Dr. Phil Episode to Focus on George Zimmerman, Travyon Martin Shooter Case (Watch Video)
Aug 28, 2012 12:13 PM EDT
In the new season of CBS' "Dr. Phil," which airs September 10, Dr. Phil McGraw seeks to dissect the case of George Zimmerman, shooter of 17-year-old Travyon Martin, from a psychological point of view. Watch video of the promo here.
From the show's website, it appears that Dr.Phil seeks to tackle two aspects that have been very important to the case 1) racism 2) Self-defense.
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When Zimmerman was arrested in February for shooting the unarmed teenager while Zimmerman was duty as a volunteer watchman at a gated community in Florida, the first questions raised about the incidents was regarding racism: did Zimmerman react the way he did because Martin was black? Did Zimmerman have any kind of racial biases?
Dr. Phil too seeks to address these questions as a part of the series. In a video clip of the upcoming show, the TV show host cum doctor is seen asking two guests who claim to be Zimmerman's best friends "Is he racist," as reported by the Orlando Sentinel, to which the guest answer "absolutely not!"
The second aspect, Dr. Phil will address is the issue of self-defense, but from what it appears he will be speaking on the matter as it pertains to public opinion, not analyzing the legal technicalities of the law as it pertains to the case. A poll on his website asks viewers:
1) Do you believe George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin in self-defense? 24% Yes. 76% No.2) George is currently charged with second-degree murder. Do you believe he should be convicted? 58% Yes. 42% No, according to his website.
The issue of self-defense is central to the Zimmerman trial. While prosecutors have charged the 28-year-old with second degree murder, Zimmerman and his attorney Mark O'Mara have always maintained that the shootings were perpetrated as an act of self-defense.
Earlier this month, O'Mara, Zimmerman's attorney, announced that he will not use the Florida State's "Stand Your Ground" law in the murder trial of Travyon Martin, who was shot to death by his client Zimmerman during an aggravated encounter in February.
Zimmerman claims that the encounter soon turned into a violent affront. In an act to protect himself, Zimmerman fatally fired at the teenager.
However, O'Mara, Zimmerman's lawyer, who admitted he would use the Florida State's "Stand Your Ground," in a quick change of strategy said that he will not use take shelter in the immunity provided by the statue, but instead would present a clear case of self-defense.
According to the "Stand your Ground," law, if a person is in reasonable fear of danger than he/she could use deadly force, without having to evade the situation. This means that even though a person has the opportunity to escape his/her attacker he/she could choose to stand ground and fight back.
But now, Zimmerman's lawyer told the Huffington Post, "I think the facts seem to support that though we have a stand-your-ground immunity hearing, what this really is, is a simple, self-defense immunity hearing."
The basic argument, O'Mara will make is that Zimmerman was being attacked by the unarmed teenager and fired the shots in an act of pure defense without any opportunity to escape the situation.
A few months ago, when voice recording of Zimmerman's interrogation was released to the public, the 28-year-old was repeatedly heard telling police that he was punched and violently attacked by the victim.
In one of the audio tapes, Zimmerman revealed Martin "jumped out from the bushes and starting punching my face knocking me down. I started screaming for help. I couldn't see. I couldn't breathe...He grabbed my head and started hitting it into the sidewalk," he said. "When he started doing that, I slid into the grass to try to get out from under him. ... I'm still yelling for help," as reported by Christian Science Monitor.
In July, the Florida judge set Zimmerman's bail for $1 million, after previously revoking a $150,000 bond, for misleading the court about his finances.
He has been released from jail on bond, but under strict conditions including a round the clock GPS monitoring system.
According to Mark O'Mara, Zimmerman's attorney, the trial is likely to start in a year's time.