The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that evidence released last week in the second-degree-murder case against George Zimmerman shows four key witnesses made major changes in what they say they saw and heard the night he fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford.
Three changed their stories in ways that may damage Zimmerman. A fourth abandoned her initial story, that she saw one person chasing another. Now, she says, she saw a single figure running.
They were reinterviewed in mid-March, after Sanford police handed the case off to State Attorney Norm Wolfinger. The case changed hands again when Gov. Rick Scott passed it on to a special prosecutor. Zimmerman was arrested April 11 on a charge of second-degree murder.
Here are the key ways in which their stories changed.
A young woman who lives in the Retreat at Twin Lakes community, where Trayvon was shot, was interviewed twice by Sanford police and once by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
She told authorities that she had taken out her contact lenses just before the incident. In her first recorded interview with Sanford police four days after the shooting, she told lead Investigator Chris Serino, “I saw two guys running. Couldn’t tell you who was in front, who was behind.”
She stepped away from her window, and when she looked again, she “saw a fistfight. Just fists. I don’t know who was hitting who.”
A week later, she added a detail when talking again to Serino: During the chase, the two figures had been 10 feet apart.
That all changed when she was reinterviewed March 20 by an FDLE agent. That time, she recalled catching a glimpse of just one running figure, she told FDLE Investigator John Batchelor, and she heard the person more than saw him.
“I couldn’t tell you if it was a man, a woman, a kid, black or white. I couldn’t tell you because it was dark and because I didn’t have my contacts on or glasses. … I just know I saw a person out there.”
A young mother who is also a neighbor in the town-home community never gave a recorded interview to Sanford police, according to prosecution records released last week. She first sat down for an audio-recorded interview with an FDLE agent March 20, more than three weeks after the shooting.
During that session, she said she saw two people on the ground immediately after the shooting and was not sure who was on top, Zimmerman or Trayvon.
“I don’t know which one. … All I saw when they were on the ground was dark colors,” she said.
Six days later, however, she was sure: It was Zimmerman on top, she told trial prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda during a 21/2-minute recorded session.
“I know after seeing the TV of what’s happening, comparing their sizes, I think Zimmerman was definitely on top because of his size,” she said.
This witness lived a few feet from where Trayvon and Zimmerman had their fight. On the night of the shooting, he told Serino he saw a black man on top of a lighter-skinned man “just throwing down blows on the guy, MMA-style,” a reference to mixed martial arts.
He also said the one calling for help was “the one being beat up,” a reference to Zimmerman.
But three weeks later, when he was interviewed by an FDLE agent, the man said he was no longer sure which one called for help.
“I truly can’t tell who, after thinking about it, was yelling for help just because it was so dark out on that sidewalk,” he said.
He also said he was no longer sure Trayvon was throwing punches. The teenager may have simply been keeping Zimmerman pinned to the ground, he said.
He did not equivocate, though, about who was on top.
“The black guy was on top,” he said.
He is important because he talked with Zimmerman and watched the way he behaved immediately after the shooting, before police arrived.
After this neighbor heard gunfire, he went outside and spotted Zimmerman standing there with”blood on the back of his head,” he told Sanford police the night of the shooting.
Zimmerman told him that Trayvon “was beating up on me, so I had to shoot him,” the witness told Serino. The Neighborhood Watch captain then asked the witness to call his wife, Shellie Zimmerman, and tell her what happened.
In two subsequent interviews about a month later — one with an FDLE investigator and one with de la Rionda — the witness described Zimmerman’s demeanor in greater detail, adding that he spoke as if the shooting were no big deal.
To read the entire story by Rene Stutzman and Jeff Weiner, go to Orlando Sentinel
37 thoughts on “Zimmerman Case Evidence Released Last Week Shows Key Witnesses Testimony Changed”
maybe it was explained to them the seriousness of perjury and maybe they were informed of the evidence and how it contradicted their stories and maybe they felt their freedom of obstructing justice just wasn't worth it.
You think with Obama weighing in with his 2 cents worth, it's going to make any.
Sounds like these folks were threatened or paid to change their stories, you don't give one account in the matter of fact way they did, then change it like this, maybe the NBPP mentioned a bounty on their heads too…..LOL What a country we live in.
Anyone who testifies to the truth and it leads to Zimmerman being exonerated will be targeted for death by black ameriKa.
Maybe ur just an idiot…
Whether or not they changed their stories to the truth doesn't matter. The Defense can now use the change of stories to discredit the witnesses. This is going to be a hung jury or Zimmerman is going to walk. I would easily put money on that now.
Grow up. Any point you might have been trying to make is rendered moot by this ridiculous mispelling of America.
so they are supposed to lie? if the "truth" exonerates Zimmerman, you want these people dead, is that correct??? Wow, you're ate up.
Larissa Jones you are a clown
These so-called witnesses are liars who, I'm sure, didn't see anything as it happened and are now regretting their decision to try to snatch their 15 minutes of fame. Anyone can see they've lost track of their lies.
Shirley, I think you're right.
Shannon Klein, I think you're an idiot if you believe those bunch of liars, but then again, you're from Philadelphia so, who cares what you think.
Mr.Zimmerman was told by the 911 operator to stop following Trayvon, had he obeyed what the Officer had told him to do Trayvon would would be alive today.Why is that not being brought forth?
Come on….you all know that in Florida you can lie and nothing will be done. Cindy Anthony perjured herself on the stand and walked away with no repercussions.
Do you know for a fact that GZ did not stop following TM when he was told? Unless you were there….no you don't know!!
Decades of research have shown that memories change over time to fit what you want to remember, than those memories become a new reality. This is not saying they are give false recollections. Research has also shown how ten different people can watch the same crime and see exactly ten different occurrences.
if he walks…someone is going to suffer a death or serious injuries cause of him. so if you are a zimmerman fan…don't get caught on the streets the day of the verdict.
klein, i am not going to stoop to your level and go to name calling so climb back into your hole and read a book Dr. Seuss or something
accept the facts. majority of the witnesses are unknown, so who could pay them. there is one black witness that did not worry about showing his face that said he saw Martin on top of Zimmerman, and one white witness and her daughter that saw Zimmerman on top of Martin, these witnesses have not changed their stories.
if he had of stopped and took his unemployed azz out job hunting this wouldn't be happening
puss living off his wife, now living off of his donations
Shirley Pankey: Everyone can and is jumping to every conclusion they can think of. However, it doesn't make it any more true than the post you made. Unless you know him personally. Being unemployed is a trial that many American's are experiencing and I don't think it's right to be labeling him just as no one wants to TM labeled.
In one of your prior post you referred to GZ as lazy and unemployed. Is "lazy" not a condecending name? Then you've already stooped to the level of "klein" and name calling. JS
Darlene, black people are stereotyped as living off the government whenever they are in the news about anything NO MATTER WHAT IT IS. being unemployed is not a label it is a fact. TM was labeled from the start, why you think GZ targeted him and then followed him and ultimately killed him. Zimmerman labeled him and killed him, he could have left his gun in his vehicle but he knew what he was going to do with it.
Black ameriKa? Which? The 4.7 percent of all black men who are incarcerated in the U.S? Thats of course compared to the 0.7 percent of whites. Half of all federal and state prisoners are black. Between 1980 and 1993 the percentage of black inmates increased 217%.
Black America is a sad fact… as much as they whine and cry they want equality what they really want is special rights and favors.. and it is true that when zimmerman walks.. there will be riots and violence because blacks dont know how to act
Travon martin was a Punk.. he assulted zimmerman and zimmerman sent him to hell for what he did… blacks can argue all they freaking want about it being a Race crime… it was not. it was self defence. and if a little black punk was on me i would empty a whole clip in him then sue his family for raising such a horrible little human being
Snider maybe its all those years of whitey enslaving blacks and stripping them of their humanity. i assume you are saying it is a favor to ask for justice in a killing. the colorado killer knew how to act in fact he was a tactical smart white killing machine.
David Snider white people are one person riots. they kill numerous all by themselves because they are EDUCATED AND NON IGNORANT!!!LOL
shirley you are a black racist.. using terms like whitey… now if i called you blackie or darkie it would be considered racisim.. but you can get away with calling us whitey. seriously get over the slavery card.. that was over 100 years ago.. and as far as the guy in colorado. he is a grade a wackjob that needs the death penelty… what happend to travon martin was of his own doing by attacking zimmerman.
nadathing: now thats real black of you to say that, and you wonder why there is a problem in the first place, and this is why, ATTITUDE
Because it's not illegal to refuse advice from police phone sectaries they usually get you in more crap anyways. If the guy was white who got shot there would be no-problem but Obama making statements about gun control and it being a black kid fueled the media propaganda…You sheep!
Shirley..Zimmerman is Hispanic not white ( maybe half but Obama is half white and you guys call him black?) You are the racist trying to put race labels on everything. it was a young punk and a over the top wanna be rent a cop…See if we took the money we spend on regulation and spend it on education this problem and you're ignorance on a subject of this matter would not occur.
" I met a white guy whose parents are from S.Africa…He asked me if he was African American and what exactly is a Caucasian?"
go get an Obama phone and call someone who believes your crap
Shirley is a Black Suprimist she hates white people
Sounds like it.
If Trayvon had kept his mouth SHUT and kept walking he would be alive today.