ORLANDO, Florida (Reuters) - A color photograph of George Zimmerman with a bloody, swollen nose taken on the night he shot and killed unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin last February was posted on the Internet on Monday by Zimmerman’s legal defense team.
As the photo began to be circulated widely by the news media, lawyers on both sides disagreed about its significance to the second-degree murder case against Zimmerman.
“It’s not a game changer,” Zimmerman lawyer Mark O’Mara told Reuters. But O’Mara said the photo was significant in that it shows vividly the injuries Zimmerman incurred during his confrontation with Martin at a condominium in the central Florida town on Sanford.
On February 26, Zimmerman, who was a neighborhood watch volunteer, shot and killed 17-year-old Martin who was walking to the home in Sanford where he was staying with his father.
Zimmerman’s murder trial is set for June 2013.
Zimmerman claims he shot Martin in self defense during a struggle.
“Does it really show what happened that night to George? Yes,” O’Mara said.
Attorney Ben Crump, who represents Martin’s family, however said the photo adds nothing new to the case. Previously released evidence has indicated Zimmerman was hit in the nose during the fight with Martin.
“Trayvon Martin was defending himself. He had every right to stand his ground to defend himself,” Crump said.
O’Mara told Reuters that prosecutors in May had given him a grainy black-and-white photocopy of the image which was taken in the back seat of a Sanford police cruiser. O’Mara said he received the digital image from prosecutors after repeated demands by his office and he posted it Monday on Zimmerman’s defense website.
Editing by David Adams and Cynthia Osterman