Zimmerman Update: A New Book, DNA, and School Records
One of George Zimmerman’s confidantes, Mark Osterman, has published a book about the man accused in the murder of Trayvon Martin, the Florida teen who Zimmerman shot and killed after a confrontation in Zimmerman’s neighborhood.
In keeping with the circus-like atmosphere that has grown up around the case, Osterman (along with his wife Sondra) has written a book that flies in the face not only of recently released state evidence in the case, but also of Zimmerman’s account of the fight that led to Trayvon’s death.
According to a report of Osterman’s sensational account of the scuffle, Trayvon, who was unarmed, wrested Zimmerman’s gun from him as they fought on the ground and cursed at Zimmerman, who then broke the teen’s grip on the gun, regained control of it, and shot him in the chest.
But Zimmerman has never said that Martin actually touched the 9 mm gun – which was confirmed Sept. 19 when the state released a batch of evidence including tests that revealed only Zimmerman’s DNA on the gun. He has said that Martin reached for the gun.
Zimmerman’s lawyer, Mark O’Mara, was quick to respond to the Osterman book, reportedly admitting that while there are plenty of variations of the story about that rainy February night in Sanford, Fla., he is not worried about his client’s case: “If everyone’s story was exactly the same,” O’Mara said, “then it would smack of a lie.”
School Records Still an Issue
According to O’Mara’s website for the case, the prosecution is essentially done releasing its evidence, and the defense is now seeking evidence from the state, including Trayvon Martin’s school records, social media data, “reports related to chain of custody to key evidence, interviews and more.”
While most of this evidence will be posted to the site as it becomes public record, says O’Mara, that’s not true of Martin’s school records, which are protected “and will NOT be part of the public record, without appropriate court order.”
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In fact, a hearing will take place Oct. 19 over whether O’Mara’s subpoena of Martin’s records will be granted, according to the Orlando Sentinel. “Trayvon’s school records have become a contentious issue because police reported that he was in Sanford the night he was shot – and not in high school in Miami-Dade – because he’d been suspended for 10 days after officials found him with an empty marijuana baggie,” according to the Sentinel.
On August 9, prosecutors released a slew of discovery that mistakenly included Zimmerman’s academic records and a grainy photograph of Trayvon Martin lying on the ground after he was killed. Despite an attempt to recall the email and requests to the media to use “professional courtesy” and not use the information attached to it until it could be properly reviewed and cleared, blogs and then local paper the Palm Beach Post went ahead and reported on it.
According to the Post, the improperly released records show that Zimmerman bombed his criminal justice courses at Seminole State College. He’d already been placed on academic probation and denied an associate’s degree when he shot and killed Martin; the college expelled him shortly after.