ABC News has been given a photograph that might make the difference between life in prison and a walk. For weeks, we have been discussing the case and the application of the Stand Your Ground law. As discussed earlier, I think the case was over-charged and I remain doubtful of a conviction. This picture will likely be the single most important piece of evidence in the case. It shows Zimmerman with significant blood on the back of his head — an image that supports accounts from the scene and will be used to corroborate Zimmerman’s account of a struggle with Trayvon Martin where he feared serious bodily injury. [UPDATE: Zimmerman granted bond].
Unlike the photos of Zimmerman at the police station, this photo was taken a few minutes after the fight. Zimmerman’s shaved head could prove Godsend for Zimmerman. Had he had longer hair, the injury would have not appeared so stark.
The photo shows both cuts and a contusion — injuries that would normally be defined as serious bodily injury by many courts in torts cases where head injuries are treated as inherently potentially serious. The original police report said that he was bleeding from the nose and head and that his clothes looked like he had been in a fight. Zimmerman claims that it was Martin who jumped him, punched him, and pounded his head on to the concrete sidewalk.
The prosecutors can still argue that they do not contest the fight but that Zimmerman started it. However, with this photo, the charge of second-degree murder appears even more excessive and undermines Special Prosecutor Angela Corey’s claim that she was not affected by the political pressure to charge Zimmerman. I can understand a manslaughter charge, even with the photo, but no reasonable prosecutor would consider the second-degree murder charge as based on this evidence. Corey clearly must have seen this photo and the reports before her charging of Zimmerman.
The photo should also assist Zimmerman in his efforts to get bail.
Zimmerman, 28, is still being held on charges of second-degree murder of Martin, 17. In my view, a denial of bail would be an abuse and unwarranted given the fact that Zimmerman cooperated at the scene and voluntarily turned himself in.