At the George Zimmerman trial on Tuesday, defense attorneys tried to get Trayvon Martin’s text messages and phone photos regarding fighting and guns admitted into court, the Associated Press reported. Zimmerman is on trial on second-degree murder charges for the Feb. 26, 2012, killing of the unarmed teenager.
The 29-year-old former neighborhood watch captain’s attorneys called a forensic computer analyst to the stand to testify that there were text messages on Martin’s phone that showed he was trying to buy or sell a gun. The witness spoke to Judge Debra Nelson with the jury out of the Sanford, Fla., courtroom.
The judge ruled the information about the 17-year-old victim being interested in firearms and fighting could not be used during opening statements, but left open the possibility of the defense reintroducing the texts and photos later. She has not yet decided.
The defense won a point in court earlier Tuesday when expert witness Dr. Vincent Di Maio, a forensic pathologist who has written four books on gunshot wounds, testified that Martin was on top of Zimmerman when he was shot. That fits with how the accused depicted the series of events.
“This is consistent with Mr. Zimmerman’s account,” Di Maio said in court. “That Mr. Martin was over him, leaning forward, at the time that he was shot.” He said he was paid $2,400 to date by the defense team to testify at the trial and added, “This is not exactly a complicated case forensically.”
Zimmerman, who is half-white and half-Hispanic, maintains he shot the black teenager in self-defense. The case became a national issue when it was assumed the altercation was racially motivated and ignited a debate in the country about racial profiling and gun laws.