Prosecutors release more evidence in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, including the hoodie Martin was wearing the night he died, and several 911 calls George Zimmerman made to 911. WESH's Bob Kealing reports.
A special prosecutor in the second-degree murder case against George Zimmerman released more evidence Thursday, including a first glimpse at what the FBI has found in its civil rights investigation with dozens of witnesses.
The evidence released by Special Prosecutor Angela Corey also included interviews from one of her investigators with Trayvon Martin's cousin, who was with him the night before Martin was shot.
The cousin "was asked if Trayvon mentioned anyone in the complex he was having problems with," the report says. The cousin said he hadn't, and he also said he "did not see Trayvon smoke marijuana."
Both Martin and his cousin lived in Miami, and were close, spending almost every weekend together, the boy told investigators. On Feb. 26, the night Martin died, Martin had been walking back to his father's girlfriend's home in Sanford, having just purchased Skittles and an iced tea from a convenience store.
His father’s girlfriend never had any contact with Zimmerman, and didn't even know her community, the Retreat at Twin Lakes, had a neighborhood watch program, according to Thursday's documents. Another resident told investigators he first met Zimmerman in September of 2011, when Zimmerman told him "he was going around trying to get people interested in joining the neighborhood watch."
Martin’s death sparked a nationwide wave of protests after Zimmerman initially evaded arrest by using Florida's Stand Your Ground law as justification for shooting Martin; many accused Zimmerman of racial profiling.
Key evidence includes 911 calls from Zimmerman and witnesses to the Sanford police. In one call, Zimmerman reported seeing Martin, and, despite a dispatcher's instruction not to follow the teen, ended up in a scuffle with him. Pleas for help during the clash could be heard on other 911 calls.
"I was yelling for help, but no one would help me," Zimmerman allegedly told Officer Tim Smith, who was first on the scene in the gated community in Sanford, Fla., after Zimmerman shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman had his concealed weapons permit in his wallet at the time, Smith said, the newly released evidence revealed.
Martin's family sure they heard him on 911 calls
In the batch of evidence released Thursday, investigators asked Martin's cousin if he could identify the voice on those calls.
"When asked about the calls for help he said without a doubt 'on a stack of Bibles' that it was Trayvon's voice,'" the document states.
Martin's mom, Sybrina Fulton, also told police it was her son yelling on the tapes.
Martin lived with his mom. In her interview with investigators, Fulton described him as an eleventh-grader who had dreams of going to college, possibly Florida A&M or University of Miami. Martin's favorite subject was math and he loved aviation, she said.
The night he was killed, Martin was wearing a pin with a photo on it. The button was made in memory of a cousin who had died, his mother told police.
Martin had several tattoos, including one of "praying hands" on his arm, said Fulton.
Interviews with unidentified witnesses were included in the newly released evidence, too. One woman, whose bedroom window was near where Martin was shot and who had called 911, told detectives she had heard "agonizing yelps." When pressed on the details of Zimmerman's and Martin's physical confrontation, she said "she had been unable to see much due to the glare from her window so she turned off her night light. She then saw two people on the ground," but was not able to give many specifics.
Numerous witnesses described hearing the pop of a gunshot, and told detectives it was the first time they had ever heard a gun go off.
A longtime friend of Zimmerman's who occasionally accompanied him to a shooting range also spoke with investigators, describing Zimmerman as "not a good shot at first but [he] improved slowly over time."
Sanford police officers were interviewed by nearly a dozen FBI agents. Agents also spoke with Zimmerman's former girlfriend, as well as his neighbor, Frank Taffee, and employees at the gun store where Zimmerman bought the firearm used to shoot Martin, according to The Sentinel.
Also released Thursday:
- Cell phone records from Trayvon Martin's father, Tracy
- Emails from Zimmerman and Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee
- Crime scene photos and diagrams
Seminole County jail records. Zimmerman has been arrested and freed on bail twice since he was charged with second-degree murder on April 11.
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