His sworn statement recommending a manslaughter charge was signed March 13, before the anti-Zimmerman protests had swept the nation — and after his chief publicly said there was no probable cause to make an arrest.
Serino said the relative size of the two fighters, coupled with the fact that neither had specialized training in hand-to-hand combat, meant Zimmerman was not at any “exceptional disadvantage” when the two scuffled on the ground.
But he acknowledged that no one could refute Zimmerman’s story that Trayvon attacked him without provocation.
Serino’s statement made note of the fact that Zimmerman had called police to report the “suspicious” presence of a black male on at least four prior occasions. Just a few weeks before the killing, one of the black men had broken into a neighbor’s home.
“Zimmerman, by his statements made to the call taker and recorded for review and his statements made to investigators following the shooting death of Martin, made it clear that he had already reached a faulty conclusion as to Martin’s purpose for being in the neighborhood,” Serino wrote.
He said Zimmerman spotted Trayvon twice, but didn’t use the opportunity to introduce himself. Zimmerman said he was afraid, but Serino was skeptical.
“His actions are inconsistent with those of a person who has stated he was in fear of another subject,” Serino added. “Investigative findings show that George Michael Zimmerman had at least two opportunities to speak with Trayvon Benjamin Martin in order to defuse the circumstances surrounding the encounter. On at least two occasions, George Michael Zimmerman failed to identify himself as a concerned resident or a neighborhood watch member to Trayvon Benjamin Martin.”
Prosecutors released a video of Zimmerman taking a computerized analysis that measured the stress in his voice. In it, he answered a brief series of questions such as “is the wall green?” and “were you in fear for your life when you shot the guy?”
“Mr. Zimmerman was subjected to two exams and was found to be classified as ‘no deception indicated,’” Sanford Police investigator William Erwin wrote.
After a media firestorm and rallies nationwide, Zimmerman’s case was taken away from the Sanford Police and reassigned to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Records show that a month after Trayvon’s death, Zimmerman gave the FDLE permission to search his Blackberry cell phone.
The special prosecutor assigned to the case by the governor charged Zimmerman with second-degree murder, which carries a possible life sentence.
He is currently being held without bond in a Seminole County Jail. A hearing will be held Friday to determine whether he should be released pending trial.