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New details released in Trayvon Martin case; Information does little to answer questions

Trayvon Martin had marijuana in his system. He was shot through the heart at close range. George Zimmerman had a broken nose, bruises and bloody cuts on the back of his head.

The lead investigator wanted to charge Zimmerman with manslaughter in the weeks after the shooting but was overruled.

These are among the details revealed in nearly 200 pages of documents, photos and audio recordings that were released Thursday in a case that has riveted the nation. Yet it's still unclear what exactly happened and whether it was racially motivated.

The evidence supports Zimmerman's contention that he was being beat up when he fired the fatal shot. At the same time, it bolsters the argument of Trayvon's parents that Zimmerman was profiling Trayvon and that the whole confrontation could have been avoided if not for Zimmerman's actions.

Many of the pertinent questions remain unclear: What was in Zimmerman's mind when he began to follow Trayvon in the gated community where he lived? How did the confrontation between the two begin? Whose screams for help were captured on 911 calls? And why did Zimmerman feel that deadly force was warranted?

Another opportunity for answers isn't likely to come until a hearing later this year in which Zimmerman is expected to claim the shooting was justified under Florida's "stand your ground" law. Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara, didn't return a phone call seeking comment Thursday.

The evidence supporting Zimmerman's defense includes a photo showing the neighborhood watch volunteer with a bloody nose on the night of the fight. A paramedic report says Zimmerman had a 1-inch laceration on his head and forehead abrasion.

Whether Zimmerman was injured in the Feb. 26 altercation with Trayvon has been a key question. The 28-year-old has claimed self-defense and said he only fired because the unarmed teenager attacked him.

Zimmerman was not arrested for weeks because he invoked Florida's "stand your ground" law, which does not require a person to retreat in the face of a serious threat. He was released on bail and is in hiding while he awaits trial on a second-degree murder charge. He has pleaded not guilty.

Other evidence supports the contention of Trayvon's parents that Zimmerman was the aggressor.

The investigator who called for Zimmerman's arrest, Christopher Serino, told prosecutors that the fight could have been avoided if Zimmerman had remained in his vehicle and awaited the arrival of law enforcement. He said Zimmerman, after leaving his vehicle, could have identified himself to Trayvon as a concerned citizen and talked to him instead of confronting him. The report was written March 13, nearly a month before Zimmerman's eventual arrest.

He said there is no evidence Trayvon was involved in any criminal activity as he walked from a convenience store to the home of his father's fiance in the same gated community where Zimmerman lived.

The lawyer for Trayvon's parents seized on the investigator's recommendation.

"The police concluded that none of this would have happened if George Zimmerman hadn't gotten out of his car," said attorney Ben Crump. "If George Zimmerman hadn't gotten out of his car, they say it was completely avoidable. That is the headline."

The case has become a national racial flashpoint because the Martin family and supporters contend Zimmerman singled Trayvon out because he was black. Zimmerman has a Peruvian mother and a white father.

The autopsy says medical examiners found THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, when they tested Martin's blood and urine. A police report shows the 17-year-old had been shot once in the chest and had been pronounced dead at the scene. The autopsy says the fatal shot was fired from no more than 18 inches away.