Part 1 is here, covering the disaster that was the prosecution case.
- The Defense moved for a directed verdict of acquittal. “Mantei provided the State’s counter to the motion for a directed verdict in a manner that cannot readily be described in language suitable for a family-accessible blog. To say it was histrionic, lacking in factual evidence, and rife with abject fabrications, would be to put the matter too kindly.” The motion was rejected, and the judge demanded that the defence begin immediately – at 5pm on a Friday!
- Gladys Zimmerman (George Zimmerman’s Mother) – Credibility issues “Asked if she had ever before heard her son scream like on the tape, Mrs. Zimmerman could only be honest–no, not exactly like that. O’Mara came back strong, however. Is that scream of anguish, fear, and terror without question your son’s voice?” “Yes,” she answered.“
- Jorge Meza (Orange County Courthouse Deputy, Uncle of George Zimmerman) – Helped Defence ““I felt the screams in my heart,” he testified firmly but emotionally. It is notable that this is the first member of either family who has claimed to have identified the voice absent a suggestive environment.”
- John Donnelly (Vietnam Combat Medic, Zimmerman Friend) - Helped Defence “Here, for the first time, was someone who could genuinely be said to possess personal expertise in being able to correlate a person’s normal speaking voice and their screams in extremis. And George Donnelly, firmly and without the slightest hesitation, identified George Zimmerman as the screamer.[...] The more BDLR sought to advance the impeachment of this witness, the more the quiet dignity of the war veteran became associated with George Zimmerman.”
- Sandra Osterman (Family Friend, wife of Federal Air Marshall Mark Osterman) - Bizarre Prosecution Behaviour “O’Mara played the Jenna Lauer 911 call for her and asked her to identify the screamer. “Definitely, it’s Georgie,” she testified.”
BDLR then began what would be a cycle of expletive-laced questioning with every juror. He would play for them the non-emergency call Zimmerman made that evening, in which he refers to those “fucking punks,” and mutters that “these assholes always get away.” When recounting these phrases to each witness BDLR would fairly shout it out in the courtroom, although repetitive playing of the recording only reinforced that Zimmerman’s actual tone was one of resignation and frustration, not ill-will, spite, or hatred–the emotions BDLR wished to associate with the utterances.
BDLR’s typically sarcastic and petulant tone invariably emerged soon into his questioning of each witness. In the case of Sondra Osterman it was when he asked her, “Are you saying that George Zimmerman referring to “these assholes” means he wants to invite them out to dinner?” Sondra stood her ground, saying she didn’t believe Zimmerman sounded angry. That brought in this rather humiliating exchange for BDLR:
BDLR: “You don’t think he was angry? But you weren’t there that night, right? You’re just speculating.”
SO: [laughs] “I guess we both are.”
On re-direct O’Mara took BDLR’s theory of the case down at the knees. He stepped through the recording almost sentence by sentence, asking after each one, “Does that sound like spite to you? Ill-will? Hatred?” Each time Sondra Osterman responded, “No.”
- Mark Osterman (Federal Air Marshall Zimmerman Friend) - Helped Defence “Mark also identified the screamer as George Zimmerman, but the real value of his testimony centered on Zimmerman’s management of his sidearm. He affirmed such fundamentals as the need for a self-defense firearm to be loaded to capacity, including a round in the chamber and a topped off magazine, as well as the standard that a deadly-force attacker be engaged center-mass.”
- Geri Russo (GZ Co-Worker) - “Her role was simply to identify the screamer as George Zimmerman and she did this with quiet confidence.”
- Leanne Benjamin (GZ Co-Worker) -“She, too identified the screamer as George Zimmerman. “
Chris Serino (formerly lead Investigator),
Doris Singleton (Police) - “Both of whom testified that when Serino played the Jenna Lauer audo recording for Tracy Martin and asked him if the screaming voice was that of Trayvon Martin he responded, “No.””
- Tracey Martin (Trayvon’s Father) - Helped Defence by pretending he had not initially failed to identify the screamer as Trayvon. “ The only reason this testimony wasn’t the least credible of the trial is because the trial has seen a great deal of incredible testimony.”
- Bill Lee (Former Police Chief) - Helped Defence by pointing out that the way the prosecution had tainted evidence in the way they had the family identify Martin as the screamer on the tapes.
- Adam Pollock (MMA Gym owner) – Helped Defence. “Asked if he ever allowed Zimmerman to fight in a ring, he answered “Absolutely not, I wouldn’t put him in harms way.””
The day finished with some legal motions, including the decision to admit the Martin toxicology report.
Day 11 Summary
- Dr. Vincent Di Maio (Forensic Pathologist) – Helped Defence. This is the sort of guy the prosecution should have been putting on the stand, with a lengthy list of credentials. He noted a number of things in Zimmerman’s favour – see the link for a full list. “To sum up, Dr. Di Maio’s testimony was extremely favorable to the defense, and quite destructive to the State.” I also note this Bizarre Prosecution Behaviour:Perhaps the strangest aspect of BDLR’s cross was the way it kept beating on the theme of uncertainty. Dr. Di Maio had presented one possibility, BDLR argued, but isn’t it true that there was a second possibility, and a third possibility? How such a cross was intended to drive the jury closer towards proof beyond a reasonable doubt is unclear.BDLR also repeated his tendency to ask questions on cross to which he clearly didn’t know the answer, and getting “blown up” by the reply. In his direct testimony Dr. Di Maio had mentioned studying gunshot patterns on live animals. Now BDLR acted aghast that Dr. Di Maio would have harmed poor innocent little beasts (the fact that there is at least one serious pet owner on the jury may have promoted this line of questioning).”
- Elouise Dilligard (Neighbour) – Helped Defense “Elouise Dilligard is also an African-American woman. Having this older black woman, calling into court from her sick bed, testify with such affection for the Zimmerman’s and George in particular, completelly[sic] gutted the State’s characterization of George Zimmerman as some kind of seething racist who was actively seeking out a black boy to kill.”
- The defence’s animated video was discussed, but not resolved
- Norton Bonaparte (Jr. City Manager) – Proceedural (as far as I can tell). Testified about playing the 9/11 tapes. Apparently the police were excluded per family request.
- Day ended with some discussions, including one defence witness who sat in court, and what turned into a heated discussion on Trayvon Martin’s text messages.
Day 12 Summary
- The day started with the judge disallowing Martin’s text messages, in spite of the law being clear that they should have been allowed. This decision meant that the character of Trayvon Martin was essentially hidden from the jury. They never got to hear how he liked to start fights, and was buying and selling guns for example, or the efforts he went to to hide the evidence he kept on his phone.
- Dennis Root (Use of Force Expert) - Helped Defense. “As has become a pattern in this trial, the defense witness’ testimony was utterly consistent with George Zimmerman’s narrative of self-defense.” Bizarre (Well, nasty anyway) Prosecution Behaviour “It was almost as if the State had never deposed Root before, had simply never met this witness before his testimony in the courtroom.”
- Olivia Bertalan (Former Resident) – Helped Defence. Was a victim of a home invasion and was helped by GZ. “The Zimmerman these people described, this kind, caring neighbor, could not be further from the evil, seething, racist murdered of young black boys that the State continues to try to sell to the jury.“
- Robert Zimmerman (George Zimmerman’s father) – As with all family members who identified the screamer as “their boy”, this has to be filed under “Credibility issues”. Bizarre Prosecution Behaviour “In typically classy fashion, the State prosecutors noted to the Court that the witness was still subject to recall–meaning that he would still not be able to be present in court to support his son.”
- “In a brief exchange with the Court, George Zimmerman indicated his decision to not testify on his own behalf in this case.” - Some have criticised the judge for this, and GZ’s lawyers upset, but it does seem that doing this was proper as there have been a number of cases going to appeal in Florida where the defendant has claimed he was prevented by his lawyers from testifying.
The Defense rested.
- “…O’Mara made another motion for acquittal. Essentially he argued that as little basis existed for continuing the trial at the end of the state’s case was now even further reduced to the point that an acquittal was the only reasonably outcome. H[e] explicitly asked that the State be required to “identify their factual scenario, their theory of the case, anything, articulating in some way Zimmerman’s guilt. Judge Nelson did not take him up on this offer, and instead ruled that there existed substantial evidence both direct and circumstantial to allow the second degree murder charge to go to the jury”
- Bizarre Prosecution Behaviour. The prosecution made a disastrous attempt at calling rebuttal witnesses. First, the called the Guy owner again, and proceeded to ask questions that were completely outside the rules and he didn’t actually end up testifying. They then decided not to call the second, and the third was an attempt to talk about GZ’s arrest 8 years earlier, for which he holds no conviction. “In nay case, it was prior bad act evidence, inadmissible in this case. Plus, O’Mara cautioned, if the State called this one witness to testify that Zimmerman was violent, he would bring more than 30 counter witnesses to testify to Zimmerman’s peaceful character.”
- Defence witness who sat in court was ok - “Ultimately, Judge Nelson denied the State’s request the Donnelly’s testimony be stricken from the record.”
Summing up the case:
- Prosecution tried to get 3rd Degree Murder added, on the basis that GZ had comitted Child abuse. The judge refused.
- Prosecution Summing up - “What the jury got was not a compelling narrative of guilt, however, but a rambling monologue of isolated bits of circumstantial evidence, much of which was consistent with–and even supportive of–the defense’s “self-defense” theory of the case.”
- Defence – ““So now,” O’Mara segued, “let’s talk about the evidence.” That simple sentence could only reinforce how little BDLR had touched upon the evidence in his lengthy, meandering closing the day before.”
“In an interesting twist, O’Mara then highlighted how weak the State’s theory of the case was in the face of countervailing evidence. Let’s toss away, he suggested all of George Zimmerman’s statements consistent with self-defense. The State says they are self-serving lies. Ok, let’s say he never made them. What does that leave us with?
It leaves us, O’Mara said, with this–and he held up the worst of the bloody photos of Zimmerman’s face, his nose crushed sideways and blood running down his lip, taken by Officer Tim Smith while Zimmerman sat in his patrol car.”
- (same link) Prosecution Rebuttal - “From the first words out of his mouth it was clear that his presentation was to be even more fact-free than that of Mr. de la Rionda had been. “The human heart,” he stated, “guides us in big things and little things. Let us look into the heart of this child.””
- Jury instructions