Law-enforcement expert Dennis Root testified today in the George Zimmerman trial that there is no evidence that Zimmerman acted out of ill will, spite, or evil intent when he shot and killed Trayvon Martin.
To convict Zimmerman of second-degree murder, the state must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the shooting was motivated by hatred.
Prosecutor John Guy had argued Zimmerman’s use of profane language in a call to police moments before Martin’s death demonstrates that Zimmerman deliberately targeted the victim. But Root disputed that interpretation, and explained that Zimmerman was referring not to Martin when he swore in the call to police, but to previous burglaries in his community. As a neighborhood-watch captain, in the past Zimmerman had made a number of calls to police reporting suspicious behavior and none of them had been acted upon.
“If you look at the context in which it was stated,” said Root, “his reference in that statement was addressing his frustration with previous instances in which the individuals got away . . . In and of itself I don’t see that variable as showing ill will.”
Root also told jurors that the nature of the gun shot does not suggest that Zimmerman acted in an overly aggressive manner.