Online sleuths pore over Zimmerman case

Aug. 5, 2012 at 8:03 PM
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STANFORD, Fla., Aug. 5 (UPI) -- A growing number of citizens across the country say they're doing hours of independent research on the case against Florida shooting suspect George Zimmerman.

Many of the online sleuths are looking to debunk Zimmerman's account of events the night he fatally shot an unarmed black teenager, Trayvon Martin, in Stanford, Fla., The Miami Herald reported Saturday.

Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, said he shot Martin on Feb. 26 in self-defense after a confrontation on a sidewalk in his gated community. He was arrested and charged with second-degree murder April 11.

The online researchers have recreated the scene, generated maps and repeatedly listen to jailhouse calls from Zimmerman, as well as studied witness statements and evidential documents.

"It's quite clear to me that [Zimmerman]'s not telling the whole truth, if he is telling the truth at all," said blogger Tchoupi.

A Michigan man named Christopher, who moderates a blog called BccList, said he works on the case from about 7 p.m. to midnight every night.

"I'm calculating distances while other people are watching 'Real Housewives of New Jersey,'" he said. "My wife thinks I'm obsessed."

Legal experts say research done by regular citizens does more harm than good.

Attorney Jose Baez, who successfully represented accused daughter killer Casey Anthony, said "Florida's public-record law needs to bow to a defendant's right to a fair trial. Some woman sitting behind her computer with nine cats knows more about the case than anybody. What you end up with is a dog and pony show, and people want to march in the parade. I think it is severely perverting justice."

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