The NY Times can't quite bring itself to report on the latest news in the Zimmerman case - Zimmerman's medical file shows he was banged up and Martin's autopsy showed bloody knuckles - so they hand the mike to the Ben Crump, the Martin family attorney, and rehash every possible mistake made by the Sanford PD.
Presumably their goal is to pretend that, however ludicrous the current situation, the media and the prosecutor acted in good faith in bringing us here.
What would really be impressive would be a mea culpa about the Times mis-reporting and errors. Some of those errors have been corrected. On the other hand, the Times also makes new ones, such as the laugher in today's story (my emphasis):
Given Mr. Zimmerman’s assertion that he was acting in self-defense, and lacking enough evidence to the contrary, the original prosecutor in the case, Norm Wolfinger, whose jurisdiction includes Sanford, filed no charges against him.
That decision resulted in an increasingly strident public outcry. After Gov. Rick Scott of Florida contacted Mr. Wolfinger and had a conversation with him in late March, the prosecutor recused himself, citing, among other things, an unspecified conflict of interest.
He cited "an unspecified conflict of interest"? Really? Until I can find the full letter I will have to rely on this reporting, which quotes the letter as follows:
"In the interest of the public safety of the citizens of Seminole County and to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest, I would respectfully request the executive assignment of another state attorney for the investigation and any prosecution arising from the circumstances surrounding the death of Trayvon B. Martin," Wolfinger wrote.
I think even the Times can understand the difference between the appearance of a conflict and an unspecified conflict. And I am sure many of their readers could, if the Times chose to report this accurately.
Full disclosure - I had my fun with this at the end of March. Basically, lefties and Ben Crump, the Al Sharpton of the South, were screaming that we needed a new investigation, that the Sanford PD was inept, and that DA Wolfinger was covering for their ineptitude by not charging Zimmerman. My goodness, even the Times was aware of some of this.
Then Wolfinger stepped down, citing a desire to avoid the *appearance* of a conflict. Immediately lefties began screaming that it was Very Suspicious that he had stepped down, and wondering about the mysterious conflict that forced him to do so.
Whatever. The Times may fix this one day.
JUST ONE MORE: The Times can't let go of the notion that slack gun control and Stand Your Ground is the problem:
What appears unchanged since the beginning, however, is that investigators say they do not know who started the fight. Florida’s controversial Stand Your Ground law, which has come to shadow a number of homicide cases since it was adopted in 2005, justifies the use of deadly force in certain threatening situations but does not require a person to retreat. The law became the framework within which the police and prosecutors had to work after Mr. Zimmerman claimed that Mr. Martin confronted and pounced on him.
Stand Your Ground is not in play when the victim is lying on the ground. New York is a 'duty to retreat' state, but no one (with the possible exception of Chuck Norris) has a duty to execute a blinding Ninja back-flip and roll while the assailant is on their chest.
WELL, YES, THIS BOTHERS ME: I think this error has gone unreported:
The vehicle that Mr. Zimmerman was driving when he first spotted Mr. Martin was mistakenly not secured by officers as part of the crime scene. The vehicle was an important link in the fatal encounter because it was where Mr. Zimmerman called the police to report a suspicious teenager in a hooded sweatshirt roaming through the Retreat. Mr. Zimmerman also said he was walking back to the vehicle when he was confronted by Mr. Martin before shooting him.
Yike! I wrote this in late March when I was attempting to sort through the basic geography of the encounter:
However, a perusal of the basic geography says two things: *IF* Zimmerman left his SUV as I have placed it, the idea that Zimmerman cornered Martin is hard to picture. There are lots of open spaces, lots of ways from A to B, lots of places that are accessible by foot but not so much by car - running away with commitment and purpose should have been a fool-proof strategy. If, that is, calling 911 or screaming for help was for some reason off the board. The idea that Zimmerman overtook a scared kid in flight is hard to sustain.
That said, what if Zimmerman parked a bit down Twin Trees Lane towards the informal, unmarked cut through. Now after he sees Martin run and gets out of his car, maybe he heads up the commons area while Martin was headed down it. I score that as 'hmmm', because the police surely know where they recovered his car and the revised location doesn't jibe with the 911 call (he couldn't see the club house from down on Twin Trees, and the mailboxes he mentioned are central for the complex and near the clubhouse). Still, cars can roll - we hope the police have thought this through.
Well, maybe the police haven't thought this through. From the Times story it seems as if the wife recovered the SUV before the police realized its presence or posssible significance. That said this post reassured me as to the SUV placement.
AUTOPISIES AND BULLET WOUNDS: From CBS:
Details from Trayvon Martin's autopsy show the bullet entered the left side of his chest, and shattered the ventrical, one of his heart's two large chambers but the round did not leave his body.
The reports also noted the fatal wound's surrounded by a two-by-two inch pattern called stippling, caused by gunpower burns. It suggests Zimmerman fired inches away from the teenager.
Florida teenager Trayvon Martin died from a single gunshot wound to the chest fired from “intermediate range,” according to an autopsy report reviewed Wednesday by NBC News.
The official report, prepared by the medical examiner in Volusia County, Fla., also found that the 17-year-old Martin had one other fresh injury – a small abrasion, no more than a quarter-inch in size – on his left ring finger below the knuckle.
"Intermediate range" is described here (gunshot pictures not for the squeamish); the omniscient 'cboldt' advises us it is roughly a few inches to a few feet, presumably depending in part on whether clothing had an effect. Various references and graphic pics here, thanks to 'paulo'.
Intermediate Range Definition: Hot powder grains accompany bullet to wound site & are driven into skin, leaving small red marks on skin - stippling/tattooing
Short & Close Range Definition: Bullet hole, stippling & soot present
Contact Range Definition: Bullet hole, muzzle burn mark & impression of firearm present; loose fit - near contact; cornea of soot may be present where weapon not placed directly against skin
Assuming Zimmerman is right-handed, if Martin was facing him Zimmerman would probably shoot him on the left side, as described.
At the bond hearing CNN missed it in their transcript but a live blogger had thisL:
10:46 - [Lead investigator] Gilbreath says evidence says the gunshot was in close proximity due to powder burns on the sweatshirt and stippling.
CNN recapped that:
And then the judge - right to the heart of it -- asked about the stippling of the gun and how close and about the gun shot. Well, what does that show? It shows that there was not a shooting at a distance, but that there was apparently mutual combat where the two of them were engaged within immediate proximity to each other, which suggests that one really doesn't know what happened because it wasn't from a distance which would show a depraved mind, but, in fact, right there during regional combat.