the legal standard. Neutrality does not mean a judge should pretend a defendant has not acted in bad faith with the court in the past. That’s actually the opposite of neutrality. Its favoring the defendant regardless of what the defendant does. So, what would be the basis of the judge recusing himself?

    These are all strong arm tactics rather than explanations under the law of why this may be the case. I think that’s O”Mara’s real goal- to strong arm Lester into recusing himself.

    I can’t say whether it will work. I just know the tactic has little basis in law. I am not a criminal lawyer. Do these sort of strongarm tactics work with criminal judges? It doesn’t work with civil judges and is more likely to piss them off.

    The whole “reversible” argument relies on the idea that this judge is now allow to have done with he did. If an appeals court were to reverse they would be opening up a hornets of lawyers just like me arguing for forum shopping simply because the judge is reacting to my tactics of those of my clients in court.

    I think OMara and company knows this, but don’t care. The point is to strong arm Lester. This is some gambit.

    • Yes, that’s my take on it too.

      I think it’s an attempt to intimidate Judge Lester, probably motivated in part to placate the client and his former state magistrate father.

      Takes chutzpah to file a motion like this after getting out on bail, despite previously defrauding the court and your lawyer about your financial situation and counseling your wife to commit perjury.

      Stunning, reckless and stupid.

      • ita with “probably motivated in part to placate the client and his former state magistrate father.”

        GZ is an animal (yep and I stand by my judgmental assessment) who is motivated by fear & paranoid. GZ has more than likely fixated on Judge Lester as his ‘mortal enemy’. Can you imagine the rhetoric and merry-go-round aspect of debating strategy in conversations between MOM, GZ & Rob Zim Sr ….

      • Case#1 says:

        How does this not hurt them with what will now be a third judge on the case? Do they think the next judge will not know that, at the very least, the defendant acted in bad faith? I know the pro-Zimmerman supporters really pretend not to get this, but the parties in a case rely not just on facts and the law, but that the court’s grace to believe the parties are acting in good faith. This feels like a hail mary and I am not sure how it helps his client. If he gets a new judge, is the assumption that the new judge will be intimidated by claims of bias unless the judge agrees with the SYG defense? This is not the first time Omara seems to be using the process as a circus. The bond hearing was mostly from what I could read about OMara trying to put on a mini-trial which had nothing to do with the bond hearing. Now he’s using another process to reach for forum shopping and pushing around the judges in the case or else they get blamed with being biased unless they produce a result that the defense wants and says nothing of the actions of the defendant or evidence in the case. Its truly a strange argument. It reminds me of the Prop8 case where the proponents of prop-8 wanted the judge there to be recused due ot the fact he was gay and deciding a gay case in that if one starts to play along to the defense’s tactics that opens up a pandora’s box. I almost think the judge has to stay on the case under the circumstances, but I can’t say he will.

        • Lawyers can become blinded by the lights of the BIG case and end up using the client as a vehicle to fame and fortune.

          It’s a type of conflict of interest in that the lawyer’s interest is developing and carrying out a strategy of self-glorification instead of first and foremost acting in the best interests of the client.

          It’s really quite easy to be seduced by the possibility of fame and fortune when your client mistakenly and tragically is pushing you to do stuff that is not in his best interests.

          We may be seeing that kind of conflict playing out with this motion.

      • Case#1 says:

        To be clear, I mention SYG because that is what this hail mary tactic is all about. They want to end this before a trial, but know the defendant’s credibility is shot due to the defendant’s bad faith actions. I am not willing to call it anything more than bad faith because more is not necessary. The judge will be asked to decide in a case where all he really would have is the defendant’s word that contra to the evidence that leans against him that he was not the aggressor and that TM sufficiently threatened the defendant to produce the preponderance of the evidence necessary for SYG here. They are trying to forum shop because they know their credibility is shot. Its hard to see how any statement of the judge about the bad faith regarding the money would not have been used for this motion since the core argument is that impartiality requires a judge to pretend not to notice the defendant’s own behavior in the case. I still have no idea why they think this bad faith will not be noticed by the next judge in any SYG hearing. I also have a hard time just blaming Zimmerman for OMara’s arguments and strategies. It feels like again to me the point is to throw the dice hoping to find a judge who will ignore the credibility gap which at best can be spun as bad faith with the court.

        • I think judges are going to be offended by the tactic and wondering why he did not stick with Judge Lester who, after all was said and done, still granted bail.

          And the road ahead for GZ has just become steeper, regardless whether this motion is granted.

      • Dennis says:

        Frederick, do you know if Shellie will be having Judge Lester for her perjury charge? Also, can you comment regarding the minimum and maximum sentences for perjury in the state of Florida. Thanks.

  10. deadassassin says:

    personally I feel the absence of 2 sets of voices on the 911 calls proves it was gz……because tm will not be screaming while gz is silent. not logical. not passing smell test. red flag.

    • Dennis says:

      I’m willing to bet Martin beat Zimmerman with the cellphone he was currently talking to his girlfriend on. If Zimmerman tried to detain Martin, it would obviously be Martin screaming since he was the one being detained by an unknown adult male. I could easily see Martin screaming for help because he is being assaulted and false imprisoned.

      If you were 17 years old, what would you do if some crazy man grabbed you while walking home? If you do nothing, then you have no brains whatsoever. Just let that creepy man throw you into his vehicle and never be seen from again, that sure isn’t what we should teach our kids.

      • Yes on the cellphone possibly being the instrument that hit GZ in the head. I am going to assume, that TM had the cell phone in his ‘dominant hand’. Therefore, it would be only natural and a matter of reflex to take the instrument in your dominant hand to use as a first line instrument.

    • momisbuff says:

      Of course. Completely illogical to be screaming while being held with a gun pointed at you.

  11. deadassassin says:

    and please explain how they rule out gz as being the voice.
    the fact is it had to be either a or b…..tm or gz…..the fact is you cant rule out gz without comparing tm voice.
    the fact if a 47% match to gz proves it was gz, compared to the current 0% match to tm.
    logic says 47% is close to 50% is close to a 50/50 split….hardly proof. in fact, that very 50/50 split is the same as the 50/50 either or split prior to the voice comparison…we already knew it was either tm or gz…..

  12. deadassassin says:

    if gz tried to detain him, why does dd have tm speaking first, and explain the fact gz and dd have tm running and losing him….added to the fact of approx 4 minutes time after “he lost him” and the fact of the location, tm only travels 30yds in 4 minutes and had lost him yet does not continue home even though he lost him and even though gz continued in a direction other than tm had went to look for address.

    • Dennis says:

      You are assuming that Martin knew exactly where the townhouse was, like he had a GPS homing device. It was dark, raining, and he ran through yards to get away from a psychopath that was fully armed. That was not even the residence where he lived, it was the townhouse of his father’s girlfriend. You are a complete fool if you expect him to know exactly where the townhouse was.

      Zimmerman, on the other hand, claims he got out of his vehicle to check the street sign to tell the dispatcher exactly which street/address to send the police to. This is a complete lie. He patrolled those streets several nights a week. There are not many streets in that small townhouse complex. No way in hell did he not know the names of the streets. Since he claims Martin was dangerous, he could easily have driven up to the street sign and used the headlights to see the street sign without having to leave the vehicle. He got out of the vehicle because he intended to pursue and detain Martin on foot, plain and simple.

      • momisbuff says:

        Also, it is possible that Martin is hiding for some period of time to elude the creepy psycho who is following him. Once he believes the coast is clear, he feels safe to continue home without being followed to the residence. This would not only be consistent with the girlfriend’s testimony, but would be a reasonable reaction to being followed. I would not want lead a following psycho to my home if I could help it, especially if the only person inside is another youth. Zimmerman expresses concern during he call with protecting his personal address/home location. Why couldn’t the person he was following have that same concern?

        More difficult to explain is how, in the 1 minute and 20 seconds from the time GZ says he arrived at RVC and began walking back to his car, he never arrived at his car or got into it. He explicitly pinpoints in an interview with Serino the specific point in that NE call where he begins ”walking back to his car” and twice answers the question ”What are you doing now?” (at this point in call) by saying ”walking back to my car.” But, when asked why he didn’t get into the car, GZ ”magically” places himself back at Retreat View Circle, too afraid to walk back. Did he teleport there? If not, why didn’t he say, then, in response to ”What are you doing now?” something like ”I’m standing at RVC trying to get my flashlight to work …” Even if he WAS walking back, he would have been on the phone as he passes the T where he was purportedly attacked.

  13. deadassassin says:

    there is absolutely no logic that says gz would remains silent while beaten, and that tm would be able to scream while delivering punches.

    • Dennis says:

      Martin was holding his cellphone in one hand. If Zimmerman grabs him, Martin has only one hand free to defend himself. Martin screams for help while beating Zimmerman’s face with his cellphone. It was Martin who invoked Stand Your Ground because Zimmerman committed two crimes against him (assaulting a minor and false imprisonment). Martin could have snapped Zimmerman’s neck and the case would have been thrown out, but unfortunately Zimmerman was armed. It is already a fact that Zimmerman lied about his route when he was on foot. The only reason he would lie is to hide the truth, that he chased and tried to detain Martin. They have caught him in so many lies and add in the fact that his bond was revoked the first time, this means his credibility is shot. His attempts to hide money and his 2nd passport also prove “consciousness of guilt”. Any logical person can see that he was planning to or at least considering fleeing. That is not the act of an innocent person.

  14. martingale says:

    This is copied from another blog post in regards to Osterman:

    is my screen capture of the last customer at the M&I bank Rinehart Rd ATM, and the [person who took GZ out of jail after the second bond. As Leelee says is
    MARK OSTERMAN. Check against his Facebook for yourselves, I couldn’t screenshot that.

    GUYS: best buddy, shooting teacher, disgraced former deputy, air marshall friend was there BEFORE THE SHOOTING.

    He drove out from the ATM at 6.38 pm. A mere 60 – 80 seconds from GZ’s main gate. While it is possible he was just passing through, no need for him to go to this bank, as there is another M&I much closer to where he lives, at Lake Mary.

    So, 6.40 or a bit later if he made a detour say to Walmart.

    Problem with 6.40 is, that is exactly the time Trayvon would be walking along Orlando Avenue on his way to the corner shortcut.

    Didn’t we say all along there was a tip-off?

    Well somewhere GZ says his wife is with his friend.”

    Zimmerman’s phone records will be interesting. It looks like this guy will be used to establish that Z was looking to detain him, and of course, it will confirm that Z lies about the reason he was out of the house with his weapon in the first place. I thought the case for murder 2 was weak when the charges were announced(manslaughter seemed appropriate) but the more evidence we see the strong the prosecution’s case gets.

    • Two sides to the story says:

      Damning bit of evidence. GZs only hope now is a biased jury, and I don’t think even the most jaded NRA supporter could look past all the lies and omissions. Wish GZ would do himself and us all a favor and accept a plea.

      • Dennis says:

        I don’t want him to accept any plea deals. The minimum sentence for 2nd degree murder in Florida is 25 years. I rarely hear about 3rd degree murder and some states even have 4th degree murder.

        3rd degree murder is a killing that was a result of someone’s recklessness

        I believe for 2nd degree murder they have to prove “malice”. Zimmerman’s actions sound more like 3rd degree murder than 2nd degree murder but I may be wrong.

  15. jd says:

    Re: prosecution strategy at trial. I’m not sure GZ would take the stand, but yes if he did he would be destroyed, no matter how much coaching he was given. I’d almost expect a Perry Mason style meltdown if the lawyer was good, and figured out how to push his buttons right. No amount of pills is going to calm this guy on that day. He was able to calmly tell many bald faced lies to cops because they acted friendly to him in order to keep him talking. The one short period that they became confrontational, he went into a dark and shaky place and was very close to losing it, had the session continued I feel.

    I think the FBI saying the screaming isn’t of enough quality to ID gives the prosecution a chance to hang the jury or gain a conviction but truth be told I tend to think it’s GZ yelling for help. He’s yelling for help to CONTINUE restraining the teen illegally, but he’s the one yelling, (and lying about the extent of the smothering, etc.) There may of course be two voices heard on the 911 call. In the end competing experts will muddy the waters there to a deep chocolate brown and a jury will look elsewhere for deciding factors.

    Fascinating case. I think they’ve got a liar on the hook and they need to land him into the boat with a WIDE net that allows jurors to see the basics and not look to closely at proof of what happened exactly in the physical altercation, just to see that whatever GZ claims is most likely not the truth.

    He’ll go to prison claiming it was him yelling for help, and that the jury was wrong about that, but they (the jury) are not going to use that as the determining factor. They are going to use his lies as the deciding factor.

  16. Elle Jay says:

    –an audio expert, who has been called as a witness in the case has written an interesting article about the cries for help.


    Did George Zimmerman Cry for Help? – The Trayvon Martin Murder Trial

    Wednesday, July 11, 2012 –Author: Audio Forensic-Expert


    –I was contacted by a producer at The Today Show shortly after they acquired a copy of an exemplar that the police made of George Zimmerman’s voice. They made the exemplar (sample of Mr. Zimmerman’s voice) so that it could be compared to the cry for help in the 911 police recording.

    –However, I do want to go on record and comment that a more appropriate or exact exemplar needs to be made of George Zimmerman’s voice in order to conduct a proper voice identification test.

    –However, what was not done properly when creating the exemplar was the delivery of the word “help” by Zimmerman. The reason being that, it was very different than the long, drawn out scream of help that is heard in the background of the 911 recording which is posted on several places on the Internet.

    –The way to properly record a voice identification exemplar or sample of the accused voice is to have the person recreate the distance of the cell phone call exactly like the police did. Additionally, the delivery of the words need to be as similar to the original as possible. In this case, I believe that the police could have turned to the FBI for help recording this exemplar.

    As an audio forensic expert who has been named as an expert witness in this case, I would have been happy to help create this exemplar as well. And why it was released to the media before consulting with the expert witness team is unknown to me.

  17. raiikun says:

    I think helpful to george is that martin has a deeper voice than george, so maybe the defense can do an analysis to rule out the voice as trayvon.

    • jd says:

      The defense lacks a confirmed sample of martins voice and is unlikely to get cooperation in obtaining one.

  18. Elizabeth says:

    Thank you Sir Leatherman, that is a bit encouraging, but since you said “I think”, I am not going to place any bets! 🙂

  19. Martingale says:

    On the two independent audio analysts: One of them concluded that the screams did not match Zimmerman’s voice. The other one concluded that it was a young sounding voice, which implies that Zimmerman is eliminated from being a match. Neither of these tests are scientific, and both are, quite frankly, useless in this case. The FBI analysts arriving at the conclusion that a match can not be determined will make the way both sides approach the issue of the screaming interesting.

    I take issue with the following:
    “Common sense indicates that the man with the gun would not have been screaming for help up until the precise moment that he pulled the trigger ending TM’s life. The terrified scream also is high pitched indicating a young person in fear for his life, rather than an adult male armed with a gun and, of course, GZ’s injuries were relatively minor and unlikely to have provoked him to scream in terror.”

    Why wouldn’t the man with a gun try screaming for help if he had some guy supposedly wailing away on him? A gun is a last resort. Saying the voice was young sounding isn’t really going to cut it either. Zimmerman doesn’t sound like Barry Manilow, and in a moment of extreme stress the human voice can sound very different than what it generally sounds like. The extent of Zimmerman’s injuries also likely seemed worse than they were because of how quickly the situation escalated and because 45% of his head was covered in blood.

    As per what the jury will believe, it’s not useful to speculate about that. We don’t know if we’re going to get a group of Frank Taffee’s or a group of normal people. Furthermore, why would the word of Martin’s parents hold any more weight than the word of Zimmerman’s parents? I think parent testimonies are going to end up meaning next to nothing int his case.

    One important thing to consider is whether or not a voice stress test will admissible in this case. I don’t know if these tests are very accurate but my impression is that they are not.

    In order to prove it wasn’t Zimmerman screaming the prosecution needs to use Zimmerman’s story against him. How did Zimmerman make 14(or however many screams there were) loud, uninterrupted screams for help in that short period of time with Martin smashing his head into the pavement, punching him, and smothering his mouth? How did he project his voice like that while controlling Martin’s wrist, reaching across his body into his holster, and aiming his gun? How did he do it when he was sliding his body onto the grass so his head would stop banging against the concrete?

    The human body can do amazing things under a great deal of stress but it can’t do the things Zimmerman described.

    • As per what the jury will believe, it’s not useful to speculate about that.

      I always tailored my defenses to how juries would react to certain witnesses and evidence. It wasn’t speculation. It was a probability analysis based on the experience of trying more than a hundred jury trials.

      That’s what I did for 30 years and I was pretty good at deciding which cases were winnable, why they were winnable, and which cases were losers.

      So let’s agree to disagree and not get caught up in an argument where neither one of us will convince the other;

      After all, we get to the same conclusion; namely, GZ has a tough sell defense for the reasons you mention too.

      Jury selection will be very important in this case, don’t you think?

      • martingale says:

        Your last sentence sums up my point. The success of an emotional appealing from Martin’s mother hinges on who the jurors are.

  20. Elizabeth says:

    The shot came after the scream, I can visualize GZ with the gun in his hand pointed at Trayvon, his words “You Are Going To Die”,
    Trayvon the one who screamed for help, GZ pulls the trigger! Trayvon falls, GZ is hoping to find a weapon, none found, so as I would interpret the demeanor of GZ, as one who got caught in his own trap, absolutely nothing Trayvon had that could be used as a deadly weapon, GZ could only have thoughts of lies, didn’t want to go to ER, of course not, wouldn’t it have to be on a hospitals charts as reporting just what caused the injury to GZ’s head and that injury would have to prove a match to the claim. After his own physician cleaned him up would there have been any particles of Trayvon’s cell phone or that of ground/cement in the wound. Possibly??????

  21. Jun says:

    Zimmerman already stated that it does not sound like him. On top Zimmerman claimed to have kept screaming after the shot, when there was none. It also sounds like a kid screaming for mercy to me, and sounds nothing like Zimmerman. On top, Zimmerman Sr. has claimed he has heard George scream like that and claimed he heard muffles in the screams, so its going to be really easy to prove him a liar and that he is scripted. He repeatedly states “absolutely 100% George” like some cheap used car salesman.

    • I agree the father is pushing too hard and I agree with your conclusion that TM is screaming.

      So much for GZ’s claim of self-defense.

      Wow! What a blunder by GZ to say it didn’t even sound like him.

      Just like when he admitted that he aimed the gun.


  22. Dave says:

    Whatever the “facts” might be, if Trayvon’s mother believes that those screams are her son’s last words and says so to the jury, it’s all over for Zimmerman.

      • ITA that the jury’s empathy will be with the grieving mother of a murdered teenage son. Look at the Casey Anthony trial … I believe the jury was swayed by Cindy Anthony’s tears and testimony as one more ‘chink in the chain’ to reasonable doubt. Even though Cindy’s testimony had elements of ‘misrepresentation of reality’. (jmco – just my cynical opinion).

    • martingale says:

      We don’t know who is going to be serving on the jury and how they will be swayed. I’m not going to pretend Martin’s mothers testimony is going to make much of a difference here.

      • Not saying you’re wrong, but I’ve seen jurors respond to grieving mothers where there isn’t a dry eye in the jury box.

        The loss of a child hits hard and it hurts bad.

        It’s not rational, but it’s real.

        And sometimes the pain is overwhelming.

        Any homicide or death penalty lawyer knows this and never underestimates the effect of a mother’s loss and her tears on a jury.

        They also know that you cannot attack the mother without angering the jury.

        She’s a ticking bomb sitting in the witness chair and if she is a likeable lady like Sybrina Fulton, well, Katie bar the door.

      • martingale says:


        That was kind of my point. We don’t know whether or not a jury is going to swayed by that. It’s not something we should bank on in this case.

  23. jd says:

    Also FYI in regards to the latest discovery materials that were released, the investigator’s evidence map has been released, and myself and others have produced overlays with google maps, google earth, etc to better illustrate what is shown and contrast the evidence with George’s many conflicting statements.

    Here is photo analysis of the total crime scene map, which by the way vindicates my own estimates almost completely, IMO. (I missed the location of the first aid kit by less than ten feet)


    here is another, NOT mine but that confirms what we both independently arrived at

    If you are curious about all the measurements, go to google maps and use the ruler to to estimate distances.

    Here is the one that matter to me – how far GZ claims he “stumbled” the ONE time he seems to recall having done so. 45.5 feet from the cut thru sidewalk to the shell casing.

    Imagine a batter hit by an inside pitch stumbling from home plate to the front of the mound in major league baseball. That’s 45.5 feet.

    Remember, this is the aprox distance GZ claims he stumbled the ONE time he recalls this movement, IMO.

    Here are some of his other statements about how the altercation went from standing to prone.

    first interview 26 FEB part one with Singleton
    “I fell to the ground when he punched me the first time”
    “as soon as he punched me i fell backwards into the grass.”
    “and he punched me in the nose. At that point, I fell down…”

    (more quotes from all the interviews on the flickr page)

    In the video walk thru “reenactment” GZ stops north of where the tan bag was found, for further comparison. That’s less than 60% of the way there, IMO.

    (cross-posted to bcclist and flickr)

    • You mean to say you missed the placement of the First Aid Kit?


      You’re fired!

      Seriously, I am very impressed at the excellent job you’ve done and sending you a virtual bow in your virtual direction.

      Thanks for your great work.

      • jd says:

        You’re welcome. Always happy to trade photo analysis for legal advice.

        Deductive reasoning IMO proves conclusively that GZ lied about his movements from near the clubhouse to the cut thru path area, and he lied about when he left his truck and arrived at RVC as well when he claimed he was there when he told dispatcher “he ran” since he also claims he didn’t run or jog to get there.

        After that point it’s harder for me to say conclusively that he’s lying. His story smells to high heaven but compared to his statements that can be measured against the recoded call, the physical alteration itself is harder to benchmark.

        How does the prosecution gain a conviction here? What will they have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt after establishing GZ has zero credibility regarding how be arrived at the T intersection?

        • Don’t forget that they get to cross examine GZ. If done well, the jury will have concluded that GZ is a liar before the prosecutor crosses him about the confrontation itself.

          The prosecution’s theme for the cross should be that he lied for a reason and the reason was to conceal that he followed, confronted and shot TM.

          The legal argument probably will be that GZ was the aggressor and cannot claim self-defense because he followed, confronted and attempted to restrain TM. TM was standing his ground defending himself striking GZ with his cell phone. GZ’s injuries are not consistent with his claim that TM repeatedly struck him in the face and then repeatedly slammed his head into the concrete sidewalk.

          At least that is what it looks like to me now.

          What do you think?

    • raiikun says:

      On the other hand, when the fight happened, GZ had been punched in the nose, it was dark, and he was probably too busy being in a fight to accurately measure things like how far the fight moved.

      What’s more important IMO, is that George said the fight started by the T, then moved south. W11 says she heard the encounter start north of her house (by the T), then move south. And W6 heard the altercation come from by W11 and move to near his patio.

      I think it’s more likely GZ just didn’t keep track of how far south they moved, rather than think he could actually fool police into thinking the body was farther north than it was.

      • Case#1 says:

        If he is anywhere but on the T heading back to his car, that means he was following TM, which is all a jury needs to understand.

      • princss6 says:

        Yet, GZ describes no defensive actions except for holding TM’s wrist under right arm – impossible – and pulling his gun out and shooting. Once again, he wants us to believe he sat their like a “potted plant” and just let someone “wail on him” and he did no aggressive maneuvering except for reaching for gun after taking a minute long beating at least. Oh I forgot, he was pulling at TM’s hands that were covering his nose and mouth which were bleeding yet there is no DNA to back up THAT claim.

        And pigs fly!

  24. ed nelson says:

    [“Common sense indicates that the man with the gun would not have been screaming for help up until the precise moment that he pulled the trigger ending TM’s life. The terrified scream also is high pitched indicating a young person in fear for his life, rather than an adult male armed with a gun and, of course, GZ’s injuries were relatively minor and unlikely to have provoked him to scream in terror.”]
    Now a portion of the above highlighted, or below, in poor man’s italicizese:

    Can’t have any puntuations in these comments can we… ?? !!

    [ > it> “Common sense indicates that the man with the gun would not have been screaming for help ” < unitalisize… ]

    Good one… well done… well, duh… , To wit: …/ (") I got the heat in my hand, and screaming' for momma! … ?!/ (u"), (inconsistent with common sense because with a gun in your hand, you have extreme power there! , and as it was a loaded gun in the hands of a knowledgeable gun owner, how likely would it be that the macho wannabe law enforcer… (with legacy of some renown,) for vigilance, even though some of the purpose/motivation seems to be in question … ). Would be likely to melt down and become this scream fest of woe? (competing for the… possibility of agglomerating to his side of the case… those on the scene accounts, of that…

    On another level, I can't see TM, screaming too much either, cause if your gonna get shot, you know it's too late. But more likely he did the screaming, than the gunman…

    • Yep. I think you’re right.

      • Dennis says:

        Do you think we will know anything regarding the analysis of the cellphone anytime soon? If there is physical damage to the phone, that would be an obvious sign that Martin used it as a weapon in the act of self defense. If Martin came up out of nowhere and started hitting Zimmerman, it would be illogical to believe that Martin would use his cellphone as a weapon in an aggressor situation. If the CSI team properly secured the evidence, there may even be some of Zimmerman’s DNA on the phone as well. What is your opinion?

      • Two sides to the story says:

        Is the prosecution holding some of their best evidence for the last discovery exchange? It seems hard to believe that SPD would fail to examine the cell-phone closely, since it was part of the physical evidence scatter.

    • Michael Stewart says:

      A struggle for possession of a gun implies that neither individual has full control of that gun. It’s a life or death crap shoot with no guarantees. Not only is it possible that both men were screaming for assistance, it’s probable.

      “how likely would it be that the macho wannabe law enforcer… (with legacy of some renown,) for vigilance, even though some of the purpose/motivation seems to be in question … ). Would be likely to melt down and become this scream fest of woe?”

      The operative word is “wannabe.” It’s been my experience that poseurs are first to wet their pants when faced with a legitimate threat.

      JD, nice work. Would you happen to know the unit location of the witness who picked-up the screams on her 911 call? Specifically, I’m wondering if she was located on east side of the dog walk opposite witness #6, or there about. Thanks.

      • Franklin says:

        Her unit number is 1211 Twin Trees Lane … she is the NW corner unit, from the ‘T’ sidewalk, and John is connected to her. The man who comes out with the flashlight lived directly behind 1211 TTL on Retreat View Circle, in the unit next to him is the 30 year old girl who ALSO caught the gunshot (mostly redacted in the released calls), Mary Cutcher Selma live 1 or 2 units down from the 30 y/o lady. The lady who was taking her dog out I believe lives in between the 30 y/o and Mary/Selma. The AC360 shadow witness lives on the north ‘top’ of the ‘T’.

        NW SE
        1211 TTL | Flashlight Man
        John/Girlfriend | 30 y/o
        | Dog Lady?
        | Mary/Selma
        Austin is somewhere down here w/ his dog


        Hope it helps and formats to where you can understand it.

      • jd says:

        No, IMO the 911 caller who caught the screams and the shot is in the unit just north of “John,” 1211 TTL. Her and her husband are W11 and W20. GZ and TM would have walked past her north windows and then possibly struggled past her patio windows. I say possibly because the northern most item of TM’s is the tan bag, 30 feet south of the T. I can’t place him definitively at the T, ever. I think he likely cut the corner in the grass to round the bend into the dog area, and I have no proof he ever closed a gap to confront GZ. Instead I thing GZ used his keychain flashlight to spot TM where we know he was – around John’s backyard. The rest is speculation.

        here are someone else’s notes on this, not all of which I agree with but the witness locations seems right:

      • Michael Stewart says:

        1211 Twin Trees Lane, thank you gentlemen.

        In partial agreement with jd, it’s conceivable that TM rounded the NE corner of 1211 TTL on the footpath, and semi-secreted himself behind witness John’s patio partition; he wants to know if GZ is determined to continue his pursuit, on foot. Who is this guy? What is he up to? What level of threat does he represent? And I doubt that Martin would remain in the open where he could be traced back to his father’s residence, also placing his brother in jeopardy.

        I acknowledge the theory which has Zimmerman abandoning his keychain/flashlight in favor of his firearm and advancing south on the dog walk with his gun in hand, but in practice, he’d be consciously abandoning his truck key and presumably his house keys in the process. The flashlight attached to his keychain was a scant 6″ long and he had two pockets in his jacket that could easily accommodate it. Besides, if he was brandishing his weapon when the initial contact was made, it’s doubtful that Martin would launch a physical attack at gun point. Most people would comply.

        Then we have the issue of Zimmerman’s second flashlight; the black tactical flashlight that was found with the cluster of evidence at the location of the Martin’s death. After dropping, or abandoning his keychain/flashlight, somehow Zimmerman arrived at the ground fight with this tactical flashlight, and his gun.

        Aside from my sincere conviction that GZ bears criminal responsibility for the death of Trayvon Martin, I still haven’t succeeded in piecing together a narrative that I’m totally comfortable with. My thesis remains as fluid as the events on the night in question.

  25. Michael Stewart says:

    I hear two males in distress. The high pitched shrieks I associate with Martin, and the more subdued ‘hollers’ would be Zimmerman. I think this behavior is consistent with the nature of the struggle; a desperate battle for control of Zimmerman’s hand gun at point blank range.

    A high pitched shriek for help followed by a lower intensity plea is best illustrated at the 40sec marker.


    • raiikun says:

      To me those two shrieks sound like the same person; my assumption was that the lower intensity one was probably when Trayvon was putting his hands over his mouth.

      I’m still convinced that the screaming was George. Most of the people who thought it was a boy did so because of the pitch of the voice, and George has a high pitched, timid sounding voice. (I suffer from the same thing…I’m 37 years old and people still joke with me that I’ll “hit puberty someday”).

      On top of that, you can hear Trayvon’s voice in one of the 7-11 videos, and it’s noticeably deeper than George’s.

      Sybrina Fulton IIRC has said she has one remaining recording of Trayvon, but seems unwilling to submit it for examination, saying something to the effect that she couldn’t bear to hear his voice again. (She seemed awful calm at the bond hearing when they played the 911 screams though, George showed more emotion than she did). It makes me wonder if she knows that testing for Trayvon’s voice could exclude Travyon from being the one screaming.

      • princss6 says:

        Sybrina said she called his voice mail to listen to his voice. Second, they played the 911 tape multiple times. She left the courtroom the first time they played it. You know who was incredibly calm when listening to those tapes? George Zimmerman a few days after the shooting in the police station. He even says, “that doesn’t sound like me!” I bet.

        Awfully calm is a subjective label. You have no idea what was going through his mother’s mind and she has shown time and time again even through this her class, demeanor and ability to remain calm through all types of trying shenanigans.

  26. crazy1946 says:

    Professor Leatherman,
    Upon reading the motion, I did notice that there was no mention of the passport which Zimmerman intentionally withheld from the court. I have stated before that the possible intent of MOM was to taint the jury pool to the extent that it would be impossible to hold a fair trial, this motion plays upon that intent. Now with that in mind what do you think the chances of a new judge being appointed happening? Could this also be an attempt to beat the contempt charges? Is there a chance that MOM will control the case in the media to the extent that eventually there will be no trial, or the case will be dismissed? If the murder case is dismissed does that mean the contempt charges can no longer be filed? If this motion is sucessful does that mean in the future all a murder suspect needs to do in Florida is pollute the case using the media to beat the charges?

    • princss6 says:

      I just had a thought based on your comment…I don’t know what MOM is thinking other than looking at the bottom line and trying to raise money. Here is why: First of all, the second bond hearing was brought on by the defense. He literally begged the judge to call his client a liar by opening up that can of worms. Second, he is on record saying his client lied. Finally, this just give the prosecution another chance to dig into his client but asserting again that he lied.

      Honestly, I’m so far not impressed at all with any of MOM’s maneuvers. He is turning this into a circus which reeks of desperation.

  27. ajamazin says:

    UPDATE: The defense has filed a Motion to Disqualify Judge Lester.

    Although the Order Setting Bail played well with many who believe
    Zimmerman to be manipulative and deceptive, Judge Lester’s thoughts on Zimmerman were unnecessary and did the prosecution no favor.

    In fact, I suggest that Lester was well aware that his statements
    were corrosive.

    Meanwhile, O’Mara is given yet another opportunity to hold another ‘mini’ trial.

    And Corey said what?

    • Two sides to the story says:

      Or is it high drama? Or a baby step toward an SYG hearing? If driven by Zimmerman, is it more folly?

      • Well, I don’t know about Florida, but I’ve never heard of a motion to disqualify a judge succeeding and it just infuriates the judge it’s filed against.

        And it’s not like anything Judge Lester said was not credibly supported by the evidence.

        Good grief!

        What the Hell are they thinking?

      • Case#1 says:

        Jeralyn at Talk Left seems to claim that the standard favors the defense:

        “Put yourself in Zimmerman’s shoes: The issue is how he feels, and whether his feelings are reasonable. Would you, if you were George Zimmerman, fear not getting a fair trial before Judge Lester?’


        However, she’s from my quick search of the standard seems to be misquoting and misuing the law. Its not a subject standard. The test for dismissal is an objective test, and pretty much leans heavily towards the judge.

        “What Are “Legally Sufficient” Motions?
        Even assuming that a disqualification motion meets the procedural requirements set forth in Fla. R. Jud. Admin. 2.160 and F.S. §38.10, it nevertheless must be denied if not “legally sufficient.”11 Conversely, if the motion is legally sufficient, it must be granted immediately.12 The test for determining the legal sufficiency of a motion for disqualification is an objective one which asks whether the facts alleged in the motion would place a reasonably prudent person in fear of not receiving a fair and impartial trial.13 The disqualification motion must contain an “actual factual foundation” for the alleged fear of prejudice.14 Although the term “legally sufficient” is fluid in nature, a review of the case law considering the legal sufficiency of disqualification motions reveals certain recurring principles that counsel should keep in mind when drafting a motion to disqualify a trial judge.

        A party’s complaint about the trial court’s rulings as a basis for disqualification has consistently been held to be insufficient to require the judge’s recusal.15 In this regard it is established that a judge may not be disqualified for judicial bias, but rather only for personal bias against a party or his or her case.16 Thus, for example, disqualification has been held to be inappropriate when its basis has been the trial judge’s recession of previously entered orders granting the moving party assistance and the denial of interim attorneys’ fees to the party.17 Additionally, a trial judge’s innocuous inquiry during voir dire concerning a prospective juror’s availability to serve on the venire was held not to demonstrate prejudice warranting recusal.18 In another case, a judge’s statement at a bond reduction hearing that he did not care whether the defendant got out of jail or not was held to be legally insufficient to show that the judge was prejudiced, either against the defendant or in favor of the state.19 On the other hand, cases reflecting a personal bias mandating disqualification have included situations when the trial judge provided a cross-examination tip to the prosecutor;20 when the trial judge made comments that he would be uncomfortable making credibility determinations regarding certain members of one party’s family, even though it did not appear that the outcome of the proceedings rested upon the credibility of any of the persons involved;21 when one of the parties or his or her counsel had dealings with a relative of the court;22 or when a judge told others that he would kill the defendant if the defendant had done to the judge’s daughter what he had done to the victim.23 In short, it appears that either a trial judge’s demonstration of ill will or, conversely, favoritism toward one of the parties to an action is needed to disqualify the judge.

        A related principle mitigating against disqualification is that a judge is not required to abstain from forming mental impressions and opinions during the course of judicial proceedings. For instance, in Mobil v. Trask, 463 So. 2d 389 (Fla. 1st DCA 1985), a deputy commissioner’s remark to an employer/carrier’s attorney at a workers’ compensation hearing that “I don’t see how you can’t find this accident compensable,” which comment related directly to the merits of the petitioner’s case, was nonetheless held to be insufficient to justify the granting of a recusal motion.”


        That last paragraph is critical because it seems to form the heart of the defense’s position: That the Judge is biased because he stated his opinions. The problem is that the judge nevertheless ruled in a way that was favorable to the defense based on the laws despite his personal opinion. In short, it seems that its not required that the judge become a complete idiot such that he’s supposed to pretend not to realize that a defendant or party was trying to trick him. Its only sufficient that his ruling does not reflect that. i think that’s a hard standard for the defense to beat.

        In short, I agree. They are pissing off the judge who is likely to decided the SYG. But I think that’s the point. To try the case in the court of public opinion so that folks like Jeralyn can claim “he didn’t have a fair trial” despite their misuse of the standard of law.

        I should say that I am not a lawyer in the state of Florida. I merely make these observations based on what the State Bar seems to be saying. That the defense here is no making a legally sufficient argument.

        Finally, can I just say that part of the problem with this case is that the public does not seem to understand the law, and that some who should know better like Jeralyn do not seem interested in accurately reflecting what the law says.

        I think the defense is going to have a hard time with this approach, but she’s pretending its a great motions.

        • I agree with your analysis. Nice work.

          I never practiced law in Florida but forum shopping is frowned on everywhere, so I would expect defendants in criminal cases would have an uphill battle to win one of these motions. If the test were subjective, defendants could bounce all the judges in Florida by mowing them down one at a time with motions to recuse.

          That ain’t going to happen.

      • mentlegen says:

        Long time reader w/ regards to this case, first time commenter. This is directed to Mr. Leatherman:
        “And it’s not like anything Judge Lester said was not credibly supported by the evidence.”
        There are a number of problems I have with this statement. The judge claimed that Zimmerman was thwarted by the ankle bracelet from running away even though days later he told Mr. O’mara about the money and the defense requested the ankle bracelet. Lester is giving personal opinions not just about this fact but many others. The judge factually misrepresents the nature of the money used to secure bail. The judge is inviting perjury charges and holding the threat of contempt over Zimmerman’s head. While I understand that many agree that Zimmerman has “flaunted [sic] the system”, and they certainly have a right to have that opinion, the judge made many sweeping attacks on Zimmerman’s character in his order. If you were in Zimmerman’s shoes, would you reasonably fear getting a fair trial after reading his ruling? Because that is the standard here.

      • Case#1 says:

        Here’s a portion of the Fl state bar’s article that rebuts the defense’s motion:

        “The above notwithstanding, it has been held that a judge’s expression of dissatisfaction with counsel or counsel’s client’s behavior alone does not give rise to a reasonable belief that the trial judge is biased so as to warrant recusal. For example, in Oates v. State, 619 So. 2d 23 (Fla. 4th DCA 1993), the trial judge held an obstreperous criminal defendant in contempt. ”

        This motion seems meritless and is playing to the cameras.

        I have to ask how OMara is helping his client based on the case law?

        Are they basing their objection solely on the the thin reed that the judge believes the evidence is strong? That seems like weak tea to me as far as the laws as written.

      • Case#1 says:

        BY the way, the problem of course is that those not aware of the legal standard will take a phrase as mentlegen is doing above, and not understanding that there’s case law related to the issue that specifically gives us a clear picture of how that phrase is applied. I see this with my clients all the time. they think they know what something means because that’s what they believe. That’s why its up to the lawyers writing about this case to accurately reflect what the case law rather than just the phrase says.

        For the record, mentlegen, despite what Jeralyn tells you, if you follow the link to the state bar of Fl you will see that the law does not require the judge to act in the way you describe. In fact, the law says the exact opposite.

        This reminds me of talking to people about the SYG standard. Many wrongly think that its a subject test of “how the defendant feels” rather than an objective test (which is confirmed by reviewing FL state law) that asks what a reasonable person would do and whether the fear of imminent bodily harm or death is reasonable. Fl does not even have a partial self defense or SYG standard. Meaning, the state does note even a allow a partial mitigation for a lower included offense based on a claim the defendent subjectively believed he was in danger for his life. That view was under Fl case law considered and rejected after SYG came into effect. Yet the view that its subject persists.

        I will never say never. But I would be surprised if this defendant doesn’t get at lest manslaugher and I think a lot of supporters are going to be shocked if the judge is not required to recuse himself. Not saying eh won’t due to the politics. But on the law, he certainly does not have to do so.

        • Agreed.

          For the reasons you’ve expressed, I don’t think filing this motion was a smart move by the defense.

          It invites the judge to retaliate and there are so many ways that a judge can do that without creating reversible error that it’s reckless to try this strategy, unless you’re desperate and think you have no other choice but to goad and provoke the judge to lose his temper and commit reversible error.

          I wouldn’t have filed it.

          Hell, they won the motion to set bail despite the findings in his order, which were supported by the evidence. What’s the point? Are they trying to intimidate him?

          If so, that is extremely reckless and dangerous.

      • mentlegen says:

        We agree on the law. Sorry for the rhetoric (I didn’t mean to say the test was subjective, rather that a reasonable person who read that ruling in ZImmerman’s situation would feel s/he cannot get a fair trial). I think that O’Mara has a good case that an objective person would see that the judge is biased in regards to his comments. Note you don’t have a response to the material inaccuracies of the judge’s ruling as well as the fact that the judge is issuing opinions not corroborated by evidence (the fact that Zimmerman is a flight risk is a very tendentious and speculative fear which is pretty indefensible considering the judge seemed to buy the explanation about the missing passport). I am not saying that the judge would agree to recuse, I don’t think he will. But I think O’mara is better to play hardball than to bend over backwards apologizing to a judge who not going to be friendly to Zimmerman. The State so far has no evidence that Zimmerman confronted, detained, or approached Trayvon in a threatening manner. This is not murder 2, and O’Mara needs to start going on the offensive, the facts are on his side. Saying Zimmerman isn’t a liar is not evidence for a conviction.

        To focus on a topic that is a bit more germane, it to me seems like a hard sell that Trayvon was screaming. IIRC the only really scientific test that they could do on George would involve him actually screaming. Clearly this is hard to replicate. But just circumstantially, it seems unlikely that Trayvon would be screaming for a prolonged period of time. If Zimmerman was detaining Trayvon with a gun honestly he wouldn’t be screaming, he would be doing what ZImmerman says most likely. It seems very likely to attack someone who is holding you at gunpoint. If Zimmerman was on top of Trayvon with a gun, chances are he wouldn’t let him scream for 40 or so seconds. If there really was a struggle over the gun, then wouldn’t Zimmermans’s arms be bruised. Wouldn’t there be Trayvon’s fingerprints on the gun? Also, I don’t think Mrs. Fulton’s statment would have much of an impact. She claimed that the shooting was “an accident” . Tracy Martin initially said the voice wasn’t Trayvon’s. Their testimony will have as much of an impact as George’s father- that is to say, not much at all. They are not objective parties.

      • Case#1 says:


        I am only going to say this one more time, and then I am going to leave it alone: Look at the case law.

        You say I don’t look at the stuff you are posting. Guess what. That’s because I looked at the case law to see whether similar cases have been favorable to parties like GZ and his lawyer.

        The answer is no.

        You can keep going over the fact as you want to believe them all you want. Its really not relevant to me how you choose to spin the fact. Part of this by the way is understanding what objective means. Its not enough repeat what the defense team is spouting. You got to think about whether their arguments when matched against the case law is sufficient

        I am not going to convince you because like many you had a conclusion first and looking to what the law says second. trust me: I deal with t his every day with my clients. Dealing with it right now where they want to believe what they want to believe so every piece of info becomes “evidence’ they are right despite the difficulty of what the legal standard is as far as what they are seeking to accomplish.

        Most of the stuff you are discussing by the way- on a second read- has nothing to do with the motion. Again, I don’t expect ot convince you. Like most, you got to learn by seeing. Its a hard lesson I have learned with my own clients. I give the best advice I can give, but they are determined to believe what they want rather than understand what things like “objective test” means when its applied to case law.

        Here that means the defense has a huge burden to overcome. The things you are listening are not going to help them overcome it. It doesn’t matter what he believed personally. It mattrers whether just to give you a quick way the prosecution will address this ” a reasonable person would conclude after he has just won a motion” that a judge is not going to be able to rule based on the law even if the judge showed he was pissed off. If the defense wanted to have half a shot they needed to show that the judges opinion has objectively influenced his rulings. The best you can come up with is repeating that he has opinions. My response is that’s not what the standard requires to be legally sufficient.

      • PYorck says:

        “Or a baby step toward an SYG hearing? ”

        I think is exactly the opposite. If Lester refuses then O’Mara has a rock-solid excuse for not seeking a SYG hearing.

      • Two sides to the story says:

        Mr. Leatherman, your latest observation makes sense. Judge Lester would want the defense to display their full frontal assault at an SYG hearing – this allows him to fairly send the case to trial, where it should be.

      • Case#1 says:

        I think this case is one that a jury should hear. I don’t think the defense can prove a preponderance at this point considering their case rests on Zimmerman’s story of the events of that night. I think that the pro-Zimmerman people have hard to time understanding that no one is required to accept his story as true just because he has cuts from that night and an alleged broken nose. That is not the standard for self defense or SYG. He may or may not be able to win with a jury based on beyond a reasonable doubt, but anyone arguing that he meets the preponderance standard really is not advocating based on the law. There are just too many things that rebut his story as being what happened that night. To buy his story, for example, we would have to believe that he did not pursue TM, and that’s rebut by the physical evidence alone. Whether thats enough to convict of murder 2- i can’t say for certain. I certainly lean that way given the defendant’s problems with telling the truth, but the rules of evidence and other issues may mean that the facts I am taking into consideration may or may not be seen by the jury. That has nothing to do with the SYG hearing. That is something I also believe Zimmmerman will lose.

        • I think the rules of evidence work to his disadvantage because he cannot get his story into evidence without testifying.

          His statements to the police are inadmissible hearsay, if offered to prove the truth of the matters asserted, which is the only reason they would be offered.

          So, he has to testify and then his statements can be used to impeach his credibility, if he varies from what he told the police, which he no doubt will.

          “Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that you were telling the truth when you said . . .”

          He’s a cross examiner’s wet dream.

      • Case#1 says:

        The pro-Zimmerman supporters would rebut your argument that he has to testify to put on a case of self defense.

        They argue that he can put on a case without it with eye witness testimony, inferences from his injuries, etc. They base this on the low standard under Florida law for what minimum evidence is needed to assert a self defense argument.

        Essentially, they claim that this argument can arise from any evidence put on by the prosecution. To me, this argument assumes that the prosecution is too stupid to realize what evidence to include and not include in their case against Zimmmerman and does not properly weigh how eye witness testimony does not really help Zimmerman (or hurt him).

        But, that’s the thin reed upon which they argue he does not have to testify. Their view of self defense and SYG itself seems strange. They seem to view self defense as prosecution points on a strong case proving guilt, and reasonable doubt will materialize somehow by people seeing the story the way Zimmerman did without Zimmerman testifying. They deny that there is any other possible view of the evidence or logical inference, and that one need not accept their view of the evidence as valid especially considering the physical evidence contradicts the self defense argument.

        What is the defense going to do for example under their argument of using just the prosecution’s evidence when the prosection only puts on evidence showing that the body was not on the T heading back to Zimmerman’s vechicle? If there is no evidence presented by the defense how do they rebut the arguments that would logically be inferred from the location of the body without Zimmerman?

        No one has apparently thought this through beyond just repeating Zimmerman’s story and interpreting without evidence beyond his statements. As you have said, those statements create a problem for Zimmmerman. However, Rodney King did happen. A jury can choose to believe a story however outlandish and have reasonable doubt because reasonable doubt is such a high standard.

        I agree with you that he must testify. I don’t see how Zimmerman gets to argue self defense or SYG without testifying. I am just clear that a jury need not settle on the facts of the case that you or I find legally relevant.

        • I’m aware of the low evidentiary threshold, but I honestly do not see any way the defense can avoid putting GZ on the stand.

          For example, even the photo of the back of GZ’s head taken at the scene by a neighbor only a couple of minutes after the shooting shows the blood running from the back of his head toward his ears indicating that his head was upright and tilted forward while he was bleeding. That is inconsistent with his claim that he was on the bottom having his head slammed against concrete. There also are no abrasions or bruising, again inconsistent with head being slammed against concrete.

          None of the eyewitnesses really saw anything except a struggle and cannot say much more than that.

          And there’s the girlfriend talking to TM on the phone with his statements admissible as present sense impressions and statements under the influence of the event being described.

          None of the evidence indicates self-defense except his own testimony.

          I don’t see him getting a jury instruction on self-defense if he doesn’t testify.

          • raiikun says:

            “As one of your writer/contributors noted, the flow of blood, before it coagulated, ran in a FORWARD position on GZ’s head, toward the ear This is CONSISTENT with gravity flow with GZ straddling TM from ABOVE and leaning FORWARD – either gun in hand or attempting to smother TM’s cries.”

            That blood flow is also consistent with his head being held down to the left as the blood flowed while his head was hitting cement, which matches the swelling that Singleton mentioned had gone way down on that side of his head in the reenactment.

          • The blood flows toward both ears, not one.

            Also, the 2 little lacerations to the back of his head are not consistent with his head having been repeatedly banged against concrete because there are no abrasions and bruising to the back of his head.

            The 2 cuts and the bump to the bridge of his nose are consistent with having been struck defensively with a cell phone.

          • raiikun says:

            And both sides of George’s head had bruising and swelling from the contact with the cement.

          • Nope, not consistent with the amount of slamming that he described.

            Not even close.

      • Case#1 says:

        Prof. Leatherman,

        I agree with what you are saying. The physical evidence right now, unless I am missing something, does not back up what the defendant is saying. in fact, if you are right if the blood flood to two ears and as you describe it tells a decidedly different story. As does the angle of the gun shot. I am not questioning that.

        I am pointing out that a jury can still believe the improbable even if its improbable just like they did in the Rodney King case.

        This is the real reed on which most of the defense of Zimmerman stands right now anyhow.

        A serious improbable stories – each one taken alone should raise serious doubts about the defendant’s story- and together should give rise to beyond a reasonable doubt because together it adds up to how likely is each improbable event to have occurred together with all the other improbable events.

        But juries are not always that logical. Race does matter, and it only needs to matter here just enough to raise doubt. My proof of this is the level to which people are willing to defend elements of his clearly improbable story as true even now.

        Do I think he should be convicted, and is there enough evidence to possibly convicted him? I weigh towards the side of conviction given what i know of the case. The blood pattern on his head, the bruising on his head, the location of the body, the lack of blood from the defendant on his body, the angle of the gun shot, and on and on. to buy the defendant’s story requires at each instances along the list that i just wrote that one believes the improbable happened against the odds. Anyone of which may be a reasonable inference within a wider narrative as far as reasonable doubt, but together would seem to defeat it.

        However, I am not so convinced juries are reasonable. This is why I think the prosecution may accept manslaughter. I clearly believe the defense, however, can not make their case given the improbabilities of the defendant’s narrative without the defendant stating that narrative. The physical evidence builds a very different story than self defense. It also defeats any claim of SYG that may occur based on the defendant’s own credibility issues. May be some judge would have believed the improbable story before the bad faith acts, but I don’t see them buying it after since everything hinges on believing the defendant, which, despite what pro-Zimmerman people claim- no one is required to do.

        Their entire argument- including Jeralyn over at Talk Left- relies on believing the defendant’s version of events. They will argue that one can avoid that because other interpretations are possible (even without the testimony), but they never answer are they probable and are this many improbabilities happening together a real reasonable doubt? So, I agree he needs to testify. That doesn’t stop a jury from ignoring the evidence if they want to do so.

        I suppose you have more faith in a jury than I do.

        I am not a criminal defense lawyer. Your faith may be more justified than my cynicism.

        • masonblue says:

          Well, I ain’t guaranteeing a conviction by any means and jury selection may well turn out to be the most important part of the trial, but I do not see any evidence that GZ acted in self-defense except his story, which is full of holes.

          His injuries, such as they are, are more consistent with injuries inflicted by TM while standing his ground in self-defense.

          But like you say, you never know for certain with a jury until you hear the verdict announced.

          I’ve won cases I thought I’d lost and lost cases I thought I’d won.

          I’ve also never tried a case in Florida.

      • CommonSenseForChange says:

        @Case #1 –

        “In this regard it is established that a judge may not be disqualified for judicial bias, but rather only for personal bias against a party or his or her case.”

        Do you think Lester tried to make it clear at the bond hearing and in his order that O’Mara’s goofy attempt to turn the “potted palm’s” behavior into some sort of personal affront to Lester rather the an affront to the court?

      • Case#1 says:

        Common sense

        I don’t really know.

        What I am trying to establish here is that is that the defense has a problem. they are essentially arguing judicial bias , but the ruling of Judge Lester, despite his opinion of the defendant, was favorable to the defendant. The best the defendant can claim is that he found the conditions of his release arduous, but factually that’s a tough sell- he posted the next day as I remember.

        These to points to me would be the basis of a legal sufficiency standard that’s objective as far as this case. Not whether a judge is not supposed to form opinions about a defendant who has acted in bad faith or about the evidence, but whether he can rule based on the law. What is the defendant’s basis for saying that the judge here isn’t ruling based on the law?

        Most of what I have read amounts to “he’s hack because I don’t agree with Zimmerman being prosecuted at all so anyone involved is wrong!” rather than any real claim of judicial bias. The key element is that this test seems to be an objective one.

    • I think Judge Lester needs to write another order, that makes it clear to O’Mara, that he will not allow this case to be tried in motions court. I was astounded that the second bond hearing was allowed to become a mini-trial. Judge Lester has considerably more patience than I would have! And then to have them file this nonsense because he saw through their silliness must really get under his robe! If you don’t want the judge to think you are a liar, don’t lie!

      • Judge Lester doesn’t have to do that. He can control what happens in his courtroom. He just has to it and he can use his power to hold people in contempt, if they do not comply.

        Of course, he has to act within the law, but I don’t think that’s going to be a problem for him.

  28. jd says:

    Others can probably comment better, but GZ did give a voice sample and that recording is already in the public domain.

    The 911 call recording however according to FBI is not of a high enough quality..

    I think whomever is screaming, the fact that the FBI says it’s a wash will allow the prosecution to assert freely that it is TM and the jury will make up their minds. But it could be George, IMO, and the defense can push that opinion too.

    I think in the end it will be an inconclusive point for the defense but might be the lynchpin for the prosecution if a jury believes the mother, who will likely have to take the stand dramatically and assert it’s her unarmed son.

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