• Document suggests investigators questioned whether to charge Zimmerman


    SANFORD, Fla. -  There is new proof that investigators debated whether George Zimmerman deserved any charges at all after his deadly confrontation with Trayvon Martin in February.

    Channel 9's Kathi Belich learned the final report detectives handed prosecutors had been revised several times in four hours.

    WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer said police usually don't make any recommendation on which charge to file in a case when they're not making an arrest. He said that's the whole point of letting prosecutors decide whether there should be an arrest, and if there should be, for what reasons.

    There were protests and rallies over the way Sanford police and Seminole County prosecutors handled the shooting death of Martin at the hands of Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch captain.

    Police didn’t arrest Zimmerman right away and said early on that they didn’t have enough evidence to refute his claim that he was defending himself against the teenager's blows to his head, which broke his nose and caused other bloody injury.

    But this week, the special prosecutor revealed new evidence that shows Sanford investigator Chris Serino made several revisions to the report he eventually sent to the Seminole State Attorney, changing his recommendation from second-degree murder to a manslaughter charge.

     “How that came about, they can depose him and find out. My point in saying that is not to talk about, OK, second-degree or manslaughter.  That's why we have a trial,” said special prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda.

    Sheaffer said it's not just all the revisions that are unusual but that it's highly unusual that police made any recommendation at all since they were not going to make an arrest.

    “Political pressure was at its highest for someone to do something,” Sheaffer said. “It passed the buck to the State Attorney's Office, and it made law enforcement look good.”

    Zimmerman's lawyers have not yet questioned Serino under oath, but other Sanford officers have divulged the struggle they had over whether to charge Zimmerman with a crime.

    Next Up:

  • Headline Goes Here

    Document suggests investigators questioned whether to charge Zimmerman