AFRICANGLOBE – The so-called evidence that George Zimmerman’s attorneys have uncovered on Trayvon Martin’s cellphone paints a troubling picture of the Miami Gardens teenager: He sent text messages about being a fighter, smoking marijuana and being ordered to move out of his home by his mother, none of which had anything to do with his murder.
And photos from that phone offer more of the same: healthy green plants — what appear to be marijuana — growing in pots and a .40-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun.
Defense attorneys on Thursday gave formal notice to prosecutors that they intend to use those and other reputation-damaging pieces of evidence about Trayvon Martin once Zimmerman’s second-degree-murder trial begins June 10.
Prosecutors say they’re not relevant and should be barred.
Circuit Judge Debra S. Nelson must decide. Those issues may come up at a hearing Tuesday in Sanford.
Overall, the evidence made public Thursday by Zimmerman’s attorneys portray Trayvon Martin as a wannabe gangster who couldn’t stay out of trouble.
The high-school junior had no arrest record, but he had been suspended from school more than once.
The slander packet contains more than two dozen photos, including one that shows Trayvon with gold teeth and two of him making an obscene gesture. Those have been widely circulated online since shortly after the shooting, and it’s not clear where defense attorneys found them, but as of Thursday, they officially became part of Zimmerman’s criminal case.
The text messages that Trayvon wrote about fighting may be the most damaging to the state.
In October, the judge said any history of violence on his part might be relevant. And violent and aggressive is how Zimmerman, a former Neighborhood Watch vigilante, described Trayvon Martin’s actions the day he shot the teenager in Sanford on Feb. 26, 2012.
Zimmerman told police that after the two exchanged words, Trayvon Martin punched him, breaking his nose and knocking him to the ground, then climbed on top and began hammering his head on a sidewalk. The accused murderer told police he fired in self-defense.
One eyewitness initially described Trayvon Martin as standing over Zimmerman and fighting “MMA-style,” a reference to mixed-martial-arts fighting.
The text messages released Thursday were heavily redacted but made no reference to “MMA fighting.” They did, however, include references to Trayvon being in fights.
On Nov. 22, 2011, three months before the shooting, Trayvon Martin wrote about being involved in a fight. His unnamed opponent, he wrote, “got mo hits cause in da 1stround he had me on da ground an I couldn’t do ntn.”
Six weeks earlier he wrote a text message about problems at school involving a fight: “I was watcn a fight nd a teacher say I hit em.”
He also exchanged text messages with friends about smoking marijuana.
Defense attorneys are expected to argue the marijuana use is relevant because in a phone call to police a few minutes before the shooting, Zimmerman described Trayvon Martin as acting as if he were on drugs.
In texts on Feb.20, 2012, Trayvon Martin wrote about hiding his “weed,” and tells someone he is going to the Orlando area for several days.
That appears to be a reference to his being suspended from school for 10days after being found with an empty marijuana baggie in his backpack.
On Feb. 13, he sent a text to a friend, acknowledging that 10-day suspension: “I got in sum trouble 2day.”
By: Rene Stutzman and Jeff Weiner