George Zimmerman's defense releases potentially damaging Trayvon texts


George Zimmerman (R) enters into the courtroom of Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester on April 20, 2012, in Sanford, Florida.


Allison Joyce

The defense team for George Zimmerman, the man charged with second degree murder in the shooting death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, has posted online dozens of text messages and photos from the teen's cell phone.

It's not clear whether jurors will ever see the newly-released evidence because it may not be admissible in court. 

Zimmerman is expected to go on trial in June for shooting the unarmed 17-year-old at close range in Sanford, Fla. in February of last year.

Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch volunteer, has pleaded not guilty and maintains he acted in self defense after Martin attacked him.

Mark O'Mara, Zimmerman's lead defense attorney, said he will try to use the new evidence when the trial begins on June 10.

The digital evidence includes text conversations Martin had where he discusses being suspended from school, marijuana and guns.

"U wanna share a .380 w/ (blacked out)," a text sent from Martin's phone said, apparently referencing guns.

Several texts suggested Martin was using marijuana.

"I got weed nd I get money Friday," a message sent from his phone said.

"I hid m weed," another text sent from Martin's phone reads. "its wrapped."

In one text message exchange sent 12 days before Martin's death last year, he tells an unidentified friend that he has been suspended from school.

"Why you not in school?" reads a text sent to Martin's phone.


"I thought you was going out with ur friend."

"Naw my ol g say she dont want me home caus she think ima get in mo trouble," Martin allegedly texts back.

The team also released 25 photos from Martin's cell phone including ones showing a semiautomatic pistol and ammunition.

Another photo shows Martin in an apparent self-portrait, making an obscene gesture and displaying his gold teeth.

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Benjamin Crump, a lawyer for the Martin family, said the new evidence should be deemed "irrelevant".

"Is the defense trying to prove Trayvon deserved to be killed by George Zimmerman because (of) the way he looked?" Crump said in a statement released Thursday.

"If so, this stereotypical and closed-minded thinking is the same mindset that caused George Zimmerman to get out of his car and pursue Trayvon, an unarmed kid who he didn't know. The pretrial release of these irrelevant red herrings is a desperate and pathetic attempt by the defense to pollute and sway the jury pool."

Bob Dekle, who teaches law at the University of Florida, told the Christian Science Monitor that the evidence was unlikely to ever be shown in court.

"On a plea of self-defense you can sometimes get into evidence of prior violent acts or character of the deceased … but saying something about fist fights in high school? Kids get into fist fights at school. I did, and I don’t think that made me someone that needed to be shot," he said.

A key pretrial hearing set for Tuesday will decide whether some phone records, autopsy reports and photos will be admissible in court.

The judge will also weigh a request by Zimmerman's defense to delay the trial's start date by six weeks.