George Zimmerman's Defense Gets First Batch of Discovery Documents
May 14, 2012 | WMFE - The defense attorney for the Sanford man who shot an unarmed black teen is getting his first look at the state's evidence. Late Monday, George Zimmerman's attorney Mark O'Mara received hundreds of discovery documents from the special prosecutor in the second-degree murder case, but as of Monday night, only a short list summarizing the discovery's contents had been made public.
In Florida, evidence to be used at trial becomes public record as soon as the prosecution turns it over to the defense…usually. But in this case, both sides say witness safety is a concern, and either side may ask a judge to withhold identifying information from the public. O’Mara has said he plans to file a motion requesting time to redact some witnesses’ identities before the discovery documents are released to the media.
O’Mara received about 300 pages of detailed evidence from special prosecutor Angela Corey’s office Monday evening. An eight-page summary describing that evidence was made public at the same time.
The documents say prosecutors have previously-unreleased surveillance video from the night of the shooting. The video comes from both the convenience store where 17-year-old Trayvon Martin bought snacks and the gated community where the shooting took place. It’s unknown whether those tapes captured any of the altercation between Martin and Zimmerman.
Zimmerman was a neighborhood watch volunteer in the Retreat at Twin Lakes subdivision when he spotted Martin walking back to a family friend’s home there. Zimmerman called police to report Martin as a suspicious person and began to follow Martin. The details of the ensuing confrontation remain unclear, but Zimmerman had shot Martin dead by the time police arrived. Zimmerman is claiming self-defense.
The evidence summary also lists Martin’s autopsy records, Zimmerman’s medical and arrest records, crime scene photos, and a partially redacted list of witnesses. Martin’s family members are slated to testify, along with Zimmerman’s neighbor, his father, and a friend. Various members of law enforcement are also listed as witnesses.
A judge will decide if the evidence itself will be made public, and if so, how much.