Marijuana, guns and fighting: New photos and texts from Trayvon Martin’s cell phone paint troubling picture of slain teen
- Zimmerman’s second-degree murder trial is set to start next month
- His attorneys have released a batch of photos and texts from Martin’s cell phone including images of Martin smoking and a photo of a gun
- Prosecutors want evidence omitted from trial
- The defense team also want to use blood tests that show traces of marijuana in Martin’s system
Explosive new pictures from Trayvon Martin’s cell phone show the slain Florida teenager blowing smoke rings, a photo of a gun and what appears to be a marijuana plant.
The data released on Thursday by George Zimmerman’s attorneys also include worrying text messages with a friend about fighting, smoking pot and being forced to move out of his mother’s house because of trouble at school.
A hearing next week will decide if the information can be used at the trial for Zimmerman, who is charged with fatally shooting the unarmed 17-year-old last year.
Prosecutors want the negative evidence omitted, but Zimmerman’s lawyers said if they try to portray his client as the antagonist and Martin as the victim, he wants to show the jury that Martin has talked about fighting before.
‘If they had suggested that Trayvon is nonviolent and that George is the aggressor, I think that makes evidence of the fighting he has been involved with in the past relevant,’ said Mark O’Mara.
Zimmerman, 29, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, claiming self-defense and his trial starts next month. O’Mara also filed a motion on Thursday asking for a delay in the start of the trial so the defense team can talk at length with an expert witness for the prosecution.
The photos released by Zimmerman’s defense team also show Martin extending his middle finger to the camera.
In the text messages, Martin tells a friend that his mother has told him he needs to move in with his father since he was caught skipping school. He also talks with a friend about smoking ‘weed.’
On November 22, 2011, three months before the shooting, Trayvon wrote messages about being involved in a fight. His unnamed opponent, he wrote: ‘got mo hits cause in da 1st round he had me on da ground an I couldn’t do ntn. (sic)’
Six weeks earlier he wrote a text about problems at school involving a fight: ‘I was watcn a fight nd a teacher say I hit em. (sic)’
Prosecutors have filed a motion asking Circuit Judge Debra Nelson to prevent the photos, texts and other personal information from being used at the trial.
The hearing is set for next Tuesday when the judge also will consider the motion to delay the trial.
Attorneys for Martin’s parents said in a statement that the photos and texts were irrelevant to the trial and could pollute the jury pool.
‘Is the defense trying to prove Trayvon deserved to be killed by George Zimmerman because (of) the way he looked?’ they said.
‘If so, this stereotypical and closed-minded thinking is the same mindset that caused George Zimmerman to get out of his car and pursue Trayvon, an unarmed kid who he didn’t know.’
As for the delay, O’Mara said he needed more time to review the qualifications of a prosecution witness with an expertise in speech identification.
O’Mara said prosecutors only made him aware of the expert a short time ago. The expert could be used to testify whose voices were on 911 calls that captured the fatal fight between Zimmerman and Martin.
O’Mara said in an interview that he needed another month or two to prepare. He also said that he is going to ask a judge to sequester not only the jury but the jury pool in the upcoming trial. That may involve sequestering 500 potential jurors in order to find six people who can serve on the jury.
The texts and pictures come after Zimmerman’s attorneys released photos showing evidence related to the night in February 2012 when the neighborhood watch volunteer shot and killed Martin.
The new batch of photos include pictures of Martin’s belongings on the night he was killed including the cell phone he used to speak to his girlfriend for the last time, plus the Skittles and bottle of ice tea he had just bought at a local 7/11.
Defense attorneys have issued the photos as they prepare for Zimmerman’s upcoming second-degree murder trial, which is scheduled to begin June 10.
The photos, taken by Zimmerman’s defense team on August 8 at a state crime lab, show other important pieces of evidence including the hoodie with a bullet hole in it that Trayvon wore, reports the Orlando Sentinel.
Two photos that had not been released before Wednesday show Zimmerman in a cap and gown during a graduation ceremony at Seminole State College.
Zimmerman was pursuing a two-year criminal justice degree, but while he attended the ceremony, school records show he did not actually graduate, having failed one of his classes.
Other images, which have been seen before, include photos of Zimmerman with a broken and bloody nose and surveillance images showing Martin buying Skittles and a bottle of iced tea at a 7-Eleven just minutes before the deadly scuffle.
These are the photographs his defense team believe will best serve their client’s self-defense case when his trial begins next month hope these are the images that
Defense attorneys had to list all evidence turned over to prosecutors. It include items they opted not to make public because of Florida privacy laws, including half dozen autopsy photos of Martin plus 17 taken of him at the scene of the shooting.
The 29-year-olf former Neighborhood Watch volunteer killed Trayvon, an unarmed black 17-year-old, on Feb. 26, 2012, after calling Sanford police and describing the teenager as suspicious.
Zimmerman’s defense team also filed a motion on Tuesday asking the judge to deny a request by prosecutors to ban blood samples from Trayvon Martin’s autopsy from being submitted as evidence during the trial.
According to Zimmerman’s lawyers, the results of those blood tests showed traces of marijuana in Martin’s system, and they argue jurors should know that.
Other images include photos of Zimmerman with a broken and bloody nose
The defense claimed Martin brought pot with him to Sanford and used it at least once before he was killed.