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Authorities in Sanford, Fla. have gone on the offensive, releasing more information about the Trayvon Martin shooting in an attempt to placate protestors. Prosecutors are now claiming that George Zimmerman's story of self-defense is supported by a number of witnesses.
Zimmerman apparently told investigators that Trayvon punched him and then slammed his head into the sidewalk. He was found with a bloody nose, a swollen lip and lacerations on the back of his head.
Prosecutors assert that this evidence, along with the rest of Zimmerman's story, makes the case very difficult, according to the Orlando Sentinel. As heard on the 911 tapes, Zimmerman got out of his car and began to follow Trayvon. At some point, he was told by the dispatcher that he did not need to follow the teen. This fact has been the subject of much speculation. Zimmerman claims he then returned to his car when Trayvon approached him and started a fight.
Some witnesses claim they saw Trayvon on top of Zimmerman, reports the Chicago Tribune. Others claim they heard a young man screaming for help, notes MSNBC. Then there is Trayvon's girlfriend, who was talking to him minutes before he died. Police never spoke to her, but she says he was afraid and was on the verge of running home.
As prosecutors suggest, the conflicting stories certainly complicate things. Add in Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law, and there's no surprise the entire situation has become a big mess. But this doesn't necessarily mean prosecutors did the right thing.
Even if Trayvon punched Zimmerman, there still may be enough conflicting evidence to imply that the shooting wasn't done in self-defense. An arrest may have therefore not been immediately possible, but a referral to the grand jury was. Prosecutors only requested a grand jury last week. This surely will not be the last word on Trayvon's tragic death.