Trayvon Martin case: Witnesses now changing their stories


George Zimmerman seen here after his arrest on April 11, 2012. Zimmerman's arrest follows weeks of anger and debate throughout the country in response to the murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman's attorney said his client would plead not guilty and invoke Florida's "stand your ground" law, which gives people wide latitude to use deadly force rather than retreat during a fight.


Sanford Police Department

Four witnesses in the Trayvon Martin case have either modified, or completely changed their stories since police first began their investigation. 

Three changed their stories in ways that may damage George Zimmerman, the man who fatally shot 17-year-old Martin, according to the Orlando Sentinel. A fourth abandoned her initial story, that she saw one person chasing another. Now, she says, she saw a single figure running.

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The Sentinel noted the key ways each witness changed their story: 

Witness 2: At first, she told authorities that she had taken out her contact lenses just before the incident. In her first recorded interview with Sanford police four days after the shooting, she told lead Investigator Chris Serino, "I saw two guys running. Couldn't tell you who was in front, who was behind." She also said she say a fist fight but couldn't say who was hitting who. 

When she was interviewed again, she no longer recalled seeing a second runner. She said, "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 12: During her first interview she said she saw two people on the ground immediately after the shooting and was not sure who was on top, Zimmerman or Trayvon. "I don't know which one. … All I saw when they were on the ground was dark colors," she said.

Six days later, she changed her story to say without a doubt, it was Zimmerman on top. 

Witness 6: This man reportedly lives feet from where Martin and Zimmerman had their fight. In his initial interview he said he saw a black man on top of a lighter-skinned man "just throwing down blows on the guy, MMA-style."

In his second interview, witness six said, "I truly can't tell who, after thinking about it, was yelling for help just because it was so dark out on that sidewalk."

Witness 13: This witness may be the most key witness in the case. He is the one witness to speak with and see Zimmerman immediately following the shooting. In his initial interview he said after he heard gunfire, he went outside and spotted Zimmerman standing there with"blood on the back of his head." Zimmerman reportedly told him that Trayvon "was beating up on me, so I had to shoot him."

In later interviews, this witness recounted that Zimmerman spoke about the shooting as if it were no big deal.The witness said Zimmerman's 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."

In another recent development in the case, The Miami Herald reported that in the past, Zimmerman had complained of corruption in the Sanford Police department. 

"I would just like to state that the law is written in black and white," Zimmerman said during a 90-second statement to city commissioners at a community forum in 2011. "It should not and cannot be enforced in the gray for those who are in the thin blue line."

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