First, Jonathan Good, Zimmerman’s neighbor and a prosecution eyewitness, testified that he saw Martin straddling Zimmerman’s chest in “mixed-martial-arts position” as the two struggled on a cement walkway. Good said he saw “arm movements going downward.”
“The person you now know to be Trayvon Martin was on top, correct?” Zimmerman’s attorney, Mark O’Mara, asked Good. “He was the one raining blows down on George Zimmerman, correct?”
Good replied: “That’s what it looked like.”
Mind you, Good was a witness for the prosecution. His sworn testimony — as much as anyone else’s — scuttled the state’s case.
Second, Zimmerman’s broken nose and the cuts on the back of his head appeared to bolster his claim that Martin assaulted him.
Third, Sanford Police officer Timothy Smith, the first cop on the scene, testified that “the back of [Zimmerman’s jacket] was wetter than the front of it, and it was also covered in grass,” and said the same was true of Zimmerman’s blue jeans. Officer Smith’s statements reinforced Zimmerman’s claim that he was on his back, as Martin sat astride his torso, pinning him down and beating him.
Fourth, Sanford police asked Martin’s father to identify the voice of someone on a 911 recording, screaming for help, just before Zimmerman fired his gun. Tracy Martin testified that he first replied: “I can’t tell.” He eventually concluded that the voice was Trayvon’s, but only after police played Tracy the recording at least 20 times. Martin’s father’s initial reasonable doubts about that voice likely amplified the jury’s reasonable doubts about this pivotal aspect of the prosecution’s case.
No one knows precisely what happened that night in Sanford. However, it was the prosecution’s job to prove Zimmerman’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. For better or worse, the state of Florida’s case didn’t clear that hurdle; it crashed into it. Zimmerman and his attorneys had to prove nothing in Room 5-D of the Seminole County Court House, since their client was presumed innocent — just like every other criminal defendant in America’s 237-year history.
Once these and other reasonable doubts short-circuited the prosecution’s efforts to prove Zimmerman’s guilt, he correctly was acquitted. Whether Al Sharpton, Eric Holder, and Obama like it or not, that’s how America’s justice system works.
If, instead, Americans want to base justice on emotion, feelings, suspicions, racial grievances, and concerns about parenting and family structure, great. Let’s establish such a structure by amending the U.S. Constitution, revising state and local statutes, and overturning 947 years of English common law. Until then, defendants remain innocent until proven guilty — and Florida did not prove Zimmerman guilty.
This is a nasty, dreadful tragedy. A 17-year-old boy is now beneath a tombstone. His parents, relatives, friends, and other loved ones likely will spend his birthdays not handing him gifts but, instead, placing roses on his grave.
George Zimmerman has avoided jail and, according to the jury, rightly so. Still, he appears to be in hiding and likely will remain so while so many are bent on vengeance rather than justice. His parents have received death threats. This says far less about them than it does about the rank indecency of some who reject the jury’s verdict.
Now, poor Trayvon Benjamin Martin is six feet under. Rather than serve as a prop for debates both Left and Right, he should be allowed to rest in peace.
Like it or not, Lady Justice has spoken.
— Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor, a nationally syndicated columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service, and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford University.