Trayvon Martin Killing: George Zimmerman's Attorney and Friend Speak Out
'Either George or Trayvon was going to die,' friend says.
March 25, 2012 — -- The attorney counseling George Zimmerman, who shot unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin as he was walking home from the store with a bag of Skittles, says if charges are filed, Zimmerman will argue that he acted in self-defense and that Florida's stand-your-ground law applies.
Attorney Craig Sonner said the public is only hearing part of the story, and when all the facts come out, it will be clear that Zimmerman acted in self defense. A grand jury is scheduled to begin hearing the case April 10.
"George Zimmerman suffered a broken nose, and had an injury to the back of his head, he was attacked by Trayvon Martin on that evening," Sonner said. "This was a case of self defense."
When asked why Zimmerman went after Martin, even though a 911 dispatcher told him not to, Sonner said: "Those are questions that will be answered."
Sonner said the so-called stand-your-ground law, under which a person who feels threatened is not required to retreat and can "meet force with force" if attacked, will be applicable in the case.
Sonner insisted that Zimmerman is not a racist, pointing out that he and his wife mentored for two black children for free.
"When I asked this mother [of the mentees], who trusted [Zimmerman and his wife], and she's an African-American, if she trusted George Zimmerman, she said she did, and I asked her if there was anything that caused her to believe that she was a racist, and she said, 'Absolutely not.' And I said, went further, 'Did you ever hear him use racial slurs in any time that you'd been around him?' And she said, 'no' as well," Sonner said.
Joe Oliver, a family friend of Zimmerman's who spoke with him this weekend, told ABC News that as a volunteer community watch commander, Zimmerman had to look out for suspicious-looking people.
"There are people who have accused George of profiling, well, I would think as a watch commander you are keeping an eye out for people you don't recognize in your neighborhood," Oliver said.
"The reason why he was following this suspicious person that he saw was because the neighborhood had a rash of break-ins," he said. "George had no intention of taking anyone's life. He cried for days after."
Oliver said the headlines have taken a toll on Zimmerman, his wife, and his family.
"He's moved, they've disconnected their phone numbers, they're in hiding, they're fearful," Oliver said.
The Zimmerman family friend also denied that a word the watchman is heard blurting out on one of the 911 tapes is the racial slur, "coon." Oliver said the word he hears Zimmerman saying is "goon."
"As far as, I mean as far as George being racist, I didn't take it as a racist term. I heard 'goon' and talking to my teenage daughter, apparently goon is a term of endearment in high school these days," he said.
"He wasn't talking to Trayvon when that comment was made. He was speaking a generality in that this suspicious person was someone who he – lumped in -- as always getting away -- goon, coon. I mean, the bottom line, he thought he needed to keep an eye on this individual for whatever reason," Oliver said.
Oliver said he believes the voice screaming for help on the 911 tape is Zimmerman's.
After talking with Zimmerman, Oliver says he's convinced that it came down to a final life-or-death moment: "At that point, either George or Trayvon was going to die."
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