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Trayvon Witness Statements Altered, May Harm Zimmerman's Defense

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  • Murder suspect George Zimmerman looks on during a bond hearing in Sanford, Fla., in this still image taken from video April 20, 2012. Zimmerman is accused of second degree murder in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin.
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Murder suspect George Zimmerman looks on during a bond hearing in Sanford, Fla., in this still image taken from video April 20, 2012. Zimmerman is accused of second degree murder in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin.
By Benge Nsenduluka, CP Reporter
May 23, 2012|11:55 am

Four key witnesses in the Trayvon Martin case have altered what they initially claimed to have seen and heard on the night that confessed shooter George Zimmerman killed the unarmed teen, it has been revealed.

New evidence has revealed that three witnesses have changed their accounts of what exactly they witnessed and the major changes could assist prosecutors in their quest to convict Zimmerman of second-degree murder, according to United Press International.

Witness 13, which critics believe is the most crucial witness, reportedly spoke with Zimmerman, 28, immediately after the shooting, which the self appointed neighborhood watch captain insists occurred out of self-defense.

Zimmerman allegedly told Witness 13 that "[Trayvon] was beating up on me, so I had to shoot him," the witness told lead investigator Chris Serino. He then asked the witness to call his wife, Shellie Zimmerman, and inform her about what had happened.

A month later, the witness described Zimmerman's demeanor as being unfazed after the shooting during an interview with investigators.

When speaking to Zimmerman his tone 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," witness 13 said.

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Martin, a 17-year-old student, was shot and killed outside of a gated community in Sanford., Fla. on Feb. 26 and while his parents believe that their late son was murdered, Zimmerman claims that the teen attacked him and that he had no choice but to shoot.

Witness 2, who has been described as a young woman who lives in the Retreat at Twin Lakes community where Trayvon was shot, was interviewed four days after the shooting and told investigators that she witnessed part of the incident.

"I saw two guys running. Couldn't tell you who was in front, who was behind. [I] saw a fist fight. Just fists. I don't know who was hitting who," she told Serino.

Her account changed one week later during an interview with Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) Investigator John Batchelor.

"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," Witness 2 told Batchelor.

Witness 12, said to be a young mother, was interviewed three weeks after the shooting on March 20 and first claimed that she saw two people on the ground and one on top of the other but couldn't make out who was who.

"I don't know which one. … All I saw when they were on the ground was dark colors," she told the FDLE.

Six days later she appeared to be more certain about the incident in an interview with trial prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda.

"I know after seeing the TV of what's happening, comparing their sizes, I think Zimmerman was definitely on top because of his size," she said during a 2-and-a-half-minute recorded session.

Witness 6, who lives a few feet from where Trayvon and Zimmerman collided, spoke to investigators on the night of the shooting and initially claimed that Martin was attacking Zimmerman.

He claims that he saw a black man "just throwing down blows on the [light skinned] guy, MMA-style," also adding that the one calling for help was "the one being beat up," during an interview with Serino.

Three weeks later he was unsure during an interview with the FDLE.

"I truly can't tell who, after thinking about it, was yelling for help just because it was so dark out on that sidewalk," he said.

The witness also backtracked on his statements that Martin was beating Zimmerman saying that the teen may have simply been keeping Zimmerman pinned to the ground.

Zimmerman was quietly released on $150,000 bond last month and faces up to life in prison if convicted.

 

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