FROM ABC NEWS: Zimmerman Waives Right To "Stand Your Ground" Hearing
There is no question that George Zimmerman shot and killed the unarmed teenager, Trayvon Martin in the famous altercation that took place a year ago in a Florida subdivision. From those skimpy details many, many people have leapt to the conclusion that Zimmerman is guilty of…well…something. You can’t just shoot people in this country and get off scot-free…can you?
Zimmerman’s lawyers initially used Florida’s unique “Stand Your Ground” law to justify the shooting. This law says that when confronted, you don’t necessarily have to retreat before defending yourself, as had been the case previously. Personally, although I’m no lawyer, I thought invoking “Stand Your Ground” was a mistake. I thought it was a simple case of self-defense. Now, Zimmerman’s lawyers apparently agree. According to the ABC News article linked at the top of this post, they have dropped that particular aspect of their defense.
Let’s go back to that fateful night. Zimmerman was in his truck, following the “suspicious” teen, Martin. The boy obviously knew he was being followed, and went down a pedestrian path between two lines of condos upon which Zimmerman could not drive. Zimmerman was by this time already on the phone with “911.” Listening to the actual full tape of that call is interesting. Zimmerman had gotten out of his truck and began to follow Martin on foot, but the 911 dispatcher says to him, “Yeah, we don’t need you to do that.” At which point Zimmerman replies, “Okay.” Then he coordinates where to meet the inbound police, settling on his own house within the subdivision. His heavy breathing dies down, indicating that he was not involved in a foot chase anymore.
Martin is gone and Zimmerman by his own admission has lost sight of him. So the “chase” is over at that point. But that wasn’t the end of it, oh no.
As we know there was a subsequent confrontation. Did Martin return to demand of Zimmerman an explanation? Did they meet randomly as Zimmerman was on his way back to his residence and Martin returned to the house in which he was staying? We don’t know. What we do know is that they ended up fighting on the ground, with Zimmerman on the bottom and being pummeled. That has already been established. Zimmerman pulled his gun and fired one shot. Martin died.
In fact, there is a lot that the public does not yet know. Like, where was Zimmerman when he called off the initial chase at the 911 dispatcher’s urging…and where was he when Martin and he tangled? Same place? That would mean that Martin quickly circled back. Martin took off running but we do not know why. A reasonable man would assume that in such a case the person would keep on going, not stop and come back to confront someone (in this case a security guard) who may be armed (this is Florida, after all).
Zimmerman’s attorneys will say that he did not initiate the confrontation and fight that ended in the death of the teenager; that it was Martin who did. They will use the 911 call and witness statements as supporting evidence. Simple self-defense. The trial is scheduled for this summer, which is a huge mistake but nevertheless ought to be interesting!
I suspect that Zimmerman will prevail. This will prove, as if it needs to be proven again that yes, if you feel that your life is in danger you can shoot someone and get off scot-free.