Medical Report Lends Support to Zimmerman Defense

May 16, 2012 Updated: May 16, 2012

A recently released doctor’s report of injuries sustained by neighborhood watch volunteer, George Zimmerman, may support his claim of self-defense in the Feb. 26 shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

According to ABC News, Zimmerman’s family physician examined the suspect the day after the incident, diagnosing him with lacerations to the back of his head, two black eyes, and a broken nose. Zimmerman also suffered from a back injury, according to the medical report.

“It goes along with Zimmerman’s story that he acted in self-defense, because he was getting beat up by Trayvon Martin,” said WFTV’s legal analyst Bill Sheaffer, according to a report on the Orlando station’s website.

Zimmerman claims he was fighting for his life after Martin assaulted him, punching his face and bashing his head into the pavement. He said he fired into Martin’s chest when the teen seemed to reach for a gun in Zimmerman’s waistband.

Trayvon Martin’s parents see it differently. “I believe that George Zimmerman hunted my son like an animal, tried to detain my son,” said Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton, in a March interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan. “My son tried to get away and because [Zimmerman] could not detain my son, an altercation ensued and my son was shot and killed.”

During the same interview, the Martin family’s attorney, Benjamin Crump, also questioned Zimmerman’s claims of being beaten, and of shooting in self-defense. The lawyer even accused the police of covering up the facts in the case, after the release of a lower resolution police video appeared to contradict Zimmerman’s claim of injuries.

“This clearly shows that that police report was a fabrication. When they say there was blood on the back of his head, there was a broken nose … You don’t see any of that,” Crump said in the March 28 broadcast. He added that with no evidence of injuries sustained by Zimmerman, “it’s obvious to us that there was something that night that they conspired to cover this up, to cover up the death of Trayvon Martin.”

The release of the medical report on April 15 appears to support Zimmerman’s story. The 28-year-old is presently out on bail after pleading not guilty to charges of second-degree murder.

What may also lend credence to the defense is a WFTV report Tuesday on Trayvon Martin’s autopsy, which showed broken skin on the knuckles of his hands. Sheaffer said it was better evidence for the defense than the prosecution, as it supports Zimmerman’s claim he was being struck.

The prosecution released documents and other evidence to Zimmerman’s defense team on Tuesday, according to an AP/WJLA report. The evidence list reveals the state’s approach to the case, and includes a list of witnesses, the autopsy report, pictures of the defendant’s wounds, videos, and other evidence.

Also this week, WFTV on Monday reported that the FBI could be pursuing hate crime charges against Zimmerman. The state prosecutors allege that the defendant racially profiled and stalked Martin before shooting him, which brought FBI scrutiny as to whether to file hate crime charges.

If they do, and Zimmerman is convicted, he could face the death penalty or life in prison.

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