Attorneys in the Zimmerman trial argued into the late night hours about the computer animation version video that the defense wants to introduce into evidence. The defense also wants to introduce Trayvon’s text messages and a Facebook post related to fighting as evidence.
The text messages included a picture of a gun. The defense also wanted to show the jury a Facebook posting of Trayvon asking his half-brother when he was going to teach him how to fight.
The hearing lasted until 10 p.m. All parties were frustrated. Don West argued that the text message data was not given to the defense in a timely manner, and that they did not have a sufficient opportunity to authenticate the messages.
“It’s simply unfair for Mr. Zimmerman not to be able to put on his defense because of these tactics,” Mr. West argued to the Judge.
Mr. West accused prosecutors of concealing evidence.
Judge Nelson Rules Against Defense
This morning, Judge Debra Nelson ruled that the defense team is allowed to use the animation video as a demonstrative exhibit but cannot enter it as evidence. If introduced as evidence, the judge worried that the jurors would have the opportunity to watch it repeatedly which, in her opinion, gives the video more weight than it deserves.
The judge also ruled that the cell phone data and Facebook posting will not be allowed to be entered as evidence.
The defense is expected to rest its case Wednesday.
This morning, the judge reminded Mr. Zimmerman that she will be inquiring, in the very near future, about whether or not he will be testifying.
Forensic Pathologist Dr. Vincent DiMaio
Jurors heard from the defense’s star witness on Tuesday, forensic pathologist Dr. Vincent DiMaio. He’s performed over 9,000 autopsies and is the author of the textbook about gunshots and gunshot wounds entitled Gunshot Wounds: Practical Aspects of Firearms, Ballistics, and Forensic Techniques.
Dr. DiMaio concluded the following:
- The muzzle of the gun was against Trayvon Martin’s clothing and was anywhere between 2 to 4 inches from his skin;
- Zimmerman’s lacerations on the back of his head were consistent with it hitting a concrete sidewalk;
- Zimmerman had six separate impacts to his face and head;
- Zimmerman probably had a broken nose; and
- Trayvon Martin could have been conscious for 10 to 15 seconds after the shooting and could have moved his arms.
On cross-examination, Dr. DiMaio conceded that the gunshot could also be consistent with Trayvon Martin pulling away from Mr. Zimmerman. He also told the prosecutor that his conclusions were based on the statements of only one eyewitness who testified that he saw Trayvon Martin on top of Mr. Zimmerman. Dr. DiMaio did not factor in statements from neighbors who testified that Mr. Zimmerman was on top of Trayvon Martin.
Dr. DiMaio also agreed that some of the injuries to Mr. Zimmerman could have been caused by a tree branch.
Prosecutors also brought up experiments that Dr. DiMaio had performed in which he would shoot animals to see how long they lived and to determine the effect of a bullet in certain parts of the body.
While the prosecution may have scored a few points, most legal experts see Dr. DiMaio as a solid, unbiased expert who helped the defense.
Even If Found Not Guilty, Mr. Zimmerman Could Still Face Jail Time
A new article by Florida criminal trial attorney Richard Hornsby details the numerous conviction and sentencing options that Mr. Zimmerman faces even if he is found not guilty of second-degree murder.
Mr. Hornsby contends that Mr. Zimmerman could be sentenced to 25 years in prison because of the complicated system of Florida law. For instance, Mr. Hornsby notes that Mr. Zimmerman could face the lesser offenses of manslaughter, third-degree felony murder, aggravated battery, aggravated assault, felony battery, culpable negligence, battery and assault.
You can read more about the complex Florida law here.
We may be hearing closing arguments as early as Thursday.