Opsahl: And now still more major news. An exclusive interview with the woman who heard a Sanford vigilante gun down a teenager on February 26th.
Welch: Sanford Police have said George Zimmerman’s claims of self defense kept them from arresting him. And now 10 days later he’s still free.
That’s fueling outrage around Central Florida and the nation. Channel 9’s Daralene Jones has been breaking new developments on this story from the beginning. And she talked to the people who really know what happened.
She leads off our team coverage with that exclusive interview tonight. And Darlene police only took a two or three sentence statement from this woman. How long did you talk to her?
Jones: Vanessa I spent 30 minutes with her on camera and she told us her entire story.
After we heard her out we reached out to Sanford Police here at headquarters who told us they had been swamped with media requests and warned us we might not hear back from them today
Cutcher: The cries stopped as soon as the gun went off so I know it was the little boy.
Welch: Mary Cutcher said that cry for help got her attention the day 17 year old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed in her backyard by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood vigilante. Until now she’s ignored repeated attempts by national and local media to share what she saw partially out of fear.
Cutcher: So we said everything okay? and he just looked at us. And Selma asked him again “umm whats up? What’s going on? Everything okay?” and he said “call the police…” kind of nonchalantly like… leave me alone”.
Welch: According to this partial police report Cutcher was just 1 of 6 eyewitnesses police took a statement from that night. Cutcher said it was short and police never questioned her in detail until after she repeatedly reached out to them.
Cuthcer: “…blew us off and then called them back again I said I know this was not self defense. There was no punching, no hitting going on at the time, no wrestling…
Welch: Cutcher believes whatever confrontation there was it ended before they got to her backyard and she believes Zimmerman continued to chase Martin as he tried to get home.
Police said Zimmerman had a bloody nose and blood on the back of his head and he told police he was yelling for someone to help but noone would.
Cutcher believes even if Martin got the best of Zimmerman it was no excuse to kill an unarmed teenager half his size.
Cutcher: “I assumed he’s gonna be arrested. Common sense will tell you. And he wasn’t.
Jones: As I said we spent an hour with her, 30 minutes of that on camera. At 6 why she decided to speak out now. Reporting live in Seminole County in Sanford Daralene Jones Channel 9 Eyewitness news.
Opsahl: The Sanford Police pointed to a state statute for not making an immediate arrest and they sent us a copy of the law entitled “Justifiable Use of Force” but our legal analyst reviewed the statute and it says if Zimmerman was told by 911 to not confront Martin and did anyway, the statute is not on his side.
Sheaffer: The use of deadly force in this instance was unlawful and a valid arrest could have been made.
Opsahl: Bill Schaffer also says that ultimately an arrest could be made and likely should be made. Then the state would decide if the charges stick.
Sheaffer: Under the facts of this case as we know it, it appears that it was an abuse of discretion for Sanford not to make an arrest and send it to the attorney’s office.
Opsahl: Sanford Police have said that there was no probable cause for arrest of Zimmerman but again it is now in the hands of the state attorney’s office.
Welch: Today hundreds of people rallied at a Sanford church calling for the shooter’s arrest.
unknown: “Justice for Trayvon. Justice for Trayvon.”
Welch: Close to 400 hundred people showed up alongside pastors from around the country. They want the 911 audio released or George Zimmerman’s arrest within the next two weeks. If not they’ll move forward with plans for a march and rally at the next City Commission meeting.
We’re still going over our interviews with those protestors and in 30 minutes we’ll show you what a City Commissioner told them she wants done with the Sanford Police Chief.
You can depend on Eyewitness News and Channel 9’s Daralene Jones to get to the bottom of what really happened in this vigilante shooting. And if you have information for Daralene you can tweet her @Daralenejones all one word.