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ABC Names 13 Year Old Witness in Trayvon Martin Case

ABC Names 13 Year Old Witness in Trayvon Martin Case

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Published by: tuffstuff49 on Mar 27, 2012
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08/26/2012

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Trayvon Martin Shooter Told Cops Teenager Went For His Gun
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George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch crime captain who shotdead 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, originally told police in a writtenstatement that Martin knocked him down with a punch to the nose,repeatedly slammed his head on the ground and tried to take his gun, apolice source told ABC News.Zimmerman had claimed he had called police about Martin, whom hefound suspicious, then went back to his car when Martin attacked him,punching him.The new information is the most complete version yet of whatZimmerman claims happened on the night of Feb. 26 when he shot andkilled the teenager.In addition, an eyewitness, 13-year-old Austin Brown, told police he saw a man fitting Zimmerman's description lying on the grass moaning andcrying for help just seconds before he heard the gunshot that killedMartin.The initial police report noted that Zimmerman was bleeding from the back of the head and nose, and aftermedical attention it was decided that he was in goodenough condition to travel in a police cruiser to theSanford, Fla., police station for questioning. He was notarrested.Martin's girlfriend had said in a recording obtainedexclusively by ABC News that she heard Martin ask Zimmerman "why are your following me, and then theman asked, what are you doing around here." She then
Trayvon Martin, 17, was fatally shot by neighborhood watch leader George Zimmerman.
(ABC News; Orange County Jail)
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heard a scuffle break out and the line went dead.Phone records obtained by ABC News show that the girl, who is 16 and asked to remain anonymous, called Martinat 7:12 p.m., five minutes before police arrived, andremained on the phone with Martin until moments beforehe was shot. ABC News has also learned that Martin was staying inSanford at the time because he'd been suspended fromKrop High School in Miami after school officials foundhim with a baggy that they suspected containedmarijuana. He was staying at his father's fiance's house inSanford.Family spokesperson Ryan Julison confirmed to ABC News that Martin was suspended for an "empty baggy that had contained pot.""It's irrelevant to what happened on Feb. 26, does not change materialfacts of the situation, specifically that had George Zimmerman not left his vehicle and heeded the police dispatcher's guidance, we wouldn't be heretoday," Julison said.During Zimmerman's call to 911, the dispatcher asked him if he wasfollowing the teen. When Zimmerman replied that he was, the dispatchersaid, "We don't need you to do that."Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton, said at a news conference today, "AllI've got to say is they killed my son, and now they're trying to kill hisreputation."The new information threatens to heighten tensions in the emotionally charged case. Sanford's Mayor Jeff Triplett told ABC News that "the city today is a tinder box.""This city is a glass house, and making matters worse the civic center hasa lot of glass," he said referring to a town hall meeting slated for 5 p.m. where family and residents will be airing grievances about the Martinshooting.In addition, the Rev. Al Sharpton said today that he and other protestersintend to "occupy" Sanford on Easter weekend and pray that the city arrests Zimmerman.The details of Zimmerman's early account of the confrontation couldcomplicate pressing charges against him, which one veteran prosecutorhas already said could be difficult."The stand-your-ground law is one portion of justifiable use of deadly force," veteran State Attorney Angela Corey told ABC News. "And whatthat means is that the state must go forward and be able to prove it's case beyond a reasonable doubt
So it makes the case in general more difficultthan a normal criminal case."Zimmerman shot Martin dead the night of Feb. 26 after following him forseveral minutes. Zimmerman told police Martin looked suspicious because he was wearing a hoodie, and when he confronted him the twofought -- ultimately resulting in a single bullet in Martin's chest.
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controversial stand-your-ground law in his defense.The law affords people enormous leeway to use deadly force if they feeltheir life is seriously endangered. Sonner said Zimmerman felt "one of them was going to die that night," when he pulled the trigger.Corey, a veteran prosecutor known for her zealous defense of victimsrights was hand-picked by Florida Gov. Rick Scott for the job. But shefaces other challenges in the case. While in life Trayvon Martin was barely 17, when it comes to justifiablehomicide his size -- about 6-foot-3 and 150 pounds -- makes him an adultin death.Zimmerman, 28, is 5-foot-9 and weighs well over 200 pounds.But with the Department of Justice and the FBI investigating this case asa possible hate crime, Corey might want to pursue that as well.
RELATED:Shooter's Friend: George Zimmerman Has 'VirtuallyLost His Life, Too'
 "So it would depend on which charge if any we're able to file," she said."Before we would be able to determine, one, if this is a hate crime, andtwo, whether or not that would enhance the crime."Corey's team is now reinvestigating a case that the Sanford PoliceDepartment is accused of bungling. Possible police missteps include failingto administer a toxicology exam on Zimmerman, not impounding his car,and failing to contact key witnesses -- like Martin's girlfriend, who wastalking to the teen by cell phone and heard most of the scuffle withZimmerman unfold. ABC News has learned there is tremendous pressure from local and stateauthorities for an arrest.Corey said parts of the investigation might only take a few more days tocomplete but charges, if they ever come, could be weeks away.
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