Defense releases photos, texts of Trayvon Martin
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- George Zimmerman's defense attorneys on Thursday released information from 17-year-old Trayvon Martin's cellphone that include the teen texting with a friend about fighting and smoking marijuana and photos that show a gun and what appears to be a potted marijuana plant.
The release came ahead of a hearing that will determine whether the texts and photos can be used at the trial for Zimmerman, who is charged with fatally shooting Martin last year during a confrontation at a gated community in Sanford. He is pleading not guilty to second-degree murder, claiming self-defense. His trial starts next month.
The photos also show Martin blowing smoke and extending his middle finger to the camera.
In the text messages, Martin tells a friend that his mother has told him he needs to move out of her house and move in with his father since he was caught skipping school. He also talks with a friend about smoking "weed."
In another section, he describes being in a fight where his opponent got more hits than he did in the first round.
Prosecutors have filed a motion asking Circuit Judge Debra Nelson to prevent the photos, texts and other personal information from being used at the trial. The hearing is set for next Tuesday.
Zimmerman's defense attorney, Mark O'Mara told The Associated Press on Thursday that the materials could be relevant if prosecutors try to portray Martin in a certain light.
"If they had suggested that Trayvon is nonviolent and that George is the aggressor, I think that makes evidence of the fighting he has been involved with in the past relevant," O'Mara said.
Attorneys for Martin's parents said in a statement that the photos and texts were irrelevant to the trial and could pollute the jury pool.
"Is the defense trying to prove Trayvon deserved to be killed by George Zimmerman because (of) the way he looked?" they said. "If so, this stereotypical and closed-minded thinking is the same mindset that caused George Zimmerman to get out of his car and pursue Trayvon, an unarmed kid who he didn't know."
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