Florida Judge Kenneth Lester, who is presiding over the case involving the murder of teen Trayvon Martin, ordered that shooter George Zimmerman‘s statements to local authorities be made public, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
In order for Zimmerman’s statements to continue to be sealed from the media and the public, Judge Lester would have had to determine that Zimmerman’s statements were confessional in nature, compromising his case of self-defense. Instead, Judge Lester determined that Zimmerman’s statements admitted no guilt, making them fair game to the public:
[Zimmerman] does not acknowledge guilt of the essential elements of the crime. The only element conceded by the defendant is that he shot and killed the victim, but he does not concede any other elements of second-degree murder, said Judge Lester on Tuesday.
Therefore, within 15 days, the prosecution will have to turn over all of Zimmerman’s statements, except for any information that will identify key witnesses, which would, according to Judge Lester, expose them to unwarranted scrutiny and possible backlash:
The innocent witnesses who have performed their civic or moral duty by reporting what they observed to law enforcement should not have their lives turned upside-down for having done so.
What will also be something to watch for is that it is likely that Zimmerman’s “voice-stress tests,” which are equivalent to lie-detector tests, may also be released.
Consequently, the public may soon be able to learn not only what Zimmerman actually said to authorities but also whether he passed any of the tests.
Zimmerman hit yet another challenge on June 1, when his bond was revoked for lying to the judge on April 20th about his lack of funds and the number of passports he owned. While Zimmerman did indeed turn himself in to authorities, his wife, Shellie, was also caught in the cross hairs: On Tuesday, she was arrested for lying with her husband about their finances. Later that night, Shellie was charged with perjury and released on bail.
Starting off with lies severely compromises the Zimmermans’ credibility in court, and as more information is released — per Judge Lester’s orders — it looks as though the Zimmermans have only tougher days ahead. If events continue in this vein, the Martins may actually be able to secure justice for their beloved son.