Walking Papers? The Incredibly Thin, Speculative Zimmerman Affidavit
Angela Corey's filing against George Zimmerman bears the hallmarks of a career-ender.
April 17, 2012 - 10:06 am
The affidavit also makes the completely unsupported claim at the end of that paragraph that Martin “was trying to return to his home.”
There is no evidence of the sort. The timeline strongly suggests that — having evaded Zimmerman initially and with Zimmerman terminating his pursuit and then heading back the way he came — Martin had plenty of time and a direct, unobstructed path home had he chosen to return directly home. We don’t know where Martin was or what he was doing between the time he fled Zimmerman and when the confrontation began. What we do know is that Martin had an opportunity to make it home, and chose not to do so for reasons we may never know.
The affidavit continues:
Zimmerman confronted Martin and a struggle ensued. Witnesses heard people arguing and what sounded like a struggle. During this time period witnesses heard numerous calls for help and some of these were recorded in 911 calls to police. Trayvon Martin’s mother has reviewed the 911 and identified the voice crying for help as Trayvon Martin’s voice.
“Zimmerman confronted Martin.”
This is supposition, apparently based upon the recollection of Martin’s girlfriend. There is no physical evidence or eyewitness supporting this charge.
The next part of that crucial sentence has already been ripped apart by legal experts — the passive “and a struggle ensued.”
This entire case hinges upon who started the confrontation and then escalated it into a deadly force event that left a young man dead. If the prosecution has evidence that Zimmerman indeed triggered the confrontation and initiated the struggle, then Zimmerman’s self-defense claim becomes much harder to support. If the events occurred as Zimmerman described it — with the confrontation initiated by Martin, the physical assault initiated by Martin, and Martin then escalating the fight to assault with a deadly weapon by attempting to smash Zimmerman’s head on the concrete — and the evidence supports Zimmerman’s claims, then we have a justified use of deadly force in self-defense.
Sybrina Fulton’s contention that the voice she heard crying for help on the 911 calls was her son certainly adds emotional pain to the case; her claim is not one I would personally wish to challenge at a trial if she is called as a witness. However, competent attorneys routinely cast doubt on such testimony, perhaps by citing confirmation bias and the trauma of losing a child. No known audio experts have come forth to claim they can confirm with any degree of certainty that the voice calling for help is Martin’s. I would venture that Fulton’s claim is included in the affidavit only to elicit an emotional response from the public, which would be a grandstanding ploy, and perhaps an especially cynical one by a veteran prosecutor seeking reelection just a few months from now.
There are simply no facts in this affidavit to remotely support the charge of second-degree murder according to Florida’s statute, which reads:
The unlawful killing of a human being, when perpetrated by any act imminently dangerous to another and evincing a depraved mind regardless of human life, although without any premeditated design to effect the death of any particular individual, is murder in the second degree …
There is nothing in this affidavit nor among the publicly known facts about the case — nor even among the allegations from the victim’s family or their attorneys — that comes even remotely close to reaching the “depraved mind” standard. At most, the prosecutor would face making a difficult manslaughter case, and even then would risk having the lesser charge thrown out for insufficient evidence.
I am comfortable with saying that Corey’s multiple references to “justice for Trayon” during her press conference combined with this breathtaking affidavit strongly suggest a political motivation.
I live and work in central North Carolina, just miles away from where an overzealous, politically minded prosecutor named Mike Nifong attempted to railroad athletes from the Duke University lacrosse team in a similarly racially charged environment just a half-decade ago.
Nifong was disbarred and found guilty of criminal contempt for his actions. Angela Corey’s affidavit against George Zimmerman looks to be treading dangerously close to that same path.