Prosecution delivers in seventh day of trial in Zimmerman case

July 2, 2013

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Good afternoon:

This was a strong day for the prosecution.

Today’s session began with Judge Nelson instructing the jury to disregard Investigator Chris Serino’s testimony that he believed the defendant told the truth. Judge Nelson had ruled in limine before the trial began that police officers cannot express their personal opinions as to the defendant’s guilt or innocence or whether he told the truth. Defense attorney Mark O’Mara violated that order when he asked Serino if he believed the defendant. Therefore, Judge Nelson properly ordered the jury to disregard Serino’s answer.

If the shoe had been on the other foot and a prosecutor had asked the lead investigator if he believed the defendant when he denied guilt and the answer was “No,” a mistrial would have been declared and the jury would have been sent home. If the error were deemed deliberate (i.e., provoked) because the trial was not going well, the Double Jeopardy Clause would prevent a retrial

Although not much was said about what happened, it was a very serious error and an extremely sleazy move by O’Mara.

In any event, Serino was defending how he handled the case before it was taken away from him. He had formed his opinion based on eye and ear witness testimony, the defendant’s statements, and his recorded NEN call. He did not have the benefit of considering the forensic evidence that has not been introduced yet and the autopsy report.

In a strong redirect, Bernie de la Rionda reviewed several inconsistencies in the defendant’s statements, such as his claims that he forgot the name of one of only three streets in his neighborhood, his claim that he had to walk all the way to Retreat View Circle to look for an address when they were right in front of his face on Twin Trees Lane, and his claim that he did not follow Trayvon Martin even though he admitted that he went in the same direction.

The State played the Hannity interview in which the defendant denied knowing anything about the SYG law, expressed no regrets, and said it was all according to God’s plan. He said he did not believe Trayvon Martin was afraid of him and also said he was not afraid of Trayvon Martin whom he described as “skipping away” instead of running away.

Dr. Valerie Rao, a forensic pathologist and assistant medical examiner testified that the defendant’s injuries to his face were minor and insignificant and could have been caused by a single blow.

The State was going to follow that testimony with the testimony of a professor at the local community college introducing the defendant’s textbook and course work on the law of self-defense and Florida’s Stand Your Ground law. They also had his application for employment with a police force in a county in Virginia and an application to ride-a-long as a civilian with a Sanford police officer.

Defense objected and Judge Nelson gave the defense until tomorrow morning at 8:30 am to prepare a response.

This was a strong day for the prosecution.

(H/T to disappointed for reminding me to include the defendant’s description during the Hannity interview of Trayvon “skipping.”)


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Featuring: Piranha Mom’s New Theory About Defendant’s Motive for Killing Trayvon

January 8, 2013

Piranha Mom is in the house tonight with a new theory regarding the defendant’s possible motive for killing Trayvon Martin.

I find it quite intriguing and it fits well with another theory presented here that the defendant was using Neighborhood Watch as a cover for a burglary ring.

This is her comment:

For the Open Thread (and discussion):

A Class Report on MOTIVE by PiranhaMom

Yes, I’m among the very few who don’t think that Zimmerman set out on that rainy night in the interest of killing a Black youth out of racist hate, or perversion, or for “the thrill of the kill.” Or to make himself respected, glorified, or an ally of Sanford P.D.
I believe he set out that night because he was sub-employed, in debt, with no possibility of becoming a cop, and no career in sight.
Frankly, I think he set out FOR PROFIT.
He hoped this would lead to a future as “an executive.”

Sadly – especially for young Trayvon Martin – Zimmerman turned out to be not an executive, but an executioner.

I believe he had a scheme – and after a year’s finagling, he had all his connections lined up.
If there was a conspiracy among Zimmerman, Taaffe, and Osterman – who may, or may not still have a job as Air Marshal – I believe it was to set up a business venture – a “professional patrol” company for condo HOAs, with Retreat at Twin Lakes as the first, prototype client. They probably had no clue that security work pays little, and did not care, because they could be “The Three Honchos” after a few short months, then hire out the patrol work to others. Preferably, cops – with SPD and Chief Bill Lee’s blessiing.

“Today, Twin Lakes – tomorrow, the world” would be their slogan.

Here we have Zimmerman, underemployed (and with an unemployed wife); Taaffe at loose ends and facing foreclosure, and Osterman working less than full time as an Air Marshal due to flight rules. They could wing it at Retreat at Twin Lakes as the workforce until they lined up a few more condo HOAs, then they’d be rolling in the big bucks. Los Honchos would become “the executives.”

Cops in Sanford are on the low end of the pay scale nationally and many would be glad to get some easy overtime, even if it was less that “cop rate”. How much do Sanford officers make? $35,720 per year, to a max of $49,445 plus an added bonus for higher education that tops out at $3,060 for BOTH City and State educational credits – even with a Master’s Degree.

That’s not a lot of bucks for putting your life on the line and struggling with the family disruption of shift work. If you could get $20+ an hour for ten or twelve hours a week cruising condos, it could help meet your credit card payments (just ask George Zimmerman).

Sanford PD has a comprehensive policy covering “Off-Duty” and “Extra-Duty” employment, and even has a special Coordinator for it. It appears to be competitive among the officers. Both “Off/Extra-Duty” work cannot exceed 44 hours per month; “Extra-Duty” employment carries the responsibility of use of full police powers and can utilize departmental equipment.

An example of “Off-Duty” would be retail not related to police work (say, yacht sales) while “Extra-Duty” is literally having one of SPD’s uniformed finest as your own – say, crowd & traffic control during motion picture filming “on location.” Employers of “Off-Duty” personnel are only responsible for Workers Compensation (plus wages) and not the wide array of employee benefits provided by the city. You could have a patrol officer work security – but not in Sanford PD uniform – as Off-Duty employment, at a much lower cost. Note: neither “Off-Duty” or “Extra-Duty” employment can be investigative.

(Sanford PD graciously provided a copy of Policy P/P 01-46 within hours of my Public Records Act request. The policy was amended April 2 of last year, but has been in force for seven years.)

“Build a better mousetrap” has always been the way to success in America – “find a need and fill it.” During the previous year Zimmerman appears to have laid the groundwork by not “finding” a need, but by creating one: he developed a “high crime profile” for his own condo development by calling in multiple complaints about Black suspects (most so wily, they slipped away).

The fact that the “suspects” kept on being Black was not, in my opinion, because Zimmerman was a rabid racist, but because he could figure that was his best “sell” in a community like Sanford, FL and with those in local law enforcement that served it.

Bigotry, yes, but bigotry out of convenience, bigotry for bucks.

That is vile.

It’s not that Zimmerman hated Blacks, it’s that Zimmerman could simply consider them the most “credible” threat he could gin up to raise the locals’ fears: blame it on the Black “criminal element.”

This is known as “Profiling for Profit.” Profiling Blacks, that is.

During the same year, Zimmerman was busy sucking up to the Chief Bill Lee and other Sanford PD brass – and individual officers. Why were so many cops who were immediately on the scene after Trayvon Martin’s murder already acquainted with Zimmerman? Had any of those patrol officers been approached yet by Zimmerman to become part of some future money-making venture?

Also during the year, Zimmerman was establishing his bona fides with both Sanford PD and his own HOA. Got himself appointed as Neighborhood Watch coordinator – but never coordinated ANYthing.

Nosed around the neighborhood, clipboard in hand, establishing himself as the local protector of his neighbors – and adding an edge to their fear.

Then there was the Home Owners Association Board – who eventually (December 10, 2012) got an agreement approved by the City Commission for Sanford PD to patrol its three private streets as if they were city streets (i.e. at no charge), and enforce its 15 MPH speed limits.

Now, this service, by State law, was ALWAYS available to the HOA (Sanford PD provides it to 14 other HOA developments) but the HOA Management company only requested it August 20, 2012 (I have Kent Taylor’s e-mail to Sergeant Smith). The tragedy in all this is that the HOA did not request police patrolling of its roads BEFORE “the renegade patroller” profiled Trayvon Martin – and ended up killing him.

Up to February 26 last year, Zimmerman was doing his best to get in thick with the HOA Board as its protector … I believe,for his future business interests.

How? Why, be the local crime prevention hero. “The Captain.”

But, of course, he’d need a trophy.

Preferably young, on foot, alone, and easy to intimidate.

And very, very preferably, Black. That would be the catalyst to getting the contract.

The kid wouldn’t even have to be DOing anything criminal – it would be Righteous George’s word against “the kid’s,” and let’s face it, all YBM’s have criminal records, right?

The plan was a slam dunk – all he needed was a “suspect” to apprehend, and detain until the cops got there.

All he needed was to be tipped off when there was a “suspect” in the neighborhood.

And then one dark and rainy night, did friend Osterman stop at the ATM to pick up cash – cash he intended to drop off at Zimmerman’s house to help his young friend through a rough patch?

And was that the same dark and rainy night that young Trayvon Martin had hiked all the way to the 7-11 and back, just to pick up an Arizona iced tea and a bag of Skittles, and was trudging home, tired but happy, talking on the phone to his girlfriend?

Did Osterman spot Trayvon Martin on the pathway of The Retreat — and tip off Zimmerman?

Was George Zimmerman packing heat?
We know this answer: “Yes.”

Did Zimmerman trail Martin in his vehicle and call 311? We know this answer: “Yes.”

Did Zimmerman exit the vehicle in pursuit?
We know this answer in Zimmerman’s own words, “Yeah.”

Did Zimmerman engage in a verbal and physical confrontation with Trayvon Martin?
Physical evidence and witnesses tell us: “Yes.”

Did Zimmerman shoot Trayvon Martin?
His first words to the cops: “I shot him.”
Re-enacted, recorded, videotaped and signed under penalty of perjury by George Zimmerman.

Was Zimmerman whisked away to private “protective custody” by buddy Mark Osterman as soon as the cops turned him loose after the killing, and was Osterman Zimmerman’s “shadow” throughout the re-enactment? We know the answer: “Yes.”

Did Zimmerman and his family set up a website FOR PROFIT even before he was charged with Murder Two, and did he PROFIT by over $230,000 after this killing?

Do these folks have PROFIT on their minds? $230,000 says, “Yes!”

Have you ANY doubt that THE PROFIT MOTIVE ended up setting this whole, horrible killing in motion – that dark and rainy night of February 26, 2012?

What could go wrong with this scheme?
And if it did? Hey, wouldn’t George Zimmerman’s word count for more than some Black kid’s – especially if that Black kid was dead?

Who you gonna believe – the guy who can tell his side of the story (in this case, ALL sides of his story, all the “variations on a theme by Zimmerman”) — or the kid who can’t tell you ANY side at all?

Remember, nothing ventured, nothing gained. Ah, yes.

On the road … to PROFIT.

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