Trayvon Martin

Forensic Pathologist Lends Support to George Zimmerman's Self-Defense Claim


Video via The Orlando Sentinel

Today the defense in George Zimmerman's murder trial presented testimony from forensic pathologist Vincent Di Maio, who said the gunshot wound that killed Trayvon Martin was consistent with Zimmerman's claim that the teenager was on top of him at the end of their fight. Di Maio, San Antonio's former chief medical examiner and a nationally recognized expert on gunshot wounds, said the tears and soot left by the gun indicated "the muzzle was in contact with the clothing," while the "powder tattooing" around Martin's chest wound indicated that his clothing was hanging two to four inches from his body when he was shot. "If you lean over somebody, you will notice that the clothing tends to fall away from the chest," he said. Hence the evidence from Martin's autopsy is "consistent with somebody leaning over the person doing the shooting."

Di Maio also testified that he saw evidence of at least six blows in the marks and wounds on Zimmerman's face and head after the fight. He said the bumps and lacerations on the back of Zimmerman's head were consistent with his claim that Martin repeatedly smacked his head against a concrete sidewalk. And while the injuries Zimmerman suffered were not life-threatening, Di Maio said, continued blows to the head can be fatal even if the force of the blows remains about the same. That point suggests Zimmerman could have reasonably feared serious injury or death, as required for a self-defense claim under Florida law, even if he was not worried that Martin was about to grab his gun.

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  1. Oh how the left will cry for blood

    1. Who gives a flying fuck. They can all go suck Obama’s dick.

      1. There will be violent demonstrations, if not all-out riots.

        1. There will be violent demonstrations, if not all-out riots.

          Demonstrations, fine. Riots, not where I live. Folks here know the riot rule: If you hear the shot, it wasn’t aimed at you.

      2. If you think Marilyn`s story is shocking,, my best friend’s step-mother makes $67 every hour on the laptop. She has been out of a job for 8 months but last month her paycheck was $12430 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Read more here

        1. Re: Whiplack,

          If you think Marilyn`s story is shocking,, my best friend’s step-mother makes $67 every hour on the laptop

          Who the hell is Marilyn, and how come you know so much about your friend’s step-mother’s top of her lap?

        2. At $67/hr, you’d have to work 185 hours just to gross $12430.

          That doesn’t sound like working for “just a few hours.”

          I miss the porn spambots.

  2. the “powder tattooing” around Martin’s chest wound indicated that his clothing was hanging two to four inches from his body when he was shot.

    Time for Rachel Jeantel to testify that that was something Trayvon’s homies did to him.

    1. What really annoyed me about the Jeantel testimony is that it really didn’t seem to matter to anybody whether or not she was telling the truth. Her story shifted. She claimed to have heard the sound of the phone falling into wet grass. Yet, this was just accepted as normal, like both sides are just supposed to bring friends and family into court to lie on their behalf and let the jury decide which group is more sympathetic.

      1. Analyzing facts is HARD!

        /Jury Barbie

        1. Determining both the facts AND the law is my FUN duty as a citizen.

          /Jury Nullification Barbie

      2. This whole thing is like some sort of super-bizarre funhouse mirror. If you flip all of the races of the participants, this trial looks straight up like the trials of blacks in the South in the 1930s.

        1. I just love how they are preparing for the rioting already. As if the jury is even going to spend 5 mins deliberating this one…

          1. If there is rioting over this issue, it’s going to be really hard for me not to stream invective. That makes me a terrible person, I know, but I am sick of people, whatever race they are, getting childishly violent when they don’t get their way.

          2. My guess is the jury will quickly dispose of the murder charge but will get bogged down on involuntary manslaughter. Perhaps hung. Which I’m sure would royally piss off the prosecutors, since the last they want is continuing pressure from the victim’s family and the media to try the case again.

            1. My guess is the jury will quickly dispose of the murder charge but will get bogged down on involuntary manslaughter.

              It don’t work that way in Florida

              1. Not sure what the law professor from Penn is yammering on about with his emphasis on “mistake”, but manslaughter is a lesser included offense within the offense of murder in the second degree. As such, it gets included in the jury instructions. (Link is to an RTF file.) IOW, the jury may find that Zimmerman is guilty of aggravated manslaughter of a child, even as they find him not guilty of murder.

                So, though IANAL and not a law professor, I don’t know what the professor in the WSJ op-ed is talking about. It is true that, if you find Zimmerman to be not guilty because of self-defense, then that should also hold true for any manslaughter charge. Who knows what a jury will do though?

                1. Oh, and if you have any interest at all in the effects of gunshot wounds, Dr. Di Maio’s text is an excellent read and one of the main texts in the field. For those of us without a spare $130, you can find it on the ‘Net if you scrounge around a little.

  3. Like a jury of six mothers are going to let this child killer go free. If by chance a miracle happens and he is set free, I doubt he’ll make it to the car without being shot. Dude’s a dead man. He’ll get shot or shanked.

    1. You forgot they let Martin’s marijuana use in. He’s going to turn from innocent child to 17-year-old weed-smoking thug.

      1. Cause the weed makes people so violent. Therefore, relevant. hth

        1. It points to a general disregard for the law to some people. A jury will think differently of Martin because of this, whether we like it or not.

          1. I thought they were going to introduce that evidence so they could say that Zimmerman called the non-emergency number to report a kid who looked like he was on drugs because the kid was actually on drugs and not because he was black as the state contends.

            Not that he would actually be able to tell, but I think it really shoots down the state’s theory if he turns out to be right after the fact.

    2. Like a jury of six mothers are going to let this child killer go free.

      Women, especially white and Hispanic women, tend to not like young black hoodlums.

      But all the defense has to do at this point is hammer on reasonable doubt. There’s plenty of it around, even for manslaughter.

      1. I dunno about that.

        What is the most common interracial couple? Black guy and white/hispanic woman. You almost never see the reverse.

        And while I think he probably was a hoodlum, how would the jury know? Did they bring up that the two items he had bought were ingredients of a popular drug concoction (just add cough syrup)? Did they bring up his past misdeeds?

        1. “What is the most common interracial couple?”

          Counting Hispanics as not white (Hispanic isn’t really a racial term, and they can be of any race, although the most are mixed race), it’s white and Hispanic of either gender. White man-Asian woman is more common than Black man-White woman, even though Asians are far less numerous than blacks. White woman-Asian man is even more common than white woman-black man, after adjusting for population size differences.

        2. You almost never see the reverse.

          You sure about that? In the neighborhood where I live, I see that combo all the time, as well as White-Hispanic and Hispanic-White.

          We ethnic types get around *shrugs*.

        3. Nothing about Zimmerman makes him seem like a crazed racist vigilante the prosecution is claiming. The idea that he would call the police and then attack Martin is absurd. But the idea that a black teen would jump a neighborhood watch guy for dissing him is not at all absurd. I don’t know how much about Martin’s past was brought up, but anyone with an ounce of street smarts knows that 28-year-old Hispanic neighborhood watch guys don’t jump 17-year-old black guys.

          1. Papaya, you could have stopped your comment after the second sentence and it would have been more concise and a much better argument.

            1. It certainly would have been more concise. I don’t know about better though.

              1. The first two sentences are good points. There really isn’t anything to back up the prosecution’s portrayal of Zimmerman, and if Zimmerman was planning on killing Martin, calling the cops before would be incredibly stupid. The next sentence injects race unnecessarily. So if Martin was white or Hispanic it would be absurd to think he could have attacked Zimmerman? And if Zimmerman’s best defense was “I’m a 28 year old Hispanic guy, there’s no way I could have attacked a black teenager” then he’d be in trouble. Luckily for him, it isn’t.

    3. Yeah, I’m skeptical that an all woman jury will let him walk, regardless of the evidence.

      The vast majority of women think guns are icky and using them is wrong. Especially when they kill what they perceive to be a young boy.

      I expect a conviction, then overturned on appeal

      1. The vast majority of women think guns are icky and using them is wrong. Especially when they kill what they perceive to be a young boy.

        Such as my wife. She doesn’t want to hear anything that could be construed as favoring acquittal.

      2. My wife likes guns.

        1. My wife has a nice rack, so I guess it all balances out.

        2. Assuming you live in the County, that could be merely because they simplify mundane tasks like shooing moose away from the school bus stop.

          Related story, and non sequitur to the OP…apologies:

          I used to LOVE watching my crazy, urban transplant, Earth First-y neighbor in the morning on school days, in a flannel nightgown and pink Bean boots, trying to scare away the 2-3 moose who frequented the end our shared driveway by throwing tennis balls at them to clear the way for her fragile offspring. Yes, pink Bean boots and tennis balls. Then I’d watch her slink back into her house when my grandmother came out with her shotgun and demonstrated how it was done while “that damned dances-with-porcupines lady” screamed what now reminds me of a falsetto Bloomberg sound bite. We’d usually get a call from the PD or game warden a few minutes later thanking her for saving them the long trip out there and asking her to kindly refrain from flipping off the lady next door.

          And no, she never owned a laptop, and never purchased a new Citro?n from the money she made in just a few short hours of working from home…

      3. The vast majority of women think guns are icky and using them is wrong.

        Supposedly two of the jurors are have CCW permits.

  4. Since reading Balko’s work on bite mark “experts,” it’s hard for me to take any of this stuff that seriously.

    The prosecution’s forensic witness really came across as a charlatan when she insisted that, even though the evidence was ambiguous, it was her opinion that Zimmerman was only struck once. Oh, her opinion. Good to know that she is making guesses that go beyond what the scientific evidence definitively shows and adamantly stating that these opinions should be given weight in a courtroom when deciding the fate of a human being.

    So, it would be nice if the forensic evidence could conclusively tell us what happened, but … seems like a lot of this stuff is hocus pocus dressed up as science.

    1. IIRC, some expert made the observation that the THC in Martin’s system may or may not have had any effect.

      This is why they get paid the big bucks.

    2. If the defense expert is totally full of it, then the prosecution should be able to show that.

  5. If this case wasn’t a political hot potato, the judge would have thrown it out after the prosecution rested their case, because no reasonable jury could convict given the evidence that we’ve heard so far.

    1. It’s abuse of discretion not to accept the motion for an acquittal, even before giving it to the jury. No reasonable jury can convict on nothing.

  6. Cue the usual whining from the Commentariat that somehow doesn’t understand that bogus, racially-motivated trials are, in fact, a liberty issue.

    1. High-tech lynchings, as it were.

    2. Don’t understand how this is a libertarian issue.

      You’re WELCOME.

      1. Rule of law versus crucifying an innocent to satiate a mob.

        Also RKBA.

        And stuff.

  7. Those guys dont seem to have a clue over there.

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