by Patrick H. Moore
On Friday, the State attorneys prosecuting George Zimmerman for the alleged second-degree- murder of the 17 year old black youth Trayvon Martin called John Good to the witness stand. Good, oddly enough, is expected to be the Zimmerman team’s star witness, their answer to Rachel Jeantel. Good is also one of Zimmerman’s neighbors. He told Sanford police that on the night of the shooting he’d witnessed a black man on top of a lighter-skinned man:
“Just throwing down blows on the guy, MMA-style.”
The prosecution’s strategy in calling Good themselves — knowing full well that his testimony could only undermine their case to an unknown degree — would appear to be the hope that by getting to him first, they could to some degree lessen the damage that will inevitably occur when the defense finally calls him to testify.
Throughout these proceedings, I’ve been waiting for these Floridians to “get their macho on” and today it finally happened, a spirited battle revolving around Combat Sport.
Jeff Weiner and Rene Stutzman of the Orlando Sentinel broke down the parties’ joustings in their Friday evening article:
On the witness stand, Good said he was watching television in the living room of his Retreat at Twin Lakes townhome when he heard noises outside. He opened his glass sliding door and stepped out onto his porch.
It looked like a “tussle,” Good said, adding “I yelled out, ‘What’s going on?’ and ‘Stop it,’ I believe.”
At this point,Good could not resist waxing MMA style, while defense attorney Mark O’Mara acted out Good’s words on his knees in court. Good said he witnessed two people wrestling, in a straddling position, in what in MMA terminology is called the “ground and pound,” which roughly translated means you get the other guy on the ground and then you “pound the sh__ out of him.”
“The one on top was wearing dark clothes and the one on the bottom had lighter skin and was wearing white or red.”
Not one to miss an opportunity, O’Mara asked Good if he could identify them. When Good said he could, O’Mara asked:
“The person who you now know to be Trayvon Martin was on top, correct?”
“Correct,” Good replied.
“And he was the one who was raining blows down on the person on the bottom, George Zimmerman, right?” O’Mara followed.
Good’s response: “That’s what it looked like.”
Although this certainly does not unequivocally prove that Martin attacked Zimmerman, it could certainly serve to offset Rachel Jeantel’s claim that Zimmerman attacked Martin after following him and confronting him.
Good, however, did vacillate on two points that could benefit the state. He admitted that he wasn’t absolutely certain who was calling out for help — though he thought it was Zimmerman. He also acknowledged that he didn’t see the punches connect; all he saw was “arm movement going downward.”
“I couldn’t tell 100 percent that there was actually fists hitting faces.”
Good also testified that although he witnessed the fight moving onto the sidewalk, “he didn’t see Trayvon slamming Zimmerman’s head (into the sidewalk) as the Neighborhood Watch volunteer described.”
The MMA-style testimony continued in the afternoon with Lindzee Folgate, an Altamonte Family Practice physician assistant, testifying that due to difficulty sleeping, Zimmerman had “started to exercise intensely with MMA” and soon increased his MMA training regimen to “three days per week.”
At one point O’Mara prompted: “Stopping the attack was what allowed him to survive it, wouldn’t you agree?”
Folgate initially agreed with O’Mara but admitted that was speculation when questioned by prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda.
Next week lead Sanford police investigator Christopher Serino, the medical examiner who autopsied the Miami Gardens teen, and Trayvon’s parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, will take the witness stand.
Based on this week’s testimony, in particular Zimmerman’s 911 dispatch call, a strong argument can be made that Zimmerman targeted and racially profiled Trayvon Martin. This does not mean, however, that the grounds are there for a second-degree-murder conviction. Under Florida law, second-degree-murder is defined in the following manner:
Murder with a Depraved Mind (Second-Degree-Murder) occurs when a person is killed, without any premeditated design, by an act imminently dangerous to another and evincing a depraved mind showing no regard for human life.
The primary distinction between Premeditated First Degree Murder and Second Degree Murder with a Depraved Mind is that First Degree Murder requires a specific and premeditated intent to kill.
Although I have argued in a previous post that Zimmerman was in a paranoid and highly agitated state of mind, perhaps brought on by ingesting a combination of mind-altering prescription pharmaceuticals, on the night he followed and killed Trayvon Martin, the prosecution does not seem to be pursuing this line of reasoning. Instead, they are trotting out a string of witnesses, none of whom — with the possible exception of Rachel Jeantel — seem to be able to establish conclusively that Zimmerman first attacked Trayvon Martin and then shot and killed him with a single bullet to the chest. Without such evidence, it seemed unlikely that the six member jury will vote unanimously to convict George Zimmerman of second-degree-murder.
Click here to read our previous posts on the George Zimmerman trial:
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