George Zimmerman Medical Records Reveal Broken Nose, Lacerations
James Joyner has made note of the fact that the records of the autopsy of Trayvon Martin have been made public, so it seems relevant to note the other story in the news today, which is the release of the medical records of George Zimmerman:
A medical report compiled by the family physician of Trayvon Martin shooter George Zimmerman and obtained exclusively by ABC News found that Zimmerman was diagnosed with a “closed fracture” of his nose, a pair of black eyes, two lacerations to the back of his head and a minor back injury the day after he fatally shot Martin during an alleged altercation.
Zimmerman faces a second degree murder charge for the Feb. 26 shooting that left the unarmed 17-year-old high school junior dead. Zimmerman has claimed self defense in what he described as a life and death struggle that Martin initiated by accosting him, punching him in the face, then repeatedly bashing his head into the pavement.
The morning after the shooting, on Feb. 27, Zimmerman sought treatment at the offices of a general physician at a family practice near Sanford, Fla. The doctor notes Zimmerman sought an appointment to get legal clearance to return to work.
The record shows that Zimmerman also suffered bruising in the upper lip and cheek and lower back pain. The two lacerations on the back of his head, one of them nearly an inch long, the other about a quarter-inch long, were first revealed in photos obtained exclusively by ABC News last month.
But the report also shows Zimmerman declined hospitalization the night of the shooting, and then declined the advice of his doctor to make a follow-up appointment with an ear nose and throat doctor.
In addition to his physical injuries, Zimmerman complained of stress and “occasional nausea when thinking about the violence.” But he was not diagnosed with a concussion. The doctor noted that it was “imperative” that Zimmerman “be seen with [sic] his psychologist for evaluation.”
According to the report, prior to the shooting Zimmerman had been prescribed Adderall and Temazepam, medications that can cause side effects such as agitation and mood swings, but in fewer than 10 percent of patients.
A neighbor told ABC News that the day after the shooting he saw Zimmerman as he spoke to officers outside his home. He too recalled seeing black eyes and significant swelling — as well as a bandage over his nose.
Moments after the shooting Zimmerman told eyewitnesses he shot Martin in self defense. He later told officers his head was being pounded into the pavement and that he feared for his life, but that it was only when Martin seemed to reach for the gun wedges in his waistband that Zimmerman drew his weapon and fired directly into Martin’s chest — killing him.
The medical notes may bolster Zimmerman’s claim that he acted in self-defense because he was being attacked.
Indeed, when combined with the autopsy reports of bruising on Martin’s knuckles, it does appear that these documents would be useful to Zimmerman’s defense team in establishing his claim of self-defense and bolstering the veracity of his version of what happened that night. As I’ve said before that I am loath to try this case in the court of public opinion, though, and one of the reasons for that is that these documents are only part of the evidence that will be evaluated during the course of any trial or hearing on Martin’s self-defense claims. Zimmerman’s doctor will have to testify, as will the Medical Examiner who conducted the autopsy. There will be photographs from the autopsy and, presumably, photographs of Martin’s injuries from the night of the incident, and of Zimmerman’s injuries from the night the incident and the day after as well. Zimmerman himself will also have to testify. Only after all of this, and after the witnesses have been cross-examined, will the finder of fact make their determination. So, let’s not jump to any conclusions on this case just based on these two pieces of evidence
Of course, that’s exactly what the legal experts on cable will be doing.