On June 10, the murder trial of George Zimmerman will begin, 470 days after he shot and killed Trayvon Martin on a rainy evening in Sanford, Florida.
Since that night, Martin’s death has already had a profound impact on Sanford and the nation. But the outcome of the trial, which is expected to last between four to eight weeks, is still uncertain. Since Zimmerman does not dispute that he killed Martin, the defense must establish that Zimmerman acted in self defense.
Here is the key evidence that could support an aquittal.
1. No true eyewitness other than Zimmerman. The most significant evidence supporting the defense’s case is that the only living eyewitness to the entire incident is George Zimmerman. Ultimately, the burden of proof is on the prosecution to prove that Zimmerman was not acting in self-defense. Zimmerman, of course, says that his head was being pounded on the concrete and he had to shoot Trayvon Martin to save his own life. The prosecution will have to completely discredit Zimmerman’s version of the events without any eyewitness testimony supporting their petition.
Zimmerman may not testify during the trial. He has given several statements to the police which could be admitted as evidence.
2. A bloody nose. Photos of Zimmerman taken immediately after the shooting show he was injured — primarily a bloody nose and other lacerations to the head — during his altercation with Martin. Although this does not establish who was the aggressor, it is consistent with Zimmerman’s version of the events.
Police “challenged him about the injuries, saying they were not severe and nowhere near life-threatening.”
3. Witness 6. A neighbor of Zimmerman says that, at one point, “he saw Trayvon on top, beating or pushing down on Zimmerman ‘MMA-style.’”
Witness 6′s account of the event, however, is far from definitive. He initially claimed that Zimmerman was screaming prior to the gun shot, but later recanted.
To support the charge of 2nd Degree Murder the prosecution also must prove that Zimmerman acted with a “depraved mind” when he shot Martin. If the prosecution fails to prove that, the jury can consider a lesser charge of manslaughter.