SANFORD, Fla. (AP) — An expert on gunshot wounds hired by the defense testified Tuesday that George Zimmerman's account of how he fatally shot Trayvon Martin is consistent with the forensic evidence.
Dr. Vincent DiMaio said that the trajectory of the bullet and gun powder on Martin's body support Zimmerman's version that Martin was on top of him when Zimmerman fired his gun into Martin's chest. The gun's muzzle was against Martin's clothing and it was anywhere from two to four inches from Martin's skin, he said.
"This is consistent with Mr. Zimmerman's account that Mr. Martin was over him, leaning forward at the time he was shot," said DiMaio, the former chief medical examiner in San Antonio.
The pathologist also said it was likely Martin was conscious for 10 to 15 seconds after the shooting as a reserve supply of oxygen ran out of his body, and during that time he could have moved his arms. Zimmerman's account that he had placed Martin's arms out to his sides after the shooting contradicts a photo taken after the shooting that shows Martin's arms under his body. Defense attorneys contend Martin moved his arms.
DiMaio testified that lacerations to the back Zimmerman's head were consistent with his head striking a concrete sidewalk. Later, when looking at photos of Zimmerman's injuries taken the night of the shooting, DiMaio identified six separate impacts to Zimmerman's face and head. He said a nose injury could have come from being punched.
DiMaio also explained that if clothes taken into evidence are wet and packaged in plastic bags, and not paper bags, it can ruin the samples since "bacteria multiplies and you get mold and it stinks to high heaven." Defense attorneys believe DNA evidence found on Martin's hooded sweatshirt and undershirt was degraded since the clothing wasn't packaged properly.
Under cross-examination, DiMaio conceded that the gunshot could also be consistent with Martin pulling away from Zimmerman, and that he didn't rely on statements from some Zimmerman neighbors who say Zimmerman was on top of Martin to reach his conclusion. The pathologist, who also has testified at the murder trials of Illinois police sergeant Drew Peterson and record producer Phil Spector, said he had been paid $2,400 by the defense.