George Zimmerman May Have a Former Dallas Medical Examiner to Thank for the Jury's Verdict

Categories: Crime

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Late Saturday night, a jury arrived at the unanimous conclusion that George Zimmerman had not committed an act of murder when he shot an unarmed teen named Trayvon Martin. As Jim Schutze noted earlier, Florida's Stand Your Ground law, which allows for the use of deadly force without the retreat requirement, was a bit player, if it figured into the trial at all. Instead, at issue was whether Zimmerman legitimately feared for his life when he pulled the trigger. This came down to self defense.

And there may be no expert witness who did more to convince the jury that it was than Dr. Vincent Di Maio, chair of the Texas Forensic Science Commission and a former chief medical examiner for Dallas County, who led the office for nearly a decade ending in 1981. He's no stranger to consulting in high-profile cases. Think Drew Peterson and Phil Spector. It was his testimony that led to the conviction of two police officers who shot unarmed, wounded people in the chaos following Hurricane Katrina.

Now, in a case similarly fraught with racial tension, his testimony elucidated a use of deadly force that the jury found was justified.

"I think (the testimony) might have been the final nail in the coffin -- let's put it that way," he told the San Antonio Express-News Sunday. "The physical evidence was all for the defense. The prosecution didn't really have a case."

Zimmerman was described by prosecutors as a neighborhood-watch busybody who profiled and followed a teenager through a gated, Sanford, Florida, community. They say he accosted and killed Martin.

Di Maio, however, testified that the wound and the hole in Martin's T-shirt was consistent with Zimmerman's story, in which he's on his back and Martin is astraddle him. He said the injuries to the back of Zimmerman's head -- there may have been as many as six "impact sites" -- were the result of a "severe force," bolstering claims that the teen bashed it against the concrete sidewalk.

It isn't clear that his testimony tells us anything at all about who the aggressor was. But for all the 911 phone records, eyewitnesses and Rachel Jeantels the prosecution threw at the jury, nothing may have resonated more than well-delivered forensics testimony.


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33 comments
CornyDoggy
CornyDoggy

So if I have a CHL, I can initiate any confrontation with an unarmed person I want.  I can follow someone walking in the neighborhood, get out of my car and ask them where they're going and if they belong around here.  If they - understandably - get upset and start fighting me I can shoot them and kill them?

Shouldn't I bear at least some responsibility for initiating a confrontation in a dark, isolated area where I have a gun and the other person doesn't?  

And wouldn't I think twice about initiating confrontations if I'm not armed?

Shouldn't a CHL holder be held to a higher standard when it comes to initiating confrontations?

halldecker
halldecker

When I read Docs testimony,  I knew then how the case would turn out.   He literally 'wrote the book' on gunshot wounds.'   Everybody before,  including the lawyers,  missed the 'if Travon was on top,  his shirt would have sagged three to four inches.   If he was on bottom,  the shirt would have been flat.   His shirt indicated it was the former.


When Doc ran the Med Examiner's office in Dallas he came in one Saturday with a pig's liver,  they had a bullet trap so they could run comparisons on bullets.   He sets up the pig liver,  'twas suggested he put something around the liver,   'naaahh',  one shot,  the staff spent the rest of the day cleaning up pig liver tidbits.  Point being,  even at the top of his profession he still experimented,  still had questions needing answers.

If Doc had testified for the prosecution in the OJ Simpson case,  things might have been vastly different.

DirtyP1
DirtyP1

The reaction of this case has made me sad as an American. In the eyes of racists if you're biracial, they'll paint you whichever race serves their purpose. Obama is half black half white, but he's black. Zimmerman is half Peruvian half white, and he's considered white. The race police are up in arms and organizing protests everywhere, because someone defended themselves against an attacker. What the hell?

Instead of staging these protests about this self defense case, how about stage protests about the violence in Chicago? How many kids 17 and younger have been killed in violence in Chicago alone since February 2012? Look up Hadiya Pendleton. Is there not enough outrage because the person that killed her was black? There are so many things about this case that drive me crazy. Every person that is against the verdict is basically saying that if Trayvon would have killed Zimmerman by bashing his head in, that it was justified, but Zimmerman shooting Martin was not justified because he was a "kid". 

We do live in the greatest country in the world, and yes it does have its shortcomings, but no republic is perfect. 

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Juror B37, first Zimmerman juror to be interviewed, said the jury relied partly on Florida’s “stand your ground” law that allows people to defend themselves with force when confronted.



ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

I this the ME in "The Thin Blue Line?"; who helped that scumbag Henry Wade misconvict all those people?

MikeWestEast
MikeWestEast

This case should be shown the juries as a classical example of reasonable doubt.  Reasonable doubt is not the defendant just making up stories as was the case with OJ Simpson.  It is creating a consistent storyline that is a mix of elements that are just as likely as the prosecution's elements or are parts no one can know.  Every professional official recognized the case as having too much reasonable doubt.  Only the political officials wanted an immediate trial.  These situations occur all the time.  The prosecution has years to work the case since with murder no statute of limitations exists.  You wait until you have the right mix of evidence and sometimes you wait for technology to catch up.  What if 5 years from now voice analysis could determine the screamer?  Instead we had the stream of witnesses claiming they know.  I think that collection spread a lot of doubt on whether the DA knew her job.

pak152
pak152

@CornyDoggySo if I have a CHL, I can initiate any confrontation with an unarmed person I want. 

No corndoggy you can't. try reading the Tex law covering CHL. also do a little research to find out how many CHL carriers in texas have been irresponsible

teacher
teacher

@DirtyP1 "Zimmerman is half Peruvian half white, and he's considered white."

Well, yeah. Hispanic is an ethnicity, not a race. Don't feel bad, the media doesnt know that either.

You can be black and Hispanic, white and Hispanic even Asian and Hispanic. Just as all Italians aren't creamy white and Jews and Arabs aren't races either.

Unfortunately the term Hispanic has been hijacked in this country by racists like LaRaza.

Of course the media and the Myrnas of the world want to make it a racial issue. This case boils down to self defense.......not stand your ground laws, not whether Zimmerman chased or pursued Martin.........but self defense.

MikeWestEast
MikeWestEast

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz The judge's instruction said in Florida a person does not have to leave the scene if everything to that point was legal.  That part is in the self-defense criteria for Florida.  It is technically not Stand Your Ground.  Stand Your Ground is a special procedure in Florida where a defendant gets review of the circumstances before trial and a judge determines if the very liberal protections it provides apply.  Mr. Zimmerman's team decided not to pursue that route and consequently no one could refer to it during the trial.

kduble
kduble

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz  How could it have applied? Martin was the one confronted. The case was won on self defense. The results wouldn't have been any different in Texas or anyplace else.

LMG2
LMG2

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz Myrna, pay no attention to these "gun toting" nuts!  Stand your Ground = Follow, Stalk & Kill and Unarmed Child!

doublecheese
doublecheese

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz Myrna, you dumb cunt.  Stand your ground means ONLY that you don't have to attempt to run away from a fight before using deadly force to defend yourself in that fight.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Whether or not Zimmerman "profiled" anyone is irrelevant, since Trayvon foolishly decided to assault an armed Zimmerman.

CornyDoggy
CornyDoggy

@pak152

But I could if I was in Florida?


kduble
kduble

"Florida's Stand Your Ground law, which allows for the use of deadly force without the retreat requirement, was a bit player, if it figured into the trial at all."

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@LMG2 Girl, I don't pay any attention to these ignorant louts.  Actually, they love the comebacks I think.

kduble
kduble

@doublecheese @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz  As the article notes, Stand Your Ground wasn't a factor. Zimmerman wasn't standing his ground. Rather, he was shadowing Martin on a public thoroughfare. The defense won on self-defense. It had nothing to do with Stand Your Ground.

ruddski
ruddski

Myrna is too wrapped.up in rhe side issues of thi

CornyDoggy
CornyDoggy

 @pak152

This part struck me as pertinent: 

My advice in this situation would be to remain behind cover at a safe distance and call 911. Let the police and fire departments take care of business. Remember that your laminated card doesn't make you a freelance cop, and as a practical matter most people are not trained well enough to engage him in the first place.

CornyDoggy
CornyDoggy

@pak152 

So the answer is yes.  If you initiate a confrontation with an unarmed person which results in a fight...and you start losing that fight...you can shoot them.

Doesn't seem fair to me.  Zimmerman may have not started the fight, but he started a confrontation which was likely to start a fight.  Surely he shares some of the responsibility for the outcome.  

kduble
kduble

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz @ShadowsAndDust  The defense prevailed on grounds of self defense. It would have been the same in any state. As the article notes, Stand Your Ground wasn't a factor here, as Zimmerman wasn't standing his ground but shadowing Martin.

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