Sunday, March 3, 2013
Greetings to everyone.
I write today to present a simple theory of the case that illustrates the KISS rule.
The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed murder in the second degree when he killed Trayvon Martin. That is, that shooting Trayvon was “an act imminently dangerous to another and demonstrating a depraved mind without regard for human life.” See 782.04(2), Fla.Stat.
The jury will be provided with these definitions to apply in deciding whether the prosecution satisfied its burden of proof:
An “act” includes a series of related actions arising from and performed pursuant to a single design or purpose.
An act is “imminently dangerous to another and demonstrating a depraved mind” if it is an act or series of acts that:
1. a person of ordinary judgment would know is reasonably certain to kill or do serious bodily injury to another, and
2. is done from ill will, hatred, spite, or an evil intent, and
3. is of such a nature that the act itself indicates an indifference to human life.
In order to convict of Second Degree Murder, it is not necessary for the State to prove the defendant had an intent to cause death.
Notice that the prosecution is not required to prove that the defendant intended to kill Trayvon or that he violated any law by following him.
Notice too that, given this set of definitions, the killing would constitute an act “imminently dangerous to another and evincing a depraved mind regardless of human life,” if the jury finds that the prosecution proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self-defense.
For the following reasons, I believe that the evidence will establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was the aggressor.
We can tell from the NEN recording that he got out of his vehicle to follow Trayvon because he admitted that he did.
He also agreed not to follow him when the dispatcher told him “We don’t need you to do that.”
We know that he lost Trayvon because he admitted that he did not know where he was after he said, “He ran.”
We know that he was frustrated and feared Trayvon would escape because he said, “fucking coons” (or punks, if you prefer) and “these assholes, they always get away.”
We know that he disregarded the dispatcher’s admonition to not follow Trayvon because he asked the dispatcher to tell the officer en route to call him on his cell phone after he arrived in the neighborhood, instead of agreeing to meet him at a specific location, such as the clubhouse or his parked vehicle.
We know he lied to the police when he said Trayvon emerged from behind some bushes and jumped him at the T-intersection of the sidewalks as he was walking back to his parked vehicle because there are no bushes there. Also, Trayvon’s body and the spent shell casing ejected from his KelTec 9 semiautomatic were found 40 feet south of the T-intersection, which is inconsistent with his claim that the shooting occurred where he was knocked to the ground.
There are many other problems with the defendant’s statements that we have identified and discussed ad nauseum. Suffice to say that the evidence I have mentioned here is sufficient to establish that the defendant followed Trayvon in his vehicle, lost him when Trayvon ran out of sight behind a row of townhouses, got out of his vehicle, ran after him with the intent of finding him and preventing his escape, and subsequently lied to police when he denied following him insisting instead that Trayvon jumped him at the T-intersection as he was walking back to his vehicle.
Since he was hunting with the intent of preventing this particular “fucking coon” (or fucking punk, if you prefer) and this particular “asshole” from getting away and lied about that to the police, I do not believe the jury will have any difficulty concluding that he killed Trayvon during an attempt to prevent him from getting away.
However, the defendant had no legal cause to touch, much less physically restrain Trayvon.
Trayvon, on the other hand, had the legal right to use reasonable force to resist the defendant’s use of force to restrain him.
Nevertheless, I do not believe Trayvon attempted to hit the defendant or slam his head against a cement sidewalk because no trace of the defendant’s blood or DNA was found on his fingernail clippings or on the lower sleeves of the two sweatshirts he was wearing. Even if he did, however, the injuries were minor and required no stitches and the defendant declined several offers by EMTs and police to take him to the ER for a check-up.
Those minor injuries were insufficient to create a reasonable fear in the defendant’s mind that he was in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury. This conclusion is amply supported by his vital signs, which were all normal a mere 15 minutes after the shooting.
If I were the judge deciding this case instead of a jury, I would enter the following Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law based on the evidence I have discussed.
FINDINGS OF FACT
1. the defendant created the situation that ended with Trayvon’s death;
2. the defendant never told Trayvon who he was or that he was a neighborhood watch person, despite at least two opportunities to do so as noted by Investigator Chris Serino in his capias request;
3. Trayvon was a guest staying at Brandi Green’s residence and had a right to be where he was at all times relevant to this tragedy;
4. the defendant believed Trayvon was “up to no good” even though Trayvon was not engaged in any suspicious activity;
5. The defendant followed Trayvon first in his vehicle and then on foot with the intent of preventing him from escaping from the neighborhood as other “fucking coons” (or fucking punks, if you prefer) and “assholes” had done in the past.
6. The defendant was the aggressor and had no legal basis or reason to touch, much less use any force against Trayvon to restrain or detain him for any purpose;
7. Trayvon would have been justified in using reasonably necessary force to stand his ground and prevent the use of force against him, including using deadly force since deadly force was used against him.
8. There is no credible evidence that Trayvon ever struck or injured the defendant, but if he did, his use of force was lawful and justified in self-defense.
9. The defendant’s injuries were minor and he was never in imminent danger of death or suffering serious injury.
CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
1. The defendant was the aggressor at all times relevant to this confrontation and his use of force was unlawful.
2. The defendant’s aggressive course of conduct and his use of deadly force by shooting Trayvon Martin in the heart without lawful justification was an act “imminently dangerous to another and evincing a depraved mind regardless of human life.”
3. The defendant committed the crime of Murder in the Second degree.
In conclusion, I want everyone to realize that arguments regarding whether the dispatcher had the authority to order the defendant to not follow Trayvon, or whether the defendant violated any law by following Trayvon, are irrelevant.
The relevant issues are what did the defendant do and what did he intend to do when he did it. For example, it does not matter whether the dispatcher had the legal authority to order him to not follow Trayvon. What matters is that he agreed not to follow Trayvon while he was running after him, he kept on hunting for him until he found him, and then he lied about it to the police because he wanted them to believe he had complied with the dispatcher’s request.
Do not fail to see the forest for the trees.
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