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Thu May 17, 2012
New Evidence In Trayvon Martin Case: Martin Had Drugs In System
Originally published on Thu May 17, 2012 9:06 pm
A huge trove of documents has been released by prosecutors in the Trayvon Martin case. Among the biggest revelations so far is that the autopsy reveals Martin had THC in his system. But police said the shooting was "ultimately avoidable."
"The autopsy report shows traces of the drug THC, which is found in marijuana, in Martin's blood and urine.
"The autopsy also shows that Zimmerman shot Martin from a distance of between 1 inch and 18 inches away, bolstering Zimmerman's claim that he shot Martin during a struggle that landed Zimmerman on his back, Martin straddling him and banging Zimmerman's head on the ground.
"Martin's autopsy report also revealed that there was a quarter-inch by half-inch abrasion on the left fourth finger of Martin, another indication of a possible struggle. The teen, who lived in Miami, was in Sanford while serving a suspension for a bag of marijuana being discovered in his possession."
The Orlando Sun-Sentinel reports that Sanford Police believed George Zimmerman's shooting of Trayvon Martin was "ultimately avoidable by Zimmerman, if Zimmerman had remained in his vehicle and awaited the arrival of law enforcement."
Zimmerman, a 28-year-old neighborhood watch volunteer in Sanford, Fla., says he acted in self defense on Feb. 26 when he shot Martin, a 17-year-old African-American. Martin's family and supporters have argued that Zimmerman racially profiled the boy and followed him through the Sanford neighborhood before their tragic encounter. The case has rekindled a national discussion about race relations and racial profiling.
Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder.
We'll have more on this story as we sift through the hundreds of pages of documents.
Update at 6:45 p.m. 'Avoidable':
We're backing up and reading the documents a little closer. In their capias request or order to arrest, investigators said all the times that Zimmerman had called 911, he always identified black males as the suspects.
Investigators also point out that Martin was "was in fact running generally in the direction of where he was staying as a guest in the neighborhood."
"The encounter between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin was ultimately avoidable by Zimmerman, if Zimmerman had remained in his vehicle and awaited the arrival of law enforcement, or conversely if he had identified himself to Martin as a concerned citizen and initiated dialog in an effort to dispel each party's concern," the investigators wrote.
The autopsy also found that Martin was shot straight through the heart. The bullet, the coroner writes, hit Martin's "right ventricle" and it never exited his body, hitting the "right lower lobe of the lung."
Update at 6:32 p.m. ET. 'Small Lacerations':
In the report filed by the Sanford Fire Department EMS, they said when they arrived Zimmerman was handcuffed.
Zimmerman "states he was assaulted and his was struck on the pavement," the report reads. Zimmerman "has abrasions to his forehead and bleeding/tenderness to his nose, and small laceration to the back of his head. All injuries have minor bleeding."
We've added a copy of some of the documents here.
Update at 6:01 p.m. ET. Skittles And $40:
The AP reports on what police found in Martin's pocket:
"A police report says Martin had $40.15, Skittles candy, a red lighter, headphones and a photo pin in his pocket. He had been shot once in the chest and was pronounced dead at the scene."
Update at 5:51 p.m. ET. 'Throwing Punches':
NPR's Greg Allen has been sifting through the witness statements. He reports that one witness saw one man chasing another man, but there is no indication who was doing the chasing.
Another witness, who investigator Christopher Serino talked to the night of the shooting, said a black man was "mounted" on top of a white or Hispanic male and the black male was "throwing punches mixed martial arts style."
Greg tells us that Serino said they reviewed 911 tapes and determined that in one call Zimmerman can be heard screaming help.
Greg also reports that police say there was no indication that Martin was involved in criminal activity.
Update at 5:43 p.m. ET. 23 Witness Statements:
The Miami Herald reports the records released include 23 witness statements. The Herald adds:
"The documents include reports from five Sanford police investigators and recorded statements from 23 witnesses. One witness, records show, was interviewed five times.
"Also included are cell phone records for Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin, and the girl Trayvon chatted with in the moments before his death. In a court filing earlier this week, prosecutors said they also plan to present Zimmerman's cell phone text messages, photos and videos from the weeks after Trayvon's controversial death.
"Not included: his three statements to police or the video-taped reenactment he did for detectives the day after he killed Trayvon. Under Florida law, confessions are exempt from public records laws."
Update at 5:31 p.m. ET. Bloody Nose:
The AP reports that one of the photographs released showed Zimmerman with a bloody nose.
"A paramedic report says Zimmerman also had a 1-inch laceration on his head and forehead abrasion," the AP writes.