We're finally learning more about the details of Trayvon Martin's death, thanks to the Orlando Sentinel's extensive report today, in which 28-year-old George Zimmerman alleges that 17-year-old Martin "punched and pummeled" Zimmerman before he killed him. An ABC interview with Joe Oliver, Zimmerman's friend of six years, also attempts to reveal more about the man, who has gone into hiding since the Feb. 26 incident.
Oliver told Good Morning America that Zimmerman "couldn't stop crying" in the days after he'd killed Trayvon, and also suggested that the reality of what he's done is just beginning to sink in:
Just now he's becoming aware of how big this has gotten, and that's why he contacted [lawyer Craig Sonner]. I spoke to him for the first time yesterday, briefly, and it's just starting to sink in. Up until this point, because he was there and he knows what happened, and because he's not in jail, he's been very confident—naively—that this would all blow over. But because only half of the story has gone out, because the evidence won't be heard until the grand jury convenes, you know, he's gotta go into hiding. But now he realizes just how big this is.
Oliver also said that he's "never seen anything" to suggest that Zimmerman is a racist, and also went so far as to suggest that "coon," the racial epithet heard on the 911 tapes, is actually "goon." He additionally believes that the screams for help, heard in the background of multiple 911 calls, were coming from Zimmerman. (Other witnesses have claimed otherwise.)
Martin, Oliver suggested, had the upper hand: "The teenager is taller than George. What's more, George is 40 pounds lighter than the pictures everybody has seen."
That might sound delusional, and there's a good chance it is. Zimmerman's account ("much" of which "has been corroborated by witnesses") claims that Martin made the first move in his fatal confrontation with Zimmerman. According to Zimmerman's version of events, outlined in today's Sentinel report, Martin asked him if he "had a problem." Zimmerman says that he said no, and Martin told him "Well, you do now," before punching him in the nose:
Zimmerman fell to the ground and Trayvon got on top of him and began slamming his head into the sidewalk, he told police.
Zimmerman began yelling for help.
Several witnesses heard those cries, and there's been a dispute about from whom they came: Zimmerman or Trayvon.
Lawyers for Trayvon's family say it was Trayvon, but police say their evidence indicates it was Zimmerman.
One witnesses, who has since talked to local television news reporters, told police he saw Zimmerman on the ground with Trayvon on top, pounding him and was unequivocal that it was Zimmerman who was crying for help.
Zimmerman then shot Trayvon once in the chest from very close range, according to authorities.
When police arrived less than two minutes later, Zimmerman was bleeding from the nose, had a swollen lip and had bloody lacerations to the back of his head.
A fringe militant group, the New Black Panther Party, has offered a $10,000 reward for Zimmerman's capture.