Statement Analysis®

George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin case


This is a transcript of the written statement George Zimmerman gave to the police on February 26, 2012 the night he shot Trayvon Martin. It consists of four pages. He begins his statement writing why he and a neighbor started the neighborhood watch program. About halfway down the first page he writes about the shooting.


"Tonight, I was on my way to the grocery store when I saw a male approximately 5' 11" to 6' 2" casually walking in the rain looking into homes. I pulled my vehicle over and called SPD non-emergency phone number. I told the dispatcher what I had witnessed, the dispatcher took note of my location + the suspect fled to a darkened area of the sidewalk."

When the unique word phone appears in a statement it often ties the person to the incident which is obvious in this case. However, in some statements the subject may deny being at the crime scene but his use of the word phone indicates he was present.

Zimmerman refers to Martin as a "suspect." In his 911 call, he referred to Martin as a "guy." The use of the word suspect is most likely justified since he gave this statement after the shooting had occurred. Since Martin allegedly attacked him, Zimmerman now views Martin as a suspect and not just a guy.


"As the dispatcher was asking me for an exact location the suspect emerged from the darkness + circled my vehicle. I could not hear if he said anything. The suspect once again disappeared between the back of some houses. The dispatcher once again asked me for my exact location. I could not remember the name of the street so I got out of my car to look for a street sign."

We do not know what question was asked of Zimmerman, but most likely it was for him to write down what happened. In an open statement, the subject should only be reporting what happened. When a person explains why something happened by using words such as so, since, and because this indicates the subject views this portion of his statement as being sensitive.

It may seem strange but anytime a person mentions someone getting into or out of a vehicle deception may soon appear in the statement. The keyword being may.


"The dispatcher asked me for a description and the direction the suspect went. I told the dispatcher I did not know but I was out of my vehicle looking for a street sign + the direction the suspect went. The dispatcher told me not to follow the suspect + that an officer was in route. As I headed back to my vehicle the suspect emerged from the darkness and said 'You got a problem' I said 'No' the suspect said 'You do now.' As I looked and tried to find my phone to dial 911 the suspect punched me in the face. I fell backwards onto my back. The suspect got on top of me. I yelled 'Help' several times. The suspect told me 'Shut the fuck up' as I tried to sit up right, the suspect grabbed my head and slammed it into the concrete sidewalks several times. I continued to yell 'Help' each time I attempted to sit up, the suspect slammed my head into the sidewalk. My head felt like it was going to explode. I tried to slide out from under the suspect and continue to yell 'Help.'"

Again we have him mentioning getting out of his vehicle and using the word phone.

Often, deceptive statements will not contain any harsh words. Since the person is making up the story, there were no harsh words. A deceptive person usually forgets to place harsh words into his story. Zimmerman claims Martin told him to, "Shut the fuck up."

Deceptive statements will usually be void of emotions. As with harsh words, since there were no emotions a deceptive person may forget to include some emotions in his statement. We would expect a person who was punched to mention feeling some pain. Zimmerman does this when he states that he felt his head was going to explode.


"As I slid the suspect covered my mouth and nose and stopped my breathing. At this point I felt the suspect reach for my now exposed firearm and say 'Your gonna die tonight Mother Fucker.' I unholstered my firearm in fear for my life as he had assured he was going to kill me and fired one shot into his torso. The suspect sat back allowing me to sit up and said 'You got me.' At this point I slid out from underneath him and got ontop of the suspect holding his hands away from his body. An onlooker appeared and asked me if I was ok. I said 'No' he said 'I'm calling 911.' I said I don't need you to call 911. 'I already called them I need you to help me restrain this guy.' At this point a SFP officer arrived and asked 'who shot him' I said 'I did' and I placed my hands ontop of my head and told the officer where on my person my firearm was holstered. The officer handcuffed me and disarmed me. The officer then placed me in the back of his vehicle."


Again, we have the presence of harsh language which is a slight indication the story is truthful.

There is one big problem I have with Zimmerman's statement and it has to do with changes in language. There are no synonyms in Statement Analysis. Every word means something different. If a person views a firearm as being a gun, he will always call it a gun. He will not refer to it as a pistol because to him it is a gun. Truthful people will usually be consistent in their language. When a person is making up a story he may unknowingly use synonyms. Since the story is not true, he may not follow his personal dictionary.

A change in language indicates the person is being deceptive unless there is a justification for the change. For example, a person may call it a "gun" but once he fires the gun he then refers to it as a "weapon." This change in language is most likely justified. The word gun means it is in his hand or in his holster. The word weapon means he is discharging the firearm.

There are several times when Zimmerman changed his language. The first can be seen in his use of the words vehicle and car.

"I pulled my vehicle over..."
"The suspect emerged from the darkness + circled my vehicle."
"I got out of my car to look for a street sign."
"As I headed back to my vehicle..."

As I read his statement I do not see a justification for changing the language from vehicle to car and back to vehicle. He should have said, "I got out of my vehicle."

The next change in language occurs when Zimmerman used the word and and other times used the + symbol. Most of the time he used the word and but there are four times when he used the plus symbol as a substitute for the word and.

"The dispatcher took note of my location + the suspect fled to a darkened area of the sidewalk."
"I was out of my vehicle looking for a street sign + the direction the suspect went."
"The suspect emerged from the darkness + circled my vehicle."
"The dispatcher told me not to follow the suspect + that an officer was in route."

He wrote the word and numerous times after writing the plus sign. This would seem to eliminate the idea he used the plus sign as a short cut because he was getting tired of writing.

Every time he used the plus sign he also used the word suspect. However, there are several other sentences in which he mentioned the suspect and used the word and. I do not see a justification for changing the language.

There are times when his consistent in his language. He always refers to Martin as the "suspect." He always refers to his gun as being a "firearm."

Zimmerman does use language that is often associated with the police:

"Suspect"
"In fear for my life"
"Fired one shot into his torso"
"Where on my person my firearm was holstered"
"Disarmed me"

He has an Associate's degree in Criminal Justice and most likely wants to be a cop. Therefore uses police lingo.


Conclusion

There are not a lot of deceptive indicators in Zimmerman's statement. Most of the deception occurs when talking about getting out of his car and looking for Martin.

"I could not remember the name of the street so I got out of my car to look for a street sign."

"I was out of my vehicle looking for a street sign + the direction the suspect went."

Here we have him explaining his actions with the use of the word so. Twice he mentions getting out of his vehicle. We also have the changes in language from car to vehicle and from and to using the plus sign. This indicates Zimmerman may have been deceptive when talking about looking for Martin. Perhaps he did not obey the instructions given by the dispatcher to stop following Martin. Maybe he did not go back to his vehicle but continued to look for Martin.

However, once Zimmerman mentions being approached by Martin his written statement indicates he is being truthful when he talks about Martin punching him, slamming his head into the concrete and Zimmerman shooting Martin.

UPDATE

On July 13, 2013, a jury found George Zimmerman not guilty of murdering Trayvon Martin. As I said one year ago, George Zimmerman's statements indicate he was telling the truth and that he acted in self-defense when he shot Trayvon Martin. Some people say the prosecution did a poor job in presenting their case. One reason they gave a mediocre performance is because George Zimmerman was telling the truth. The state had very little incriminating evidence to present to the jury.


An analysis of George Zimmerman's reenactment video



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