New evidence released in the murder case of Trayvon Martin reveals issues that delve more deeply into what happened the night the teen was killed, although it does not seem to shine a brighter light on him or his killer, George Zimmerman.
Martin’s autopsy shows he had tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the active ingredient in marijuana, in his system, ABC News reported. The autopsy also revealed that the fatal gunshot wound in Martin’s chest was fired at close range, which may be consistent with other evidence that the two got into a fight of some kind. Zimmerman told police that Martin attacked him and bashed his head into the pavement repeatedly. The autopsy showed a cut on one of Martin’s fingers, also indicating a struggle.
Martin was visiting his father in a gated community in Sanford, Fla., while serving a suspension from school for being caught with a bag containing marijuana residue. However, the traces of THC in his system do not mean he used the drug the night he was killed. THC can stay in the human body for as long as 30 days or more, depending on the potency of the individual plant, how much was used and the physiological makeup of the user.
The autopsy report is just one piece of a trove of evidence released by Florida special prosecutor Angela Corey, who has charged Zimmerman with second-degree murder in the case. Other evidence includes 911-call recordings, video of both Martin and Zimmerman, 67 compact discs filled with documents related to the case, and a photo taken by one of the police officers at the scene that shows Zimmerman’s bloodied nose.
The photo, taken by officer Michael Wagner and downloaded to his computer, had not been seen before; Wagner hadn’t shown it to anyone until he found out there were no other photos of Zimmerman taken at the scene, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
The report also includes the statement of a witness who says he observed Martin on top of Zimmerman, punching him as he lay on the ground, then hearing a “pop” — which is consistent with Zimmerman’s report of being in a fight with Martin, then firing his weapon and killing him. But police have no witnesses who actually say how the fight started or whether Zimmerman provoked the incident, as prosecutors have charged.
Still, a portion of the report also says police believe the entire altercation could have been avoided if Zimmerman had stayed in his car and waited until police arrived.
“The encounter between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin was ultimately avoidable by Zimmerman, if Zimmerman had remained in his vehicle and awaited the arrival of law enforcement or conversely if he had identified himself to Martin as a concerned citizen and initiated dialogue to dispel each party’s concern,” the Sanford police department’s report says. “There is no indication that Trayvon Martin was involved in any criminal activity at the time of the encounter.”
The police report goes on to state that there was probable cause to arrest Zimmerman for the shooting, although Seminole County prosecutor Norm Wolfinger later declined to do so, citing that he believed that probable cause did not exist.