US
              FILE - In a Tuesday, July 2, 2013 file pool photo, Judge Debra Nelson instructs the jury at the George Zimmerman trial in Seminole circuit court, in Sanford, Fla. After presenting more than three dozen witnesses over two weeks, prosecutors rested their case on Friday.As is typical after the prosecution rests, the defense asked Judge Nelson to acquit Zimmerman, claiming prosecutors’ didn’t prove their case. The judge denied the request. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Joe Burbank, Pool, File)

Judge won’t allow Trayvon Martin’s texts in Zimmerman trial

Photo of Chuck Ross
Chuck Ross
Reporter

SANFORD, Fla. – Judge Debra Nelson ruled Wednesday against two key pieces of evidence sought by George Zimmerman’s defense team.

Nelson said that text messages from Trayvon Martin’s phone which allegedly showed the slain teen to have a burgeoning penchant for violence will not be allowed into evidence.

Richard Conner, a computer forensics expert hired by the defense, was able to unlock “secret” text messages from the phone number used by Martin.

In those text messages sent from Martin’s phone — which analysts for the state were not able to obtain — Martin was said to have had conversations with friends about getting into fights. Martin’s half-brother allegedly asked Martin, “when you gonna teach me how to fight?”

Martin also sent text messages showing he was looking to obtain a handgun, he said. Those texts were sent in the week before Martin’s February 2012 visit to Sanford.

Nelson had put a decision on Martin’s text messages on hold prior to the trial. Both sides argued late into Tuesday evening over the relevance of the texts. State attorney John Guy argued “we don’t know who typed these messages, we don’t know if they’re connected.”

Nelson agreed, citing the “authenticity issue”.

Nelson also blocked animation created by Daniel Schumaker. The animation relied on witness testimony and statements to re-create the defense’s theory about the altercation between Zimmerman and Martin leading up to Martin’s death.

Schumaker relied on analysis provided by Vincent di Maio, the renowned gunshot expert who testified Tuesday the Zimmerman’s story — that Martin was on top of Zimmerman when he was shot — is consistent with the available evidence.

“This is a murder trial. This isn’t ‘Casablanca.’ This isn’t ‘Iron Man’,” argued state attorney Richard Mantei.

A point of contention Tuesday night was whether Martin first struck Zimmerman with his right or left hand.

Nelson ruled that while the animation cannot be introduced into evidence, it can be used as a demonstrative tool by the defense.