(CBS News) - According to his neighbors, George Zimmerman had bandages on his nose and head the day after he shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on February 26th.
Zimmerman claims Martin jumped him, broke his nose and pounded his head into the ground inside a gated community in Sanford, Florida. He then fired one shot, hitting Martin in the chest because he feared for his life.
In a newly published report by Reuters, Zimmerman's next-door neighbor Jorge Rodriguez said that when he saw Zimmerman the day after the incident, "he had two big, butterfly bandages on the back of his head, and another big bandage...on the bridge of his nose," while he was talking to a police detective in his driveway. Rodriguez's wife Audria also said she saw the bandages and a third neighbor, who spoke only on condition of anonymity, said, "I saw two bandages on the back of his head, and his nose was all swollen-up."
The new accounts by Zimmerman's neighbors give support to his claims that he acted in self-defense. The extent of Zimmerman's injuries will now be critical to his defense under Florida's "Stand Your Ground" self-defense law. It allows the use of deadly force when someone has the reasonable belief he could face death.
An initial police report said Zimmerman, who was charged with second-degree murder in Martin's death, was bleeding from the nose and back of his head immediately after the shooting. His former lawyers claim he was treated by medics before being taken to Sanford police station.
The neighbors said they felt they owed Zimmerman their public support after he was charged with second-degree murder.Complete coverage of the Trayvon Martin case on CBS News