Zimmerman’s lawyers say the photo was taken by a police officer on February 26, the night Zimmerman shot and killed the 17-year-old Martin near his father’s home in Sanford, Florida following a confrontation between the two. The 29-year-old Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty to the second-degree murder charges and was released from Seminole County Jail on $1 million bond in July.
The photo was published on GZlegalcase.com, a website created by Zimmerman and his defense attorneys. Although the same picture was made public earlier this year as black-and-white photocopy, this high-resolution version comes shortly after the same website announced a “thank-you” card defense fund intended to raise money for Zimmerman.
Lawyers on both sides of the case disagree on the picture’s significance.
“It’s not a game changer,” Zimmerman lawyer Mark O’Mara told Reuters, adding its only importance was how it vividly showed the injuries Zimmerman sustained during his confrontation with Martin.
“Does it really show what happened that night to George? Yes,” O’Mara said.
An attorney who represents Martin’s family, Ben Crump, told Reuters the photo adds nothing new to the case.
“Trayvon Martin was defending himself,” Crump said. “He had every right to stand his ground to defend himself.”
Zimmerman says he shot Martin in self-defense. Martin’s attorneys say he was shot and killed “in cold blood.”
Zimmerman faces second-degree murder charges when his trial begins in June.
Zimmerman, a volunteer neighborhood watchman, was driving through his gated community when the incident occurred. Martin was walking through the neighborhood to his father’s girlfriend’s house.
Zimmerman has claimed that after the two exchanged words, Martin charged at him, knocked him to the ground and banged his head repeatedly against a concrete sidewalk.
Martin’s family says Zimmerman attacked the teen, who had done nothing wrong.
A police report from the night of the incident said Zimmerman was “bleeding from the nose and back of his head.”
Martin’s death sparked nationwide protests and inflamed public passions over race relations and gun control, as well as Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law, which allows the use of deadly force when a person perceives a threat to safety.
In August, a new judge was named to oversee the case, after an appeals court agreed to a request from Zimmerman’s defense team. The attorneys had argued the previous judge had made remarks putting Zimmerman in reasonable fear of an unfair trial.