The murder case against half-Latino neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman was dealt a devastating blow Tuesday, when prosecutors acknowledged that their star witness, the 19-year old former girlfriend of the late Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, lied under oath.
The woman, who also told police she was on the phone with Martin shortly before his death, falsely testified that she was in the hospital on the day of Martin’s funeral — perhaps to garner sympathy.
“In fact, she lied,” defense attorney Don West said. Prosecutors also acknowledged her lie, but were reportedly vague about whether they would charge the woman with perjury.
The woman’s lie demonstrates another hole in the second-degree murder case against Zimmerman.
Zimmerman faces trial for second-degree murder after he shot and killed 17-year old Florida teenager Trayvon Martin in February 2012. Martin was suspended from school at the time of the shooting. Zimmerman claims he acted in self-defense while Martin pummeled him with punches, slammed his head against the pavement, and reached for Zimmerman’s gun. Photographs from the night of the shooting showing cuts and gashes on the back of Zimmerman’s head seem to corroborate Zimmerman’s version of events.
The case gained national attention after well-funded civil-rights activist and MSNBC host Al Sharpton held a rally in Sanford, Florida demanding Zimmerman’s arrest. National media outlets also pushed the narrative that Zimmerman was guilty of murder and must be charged. President Obama said in a White House press conference, “If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon.”
Zimmerman’s trial is set to begin June 10.