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.