1. Archive

Documents reveal initial police findings in George Zimmerman case

ORLANDO — George Zimmerman could have defused the deadly confrontation with Trayvon Martin if he would have identified himself as a member of neighborhood watch, and Zimmerman passed two lie detector tests when questioned by investigators, according to a report released Tuesday.

More documents in the second-degree murder case against Zimmerman were released that included investigators' accounts of the night of Feb. 26, when he killed Martin after following the unarmed teenager through a gated community in Sanford. Zimmerman, 28, has pleaded not guilty and has said since the night of the fight that he feared for his life because Martin was beating him up before Zimmerman grabbed his gun in his holster and shot the 17-year-old.

Sanford Detective Christopher Serino said in the report that Zimmerman at first verbally confronted Martin from his car and that the defendant and witnesses said he was too afraid of Martin to get out. Later in the encounter, Zimmerman got out of his SUV and followed Martin.

"His actions are inconsistent of those of a person who has stated he was in fear of another subject," Serino wrote.

Based on his investigation, Serino recommended a charge of manslaughter to the state attorney but Zimmerman wasn't charged until more than a month later. Serino has been reassigned to the patrol division by his request, according to a news release from Sanford police on Tuesday.

Another investigator wrote that on the night of the shooting, two computer voice stress tests they gave to Zimmerman indicated he wasn't lying about what happened.

Zimmerman answered a series of questions by speaking into a microphone that was plugged into a computer. The answers produce a voice pattern on the computer, which are analyzed for truthfulness. It differs from traditional lie detectors, which involve wires or electrodes attached to the person that monitor pulse rates.

Results from either test are usually not admissible in court.

Orlando-based defense attorney Randy McClain said Zimmerman passing the test won't show up at trial because Florida courts have deemed them unreliable based on a 1923 case.

A message left with Zimmerman's attorney was not returned.