Dr. Shiping Bao was a frustrating witness for the prosecution and the defense in the trial of George Zimmerman. The associate medical examiner for Seminole and Volusia County who did the autopsy of Trayvon Martin was loquacious and prone to lecturing when one or a few words would do. Because of that, a key thing Bao said has gotten lost.
Bao testified that Trayvon was still alive for one to 10 minutes after being shot in the heart by Zimmerman. “His heart was bleeding until there was no blood left,” Bao said. But as we learned during questioning by prosecutor Bernie De La Rionda, “alive” in this case is a technical definition.
DE LA RIONDA: OK. Are you saying his brain is technically alive in other words?
DE LA RIONDA: That’s what you mean by still alive in terms of conscious. His brain is still alive?
DE LA RIONDA: He can still feel pain in other words. Can you say one way or the other?
BAO: From my experience and another autopsy we did three weeks ago, I don’t believe he could move after shot.
Catch that? Bao didn’t believe that Trayvon could move after being shot. Of course, on cross-examination, Zimmerman defense attorney Don West got Bao to admit that it was possible that Trayvon might have moved after being shot. That’s hardly surprising. The body does all sorts of involuntary things after being shot, especially in the heart or head.
But it strains credulity to believe that Trayvon could move his hands, which Zimmerman said he stretched away from Trayvon’s body, to underneath his body, as a witness and Sanford police officer Ricardo Ayala noted. And all of this supposedly happened between the time Trayvon was shot and the time the first neighbor and first officers arrived. The elapsed time was about a minute.
How did Trayvon’s arms find their way underneath his body when Zimmerman said he held his victim’s hands “away from his body,” “held his hands up,” “pushed his arms apart,” “moved his arms apart” and “moved his hands apart”? As the defense puts on the rest of its case this week, the question of Trayvon’s hands is one it needs to answer.
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