Expert Bolsters Zimmerman Account of Trayvon Martin Shooting

SANFORD, Fla. (AP/Reuters) -

George Zimmerman’s account of his fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager, Trayvon Martin, is consistent with the forensic evidence in the highly publicized case, an expert on gunshot wounds said on Tuesday.

Dr. Vincent DiMaio, a forensic pathologist testifying for the defense at Zimmerman’s murder trial, said the trajectory of the bullet that pierced Martin’s chest and gun powder on his body supported Zimmerman’s claim that Martin was on top of him when he fired his 9mm semiautomatic.

“It’s consistent with somebody leaning over the person doing the shooting,” said DiMaio, a former chief medical examiner in Texas.

It was a new blow to the prosecution after Circuit Judge Debra Nelson ruled late on Monday that defense lawyers can introduce evidence that Martin was under him when he was killed.

The shooting sparked a national debate on race, profiling, gun rights and self defense.

DiMaio testified that Zimmerman, 29, had at least six injuries after his clash with Martin.

Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder and faces up to life in prison if convicted, although either side can request that the jury also consider the lesser offense of manslaughter.

The case revolves around sometimes murky evidence, including disagreements among witnesses over whose voice — Martin’s or Zimmerman’s — can be heard in the background of a 911 emergency call on the night Zimmerman shot Martin.

Zimmerman remained free for 45 days after the killing, because police initially declined to arrest him, accepting his claim he shot and killed the 17-year-old Martin in self-defense.

A special prosecutor brought the charge of second-degree murder against Zimmerman after protests and cries of injustice in several major U.S. cities.

Prosecutors wrapped up their case against Zimmerman on Friday after nine days of witness testimony. Lead defense attorney Mark O’Mara said he hopes to rest by Thursday, meaning the case could go to the jury by this weekend.