Four witnesses — all unnamed — in the Trayvon Martin second-degree murder case are changing their accounts of what they saw on the night he was shot to death by George Zimmerman, according to reports in the Orlando Sentinel.
The newspaper reported Wednesday that according to evidence released last week, one witness dropped assertions made in her first police statement and three others changed their initial stories in subsequent interviews. All of the witnesses were at the Sanford, Fla., gated community Retreat at Twin Lakes on Feb. 26, the night of the shooting.
One witness said she saw a fistfight and two figures chasing each other. “I saw two guys running. Couldn’t tell you who was in front, who was behind,” she told lead investigator Chris Serino. But when speaking to a Florida Department of Law Enforcement official later, she said she only saw one figure running and could not describe much about it. “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.”
Another witness at first told police she couldn’t be sure who was on top as the two fought, Martin or Zimmerman. Six days later, in a recorded session with prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda, she said she was sure Zimmerman was on top. “I know after seeing the TV of what’s happening, comparing their sizes, I think Zimmerman was definitely on top because of his size,” the witness said.
One more witness, who lives just a few feet from where Martin and Zimmerman fought, said he first saw a black man on top “throwing down blows on the guy, MMA-style,” adding that the one calling for help was Zimmerman. But a few weeks later, when he was also interviewed by and FDLE agent, he said he couldn’t tell who was yelling for help “because it was so dark out on that sidewalk.” He also said Martin may not have been throwing punches, but instead may have been pinning Zimmerman to the ground. Still, he insisted, “the black guy was on top.”
A fourth witness, possibly most important because he actually spoke with Zimmerman after the shooting, said he saw Zimmerman with blood on the back of his head. Zimmerman asked the man to call his wife and tell her what happened. He said Martin “was beating up on me, so I had to shoot him.” In two interviews that took place a month later, the witness says demeanor was not excited or upset, but rather calm.
Zimmerman’s demeanor, the witness said was “not like ‘I can’t believe I just shot someone!’ — it was more like, ‘Just tell my wife I shot somebody …,’ like it was nothing.”
Twenty-two people are listed as witnesses in the case. The four whose stories changed will likely undergo more interviewing before Zimmerman’s trial begins. His next court date is scheduled for Aug. 8.