The defense attorneys in the George Zimmerman trial may not have to put on a case after all. It appears as if the prosecution's witnesses are doing a great job for the defense.
So far, the state's witnesses have been able to establish very little proof of second-degree murder.
The prosecution's "star witness," a young woman who was on the phone with alleged victim Trayvon Martin as he walked home from 7-11, could not testify as to what occurred or who started the confrontation that led to Martin's death. She appeared unsophisticated, immature, and at times her credibility was called into question with prior statements she had made that turned out to be false.
The neighbors who witnessed the fight between Zimmerman and Martin could not see much in the dark. Some thought that the larger Zimmerman may have been on top but one neighbor, who watched the two men tussle, believed that Martin was straddled on top of Zimmerman and was throwing punches.
Zimmerman had injuries to his face. While one state witness who examined Zimmerman on the night of the shooting called the injuries "insignificant," they are still proof that Zimmerman had been struck, likely more than once.
Florida's self-defense jury instruction does not require an accused person to actually be injured in order to use lethal self-defense.
A person must reasonably believe that lethal force is absolutely necessary to save your life or prevent serious injury.
So if Zimmerman had been knocked to the ground by Martin and punched in the face repeatedly, the jury must determine whether he possessed a reasonable belief that he needed to shoot Martin in the chest in order to save his life or prevent serious injury. The actual level of injury is important, but it is not the determining factor in deciding whether Zimmerman used lawful self-defense.
At this point in the trial, I can almost guarantee you that the jury will not come back guilty on second-degree murder. There is simply not enough evidence. The state overcharged Zimmerman, just like they did with Casey Anthony.
There is still a good chance of a guilty on the lesser-included offense of aggravated manslaughter. This has long been my prediction because I believe that the jury will decide that Zimmerman could have prevented this death by listening to the 911 dispatcher by not following Martin. His conduct, therefore, could satisfy the element of manslaughter that he "intentionally committed an act or acts that caused the death of the victim."
However, if the state cannot prove - at least circumstantially - that Zimmerman actually initiated a confrontation with Martin, the verdict will likely be not guilty.