Judge Debra Nelson denies defense motion for judgment of acquittal

July 5, 2013

Friday, July 5, 2013

Good evening:

Judge Debra Nelson summarily denied a defense motion for a judgment of acquittal this afternoon after the State rested its case.

The first witness called by the defense was the defendant’s mother, Gladys Zimmerman, who identified him as the person who uttered the terrified death shriek that is audible in the background of a 911 call. However, she admitted on cross examination that she had never heard him scream for help or cry out like that.

Her testimony contrasted sharply with testimony this morning by Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin’s mother, who identified him quietly and sorrowfully without equivocation.

The State rested its case after presenting the testimony of Dr. Bao, the Assistant Medical Examiner who performed the autopsy on Travon Martin. He described the gunshot wound as direct from front to back with the hollow point bullet passing through the front and rear wall of the right the ventricle before coming apart and scattering in different directions finally coming to rest in the pericardial sac.

He testified that Trayvon would have been conscious and in pain from 1 to 10 minutes but unable to move or speak during that time. His testimony contradicts the defendant’s claim that Trayvon sat up and said, “You got it,” or “You got me.”

It also makes it extremely unlikely that he did not know that Trayvon was dead before the police arrived, contradicting his claim on the Sean Hannity Show that he did not know that he’d hit Trayvon when he fired the shot and did not find out he was dead until someone told him at the police station later that evening.

The defendant’s claim on the Sean Hannity Show that he has no regrets, would not do anything differently, and everything happened according to “God’s plan,” is chilling in light of today’s testimony.

Judge Nelson recessed the trial for the weekend until Monday morning at 9 am EDT.

Between now and then, the defendant will have to decide whether to testify or remain silent.

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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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