Who was Trayvon Martin?
We’ve seen the pictures that surfaced just days after the shooting. A picture of a 16-year-old, yet baby-faced looking Martin in a red Hollister T-shirt was one of the first we saw of him.
There was another picture of Martin in his football uniform.
Those images helped ignite a national outrage over the delay in the arrest of George Zimmerman. They were the pictures shown on news stories all across the country.
“It was done obviously to put more feeling and heart into the story itself so it would gain more traction,” said Attorney Tom Sadaka, with News 13 Analyst Mark NeJame’s law firm.
But do those first pictures accurately reflect what Martin was really like physically when he met Zimmerman face-to-face the night he was shot to death?
He was 17 years old, but some of the pictures were of a much younger Martin.
Family attorney Natalie Jackson explains how the youthful pictures were the first ones to surface.
“We called Sybrina who’s down in Miami, Tracy was like ‘I don’t have any available, Sybrina just did the funeral program, and she has like all the pictures.’ She sent us the photo bucket of the funeral program. All those pictures were the funeral program pictures,” said Jackson.
But other pictures of Martin would eventually emerge, showing the 17-year-old fighting, holding a gun and even smoking pot. They are images Zimmerman’s defense attorneys said they will only use if prosecutors attack Zimmerman’s character at trial.
Sadaka believes the pictures showing pot use could become relevant in proving Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense.
“And obviously that’s going to raise the state of mind of Trayvon Martin as well, because if there was something that altered Trayvon Martin’s own consciousness, or his mental state, then you know the judge is obviously going to hear that and make a decision, but that might be relevant to whether Zimmerman had full control over the situation, and was able to get out of the situation that started,” said Sadaka.
“The horseback riding picture is the picture that is the most recent picture of Trayvon,” Jackson said. “It was taken two weeks before his death. The skiing shirt, where his mother took him skiing in the snow … I think the lifestyle disturbed the people who wanted to believe Trayvon was a thug.”
People have flooded the Internet with doctored, distorted and even false images of Martin.
There’s even an email chain aimed at making Trayvon look older. But the picture is that of a well-known rapper, not the 17-year-old.
Zimmerman’s own brother, Robert Zimmerman Jr. even tweeted a picture of an accused baby killer lined up side-by-side with Martin. He later apologized.
No matter how Martin is portrayed at trial, there will be one image that will likely stick with jurors.
“When you think about Trayvon Martin, the first image that pops into your head was the one that was plastered all over the media with him slightly leaned forward, with him looking baby-faced and like a gentle young kid. And that’s the image that’s going to pop into all of their heads, and how does the defense overcome that. That’s where the issue lies for them,” said Sadaka.