Zimmerman Defense to Introduce Controversial Animation at Closing

George Zimmerman's defense team won't be able to enter the animation into evidence, but is allowed to play it for the jury during closing statements.

By Aura Bogado Jul 10, 2013

Zimmerman defense attorney Mark O’Mara surprised viewers yesterday when he casually mentioned that the defense would be wrapping up its case as early as today. Jurors were sent home, and most of the people in the courtroom–including Trayvon Martin’s parents, Sabrina Fulton and Tracy martin–left as well.

In an almost empty courtroom a while later, the defense began to argue to enter into evidence an animation based on testimony of John Good during Zimmerman’s trial for the second-degree murder of Martin. Good had previously testified to seeing part of a confrontation between Zimmerman and Martin that resulted in Martin’s death.

Daniel Schumaker, who, according to his LinkedIn profile, holds a BA degree not in forensic science, but in graphic design, created the animation. It illustrates 17-year-old Martin, in a black hoodie, watching and then straddling George Zimmerman. 

The image above, taken from the animation, shows Martin punching Zimmerman with his left hand–despite being right-handed; Good made clear during testimony that he saw no punches being thrown, and no witness stated that Martin used his left hand during the confrontation. Further, the animation does not match the lighting of the night in question. In other words, the animation is based more on disputed assumptions than on evidence. 

The prosecution argued against admitting the animation during the evidentiary hearing. Judge Debra Nelson, who drew attention to the possibility that Schumaker violated sequestration by consulting with O’Mara after first testifying, took the arguments into consideration and reviewed related case law overnight, after a marathon 13-hour day in court yesterday. Judge Nelson decided this morning that the animation will be blocked from entering into evidence–but that it can be used as a demonstrative exhibit in the case. 

Zimmerman’s defense team is expected to play the animation for the jury during its closing statements, which could be delivered later this week.