Coroner: Trayvon Martin didn't die instantly
The medical examiner who performed the autopsy on Trayvon Martin testified Friday that the teen may have lived for up to 10 minutes after being shot in the heart by George Zimmerman – a conclusion he reached just three weeks ago.
“His heart was still beating. Every time his heart was beating, some of the blood would go from right ventricle to the pulmonary artery to the lung and supply his brain,” Dr. Shiping Bao said on the ninth day of testimony in the trial.
“I believe — it is my opinion — that he was still alive, he was still in pain, he was still in suffering.”
The defense objected to that characterization and Judge Debra Nelson sustained the objection.
Later, during a hearing outside the presence of the jury, Zimmerman lawyer Don West pointed out that Bao said during a November deposition that he thought Martin would have been alive just one to three minutes.
The doctor said he changed his opinion three weeks ago after his office handled the autopsy for a case “very similar to Trayvon Martin’s case.”
Earlier, Bao testified that the bullet traveled a straight path — not at an angle — from the front of Martin’s chest to his back, piercing his heart and lung.
It was fired at what he called “intermediate range” with the muzzle in “loose contact” with Martin’s clothing.
Bao also told the court there were three abrasions on Martin’s left hand — one on his fourth finger, and two smaller abrasions on his fifth finger.
“This could have occurred two hours before he died, could have happened right after the shooting, on the way down to the ground, could have happened during the physical struggle,” he said.
Bao’s testimony took an unexpected turn during cross examination when he told the court he can’t remember anything about the autopsy and was relying on his notes, the report and photos.
Then, while being grilled about how his office handled Martin’s wet clothing, he said that no one could remember something that happened almost two years earlier.
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