- - Thursday, May 17, 2012

ORLANDO, Fla. — Medical and autopsy reports released Thursday corroborate George Zimmerman’s account that he shot Trayvon Martin in self-defense after the teenager attacked him.

As part of a massive release of evidence by the prosecution, an autopsy report on Trayvon found evidence of marijuana in his system, as Mr. Zimmerman told police he suspected. At the time of the shooting, Trayvon, 17, had been suspended from Miami-Dade County schools because traces of marijuana were found in a plastic baggie in his book bag.

The autopsy says medical examiners found THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, when they tested Trayvon’s blood and urine.

The package of documents, photos and video was turned over by prosecutors to defense attorneys days before it was released to the media.

Also in the package is a photo of Mr. Zimmerman with a bloody nose taken the night of the shooting, while a paramedic report says Mr. Zimmerman had a 1-inch laceration on his head and forehead abrasion.

“Bleeding tenderness to his nose, and a small laceration to the back of his head. All injuries have minor bleeding,” paramedic Michael Brandy wrote about Mr. Zimmerman’s injuries in the report.

Whether Mr. Zimmerman was injured in the Feb. 26 altercation with Trayvon has been a key question. Mr. Zimmerman has claimed self-defense and said he only fired because the teenager attacked him, though liberal and black activists made a national cause out of the case as an example of racism.

Mr. Zimmerman told a police officer that he did not have any other bruises or cuts but his back hurt, according to a police report.

Mr. Zimmerman is awaiting trial on a second-degree murder charge. He has pleaded not guilty.

New witness accounts also emerged Thursday, corroborating the account Mr. Zimmerman has given since the night of the shooting.

A witness, whose name is redacted, told investigators he saw “a black male, wearing a dark colored hoodie,” on top of a white or Hispanic male who was yelling for help.

The witness, who was looking out the sliding glass door at his home about 30 feet away, said he saw the black male throwing punches “MMA [mixed martial arts] style.”

He said he told the fighters he was calling the police, and that he heard a shot as he was making the call. He looked outside and saw the person who had been on top laid out on the grass as if he had been shot. He said the other fighter was standing on the sidewalk, talking to another person with a flashlight.

Also included in the evidence release was an investigator’s recommendation to prosecutors that Mr. Zimmerman be arrested on manslaughter charges. The investigator, who was on the scene after the shooting, wrote March 13 that the confrontation should have been avoided.

Investigator Christopher Serino told prosecutors that the fight could have been avoided if Mr. Zimmerman had remained in his vehicle and awaited the arrival of law enforcement. He said Mr. Zimmerman, after leaving his vehicle, could have identified himself to Trayvon as a concerned citizen and talked to him instead of confronting him.

A separate report written by Mr. Serino at the crime scene says Trayvon had $40.15, Skittles candy, a red lighter, headphones and a photo pin in his pocket. He had been shot once in the chest and was pronounced dead at the scene.

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