IS THE TRUTH COMING OUT? – AT 8:52 A.M. ET: We make no judgments, but a new story from Reuters adds to the increasing skepticism about the second-degree murder charge against George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin case:
(Reuters) - Neighbors of George Zimmerman say he had bandages on his nose and head the day after he shot dead Trayvon Martin, supporting statements by the neighborhood watch volunteer that he was beaten in a confrontation with the black Florida teenager.
The extent of Zimmerman's injuries could be crucial to his legal defense under Florida's "Stand Your Ground" self-defense law, which allows the use of deadly force when someone has the reasonable belief he could face death or great bodily harm.
Police said Zimmerman, who has been charged with second-degree murder in the racially charged case, was bleeding from the nose and the back of his head and was treated by medics before being taken to Sanford police station after the February 26 shooting.
But public doubts were later raised by the release of a grainy surveillance video from the police station in which no injuries were readily visible.
Zimmerman later sought medical treatment for injuries including a broken nose, his former lawyers have said.
Jorge Rodriguez, Zimmerman's next-door neighbor, told Reuters that when he saw Zimmerman the day after the incident, "he had two big, butterfly bandages on the back of his head, and another big bandage...on the bridge of his nose." He was talking to a police detective in his driveway.
COMMENT: Zimmerman now has solid legal representation, but there is still an intimidating atmosphere surrounding the case. The governor Florida has said that the second-degree murder charge, which many legal observers say is way over the top, was not issued in response to public outrage, but doubts are increasing.
We'll let the legal process take its course. This case can effect the presidential race should it boil over in the months prior to the election.
April 17, 2012