SANFORD, FLORIDA – A new photograph obtained exclusively by ABC News showing the bloodied back of George Zimmerman’s head, which was apparently taken three minutes after he shot and killed Trayvon Martin, gives possible credence to his claim that Martin had bashed his head against the concrete as Zimmerman fought for his life.
The revelation comes as his attorney and prosecutors prepare for Zimmerman’s bail hearing today, which could result in his being released from a Florida jail. Zimmerman, 28, is being held on charges of second-degree murder for the Feb. 26 shooting of Martin, 17, which could carry a life sentence if he is convicted.
The exclusive image shows blood trickling down the back of Zimmerman’s head from two cuts. It also shows a possible contusion forming on the crown of his head. The original police report that night notes that the back of Zimmerman’s head was wet, and that he was bleeding from the nose and head.
Zimmerman told police that night that he shot and killed the teenager in self-defense after Martin punched him and pounced on him. Zimmerman told police that Martin then bashed his head into the concrete sidewalk during the altercation that took place in the tidy middle-class development of the Retreat at Twin Lakes in Sanford, Fla.
Zimmerman was treated at the scene by paramedics, then cuffed and driven in a police cruiser to the Sanford police station. He was questioned for hours and later released. In police surveillance video obtained last month by ABC News, Zimmerman’s wounds are not apparent, and there were no bandages on his head.
Zimmerman was not admitted to a hospital or given stitches the night of the incident.
The person who took the photograph of a bloodied Zimmerman, asking not to be identified, told ABC News exclusively that they did not see the scuffle that night, but did hear it. The person recalled seeing Martin’s prostrate body on the wet grass and said the gunpowder burns on Martin’s gray hoodie were clearly visible.
The photographer said that after the shooting, Zimmerman asked the photographer to call his wife. When the photographer asked him what to say, Zimmerman blurted out, “Man, just tell her I shot someone.”
Investigators have seen the photo.
Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump is skeptical.
“How bad could it have been if they didn’t take him to the hospital [and] didn’t stitch him up,” he said in a statement to ABC News in response to the image. “The special prosecutor has seen all the evidence and still believes George Zimmerman murdered Trayvon Martin.”
Zimmerman’s attorney, Mark O’Mara, said his client has spent enough time behind bars.
“He needs to get out. He should not be in jail,” O’Mara said. “I want him out because I need him out. He wants to get out. His family wants it out. It should happen.”
If Zimmerman is released, his attorney said, he has a number of potential safe houses prepared. In the meantime O’Mara says the former altar boy, who has become America’s highest-profile defendant, has been reading the Bible while in protective custody.
In a bail hearing in Florida, the burden of proof to deny bail, even in a second-degree murder trial, is higher than needed to seek a conviction in a trial.
“They would have to prove that the presumption of guilt is great, and that the proof is evident,” O’Mara said.
In the capias — similar to a warrant — filed against Zimmerman last week, Special Prosecutor Angela Corey and her team set bail at “none.”
In order to avoid a reduction in bail to a set monetary sum, Corey’s team would have to prove its case essentially, something legal experts say is unlikely at this point in the legal process.
Zimmerman attorney O’Mara said he doubts the prosecutor will reveal its case before the trial.