Judge Deals Possible Blow to Zimmerman Defense with Evidence Ruling

SANFORD, FL – JULY 9: Defense counsel Don West angrily talks to assistant state attorney John Guy after court recesses in the George Zimmerman trial in Seminole circuit court, July 9, 2013 in Sanford, Florida. Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder for the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin. Credit: Getty Images

The judge  in the George Zimmerman murder trial made a much-anticipated ruling regarding Trayvon Martin’s cellphone texts on fighting and a defense animation depicting the fight between Martin and Zimmerman. According to her, neither will be introduced as evidence at Zimmerman’s trial.

Judge Debra Nelson made her ruling Wednesday, a day after she heard arguments on the matter well into the night. The court became a heated chamber when Nelson walked abruptly adjourned the proceedings around 10pm ET and walked out as the defense tried to persuade her to give a ruling then.

On Wednesday, she finally did.

The judge says the animation can’t be introduced as evidence that can be reviewed by jurors during their deliberations but defense attorneys may be able to use it during closing arguments.

The judge says she agrees with prosecutors’ objections to introducing the 17-year-old’s text messages. On Tuesday, she raised the issue that it’s possible someone else might have used Martin’s phone to send messages and take pictures that could show an affinity for fighting and violence. That would have been crucial evidence for the defense, as it would have bolstered the argument that Martin was the aggressor in the struggle that eventually led to his death.

Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch volunteer, is charged with second-degree murder for shooting and killing Martin during a fight in Zimmerman’s neighborhood. He’s pleading not guilty, claiming self-defense.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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