One of the most important defense witnesses in the George Zimmerman murder case – the one who told police he saw Trayvon Martin straddling Zimmerman and “throwing down blows on the guy kinda MMA-style,” was quietly brought to the Seminole County Courthouse Dec. 11 and deposed, according to new court paperwork.
The man, identified in court records only as “witness 6,” was a neighbor who told authorities he heard and saw the fight.
By identifying the clothes they wore, he told police that Zimmerman was on the bottom, was being beat up and was crying for help.
Zimmerman is the 29-year-old Neighborhood Watch volunteer charged with second-degree murder. He killed Trayvon Feb. 26 in what he describes as an act of self-defense.
Prosecutors say Zimmerman is guilty of profiling Trayvon, of assuming he was about to commit a crime, of pursuing him and murdering him.
Witness 6 was re-interviewed a few weeks after the shooting by an FDLE agent and prosecution investigators, and he backtracked, saying he was not sure who was calling for help. He also said he was no longer sure if the person on top was throwing punches or just holding down the man on the bottom. Either way, he said, the man on the bottom was trying, without success, to get up.
He was still sure, he said, who was on the bottom: the man wearing red.
That was Zimmerman.
Witness 6 said the man on top had a darker complexion and was wearing a black or dark shirt.
Trayvon, an unarmed black 17-year-old from Miami Gardens, was wearing a dark gray hoodie.
The witness has now given at least five official statements about what he saw and heard that night. The most recent one is the just-disclosed deposition, when he was summoned by defense attorneys to the Seminole County criminal courthouse Dec. 11 and questioned by them with prosecutors present.
It’s not clear what he said that time.
Also deposed Dec. 11 was “witness 17”, the fiancée of witness 6 who was in the townhouse with him that evening, heard the fight between Trayvon and Zimmerman but did not see it, she told investigators in March.
She heard voices from people who sounded as if they were running and getting closer to her, she said. One was calling, “help,” but she was not sure who it was.
What she told attorneys Dec. 11 is not clear.
Several neighbors heard or saw portions of the fight, according to prosecution records. Most said they could not make out who was on top. One witness initially told police she was not sure but several weeks later said that after seeing photos of Zimmerman on television was sure he was the one on top.
It’s not clear why the depositions of witnesses 6 and 17 were taken Dec. 11 but the public “notice of taking depositions,” something typically filed days or weeks before a deposition is taken to give everyone time to prepare, was not put in the public court file until yesterday.