Thursday, July 4, 2013
Happy Independence Day to everyone!
I write today to allay concerns regarding the sufficiency of the State’s case.
First, we know they are going to call the Dr. Bao, the Assistant Medical Examiner who did the autopsy. I think we can reasonably expect that he will tie up any remaining loose ends regarding Trayvon’s death. Expect graphic and gruesome photographs that will firmly ground this case in the reality of a death that did not need to happen.
Second, the prosecution always ends its case-in-chief with what we call a wind-up or summary witness who ties everything together with the aid of charts, graphs and timelines that bring the evidence into focus. I am anticipating that FDLE Detective Gilbreath will be the witness and Bernie de la Rionda will ask the questions that steers him through the maze and haze.
Third, I am expecting the State will call Sybrina Fulton and she will identify her son as the person who uttered the terrified death shriek.
I believe the State will use most of tomorrow to finish up its case.
After the State rests, the defense will move to dismiss the murder charge and enter a judgment of acquittal on the ground that the State failed to present a prima facie case.
The test sJudge Nelson will apply in deciding that motion requires her to assume for the purpose of deciding the motion that all of the evidence introduced during the State’s case-in-chief and all reasonable assumptions that can be drawn from that evidence are true. Given those assumptions, she must decide if a rational trier of fact (i.e., a juror) could find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of murder in the second degree.
Expect Judge Nelson to deny the defense motion.
After she denies that motion, the defense will have to decide whether to present any evidence. I believe sufficient evidence of self-defense has come in through the defendant’s statements to support instructing the jury on self-defense. Therefore, the defendant will not have to testify to get that instruction and the defense could rest without calling any witnesses.
Will the defendant testify?
As I commented last night,
The combination of the SPD photographs that show no significant injuries to the defendant’s face and head and the absence of any of the defendant’s blood and DNA on Trayvon Martin’s fingernails and his hoodie sweatshirt, particularly the sleeves and cuffs, put the lie to the defendant’s story.
Trayvon Martin did not hit the defendant repeatedly or slam his head against a cement sidewalk because, if he had done so, he would have been covered with the defendant’s blood and DNA.
Therefore, the defendant was never reasonably in fear of death or serious bodily injury.
Trayvon Martin’s fingernails and sleeves would have been drenched in blood, if the defendant’s story were true. The argument that the rain washed away the defendant’s DNA, and/or the packaging of the damp hoodie in a plastic biohazard bag degraded all of the defendant’s DNA is specious because Trayvon’s blood and DNA were detected.
There is no question that the defendant followed Trayvon Martin first in his vehicle and then on foot with the intent of preventing this “asshole from getting away.”
There is no question that Trayvon Martin attempted to run away from the defendant.
There is no question that the defendant had two opportunities to identify himself but decided not to do so.
There is no question that the defendant ignored the dispatcher’s warning to cease from following Trayvon Martin when he told the dispatcher to have the officer en route call him for a location and he subsequently pursued Trayvon Martin into the grassy area behind the townhomes south of the T intersection.
Given his unambiguously expressed intent to prevent Trayvon Martin from getting away, there is no doubt that he confronted him when he found him.
The defendant’s hostile pursuit makes him the aggressor and he cannot legitimately claim that he acted in self-defense, unless Trayvon Martin resisted his effort to detain him with deadly force and he could not withdraw from the encounter.
The defense claim that Trayvon Martin was “armed” with a cement sidewalk is controverted by Dr. Rao’s testimony and the DNA evidence.
I think the jury will likely find the defendant guilty, if he does not testify.
Yet, I cannot imagine how he can talk himself out of the mess he has created.
He has the right to decide whether to testify.
We will have to wait and see what he decides to do.
I am not expecting the defense to present any other evidence, with the possible exception of calling a family member(s) to identify the defendant as the person who uttered the terrified death shriek.
I suspect the jury will not believe them since the defendant was never in any danger and the shriek abruptly ends with the gunshot that silenced Trayvon Martin forever.
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