The Defense had another strong day today, highlighted by the testimony of forensic pathologist Dr. Vincent DiMaio, an expert in the field, who literally wrote the book on gunshot wounds. His testimony said that his forensic review of the evidence was consistent with Zimmerman’s story that Martin was on top of him, leaning forward, when he was shot. He also testified that Zimmerman’s injuries are consistent with having his head driven into the pavement multiple times, and with getting punched in the nose. It is highly unlikely the state will convict Mr. Zimmerman, and I’m not the only one who thinks so. It is going well enough that Mr. Zimmerman may even choose not to testify, which would prevent difficult cross-examination questions similar to the interrogation of Investigator Serino, which was the most difficult part of the factual evidence so far for Zimmerman.
Also, the judge has ruled that she will allow the evidence of Martin’s drug use into evidence. Apparently it was just marijuana, which does not typically increase aggressiveness, but the Defense can argue that it could have impaired Martin’s judgement that night. More importantly for the case, it is damaging character evidence that Martin was not an entirely innocent kid. Sometimes such evidence will be excluded, due to the highly prejudicial impact relative to its low probative value, but there is some probative value, and the judge does not want to be reversed for denying a Defendant evidence that supports their case. It’s significant that it was the Defendant’s evidence, as there is more leeway generally given for evidence about someone other than the person on trial.
It occurs to me that there may have been a method to the State’s madness in filing Murder Charges instead of homicide charges. I have been critical of that filing decision from the beginning, as I thought it would be tough to prove that the killing was not justified in response to the use of force. Now it seems more and more clear that the State cannot prove that Zimmerman did not fire in retaliation to Martin’s force against him. Perhaps it makes more sense for them to try to to prove that Mr. Zimmerman hate ill will, hatred, or spite before the confrontation occurred: to back date the murder to Zimmerman’s actions before Martin used for against him. That would explain why prosecutor Guy stated that Zimmerman “wanted” to kill Martin in opening statements. They cannot prove that Zimmerman wasn’t defending himself, so they push for the theory that Zimmerman initiated the confrontation with ill will, and therefore shouldn’t be entitled to claim that his force was justified.
It still seems like a reach, and I don’t think the State will get there. They haven’t even gone all-in on that theory, as they have fought the Defense claim that Zimmerman was getting beaten when he shot. In light of the witnesses who testified that Zimmerman was getting beat, coupled with the forensic evidence that makes it nearly certain, the State is wasting time and losing credibility pushing that theory. I still don’t see them convincing a jury that Zimmerman stalked Martin with malice, much less that he wanted to kill him. It doesn’t make sense: if Zimmerman wanted Martin dead, why would he wait until he got beat up? The Defense theory of the case is much more believable, and the state has its work cut out.