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George Zimmerman Trial; Associate Medical Examiner on the Stand

Aired July 5, 2013 - 14:30   ET


DON WEST, ZIMMERMAN'S DEFENSE LAWYER: -- that's your frame of reference, then?


WEST: That other case where there's some evidence that the person was alive longer than your first opinion of one to three minutes?

BAO: Yes.

WEST: Would you agree the range could be quite different?

BAO: Yes.

WEST: Depending on the circumstances?

BAO: Yes.

WEST: And you couldn't really say that in every case where someone was shot in the heart they would survive 10 minutes?

BAO: No. This -- that's why I say one to 10 minutes. I did not say about 10 minutes or 10 minutes. I say one to 10 minutes. I give myself plenty of margin of error.

WEST: So that's really 10 times, isn't it?

BAO: Yes.

WEST: Ten times, one to 10 minutes is a huge --

BAO: Yes. Let me tell you --

WEST: Is that as accurate as you can be?

BAO: Yes.

WEST: OK. Let's then talk about something else you said in connection with that, if I heard what you said earlier in direct, that you said that immediately following the shot, Trayvon Martin would not be able to move. Did you say that?

BAO: Yes, I did.

WEST: Is that your opinion? That based upon the shot to Mr. Martin's heart that immediately upon sustaining it, he would not have been able to move?

BAO: And also I gained the experience --

WEST: If you would just answer the question first. Is that your testimony that -- that immediately upon receiving the injury to his heart and lung, that Trayvon Martin would not have been able to move?

BAO: Yes.

WEST: And are you also saying that he would not be able to talk?

BAO: Yes, I did say that. I would --

WEST: That he would have no voluntary control of his muscles whatsoever?

BAO: I --

WEST: Is that what you're saying?

BAO: I have no idea about that. I -- I do think they can move a little bit. They can make some very painful noise. That's what I learned from the case three weeks ago.

WEST: But you didn't do the autopsy on that case, did you?

BAO: I did not, but I --

WEST: Did you witness the autopsy?

BAO: Yes, I did. I did.

WEST: And that's your database, if you will, for all of this?

BAO: Normally, we have -- we have two person. In this case, Dr. Gallagher did the autopsy. At that day, I -- I did not do autopsy, I think. So because this case is so rare, we have clear picture.

WEST: What I'd like you to focus on, please answer more fully if you need to, but I want to focus on your opinion as a medical examiner in this case.

BAO: Yes.

WEST: So that we're clear. Is it your testimony that immediately upon sustaining the gunshot wound to his heart and lung, that Trayvon Martin would not have been able to move voluntarily?

BAO: I think he was able to move a little bit.

WEST: How much?

BAO: Very, very little.

WEST: Could he pull his hands in? Could he move his hands?

BAO: I don't know.

WEST: Could he move his legs?

BAO: In this world, only one person knows.

WEST: Could he sit up?

BAO: I don't know.

WEST: All right, so somewhere between not being able to move at all and maybe move a little bit, you're just not sure how much or for how long? Is that what you're saying?

BAO: Again, I -- because nobody knows. Only one person knows in this room.

WEST: Objection, your honor. The -- the witness is not being responsive. Could we approach the bench, please?

JUDGE DEBRA NELSON: No. But please rephrase your question and wait until he asks the question to give your answer.

BAO: I don't understand your question because nobody knows what Trayvon did after George shot him.

JUDGE NELSON: Excuse me. Excuse me. Thank you. Dr. Bao?

BAO: Yes.

JUDGE NELSON: You need to wait until a question is finished being asked and you need to answer the question that is being asked. OK? Thank you.

WEST: Your honor, may we please approach just for a second. This is an important matter I'd like to address very briefly.

JUDGE NELSON: Just go ahead and ask your question, please.

WEST: May I have just a moment. I want to be precise with my question.


WEST: And as an expert, you're allowed to give an opinion, obviously.

BAO: Yes.

WEST: I just want to know what your opinion is.

BAO: Yes.

WEST: Your opinion is that Trayvon Martin may have been able to move some after sustaining the shot. You just don't know how much or for how long.

BAO: Yes. WEST: Is that correct?

BAO: Nobody knows details.

WEST: All right, so because it's a matter of opinion?

BAO: Yes.

WEST: OK. So have you done any studies yourself other than this one occasion you're talking about or consulted any research on that specific issue, how long somebody could move or talk, what physical activity they're capable of, and for how long after sustaining a similar injury?

BAO: OK. For human study, we cannot do experiment. So in this world, nobody knows --

WEST: Your honor, the question --

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: OK. You have all been watching. Still this back and forth, I tell you, this is getting tricky. You heard the judge, Deborah Nelson. She is running a tight ship. She wants the specific question asked, she wants the question answered and that is it.

Let's move on. Again, got to get a quick break. They're talking specifically about whether or not Trayvon Martin could have, given this gunshot wound to his heart, have moved just a teeny tiny bit or not. We're still trying to figure that out according to this witness. Quick break.


BALDWIN: We go back to the trial in Sanford, Florida. Again, this could be the state's final witness, this associate medical examiner continuing to be cross-examined by the defense. Let's listen.

WEST: That there is some distance --

BAO: Yes.

WEST: Between the fabric and the skin --

BAO: No. I did not say between the fabric and the skin, between the skin and the muzzle of the gun. There is some distance.

WEST: That's what I'd like you to be clear on so I understand it.


WEST: You're saying that there is some distance between the muzzle of the gun and the skin?


WEST: So -- BAO: When I say contact, it's not contact to the clothes. It's contact to the skin. OK?

WEST: Are you saying that if you contact the clothing and the clothing is next to the skin, that you're not going to see evidence of a contact wound on the skin?

BAO: It depend how you contact. There are two contact, loose contact and hard contact. If you -- the gun through the clothes press the clothes very hard contact skin, then I will see the imprint of the fiber of the clothing on the skin.

WEST: You would also see that stellate pattern you're talking about, the tearing.

BAO: You may not see that if it's hard contact.

WEST: So you're saying that if the barrel of the gun were pushed against the fabric against the skin that you would see fibers in the skin. You might see the stellate tearing but not necessarily?

BAO: I cannot answer that question because I'm -- in this case, I believe it's not.

WEST: You believe what is not?

BAO: I -- I don't believe it is contact. In my autopsy report, I give you three ranges, contact, intermediate and indeterminate means I cannot tell. In this case for me it's also like 3-second question. He had a stippling, his intermediate range. For me I'm different from the firearm technician. They use a chemical method or use actual -- actual shooting to determine the range. They give you whatever, one inch, two inch.

WEST: Let's talk about how you determined your range.

BAO: I use the definition. So if it is stippling, it is intermediate range. Intermediate range, it is stippling.

WEST: Let's break that down just a little bit more.


WEST: If it's not contact, it's the next closest distance, by your definition, would be intermediate.

BAO: Yes.

WEST: There's no such thing as close range.

BAO: Some people do that. In this case, some people will call close range. But I -- I don't do that because --

WEST: So you go from either contact to intermediate.

BAO: Yes. WEST: And in your mind, based upon the resource materials, intermediate can be from less than half an inch?

BAO: Yes.

WEST: All the way out to four feet?

BAO: Yes, less than 0.4 inch to four feet. That's what I said in the deposition.

WEST: And the way you know that is because you know it's not contact?

BAO: Yes.

WEST: And that you see some of the stippling or the tattooing?

BAO: Yes.

WEST: And you know there is a point, there is a distance, where the gun powder drops off? Somewhere around four feet so if the shot is beyond four feet, you're not --

BAO: Not see the stippling, yes.

WEST: You're not going to see any of the stippling.

BAO: Yes.

WEST: You're only going to see the bullet holes --

BAO: Again, this case, when I give you my opinion in the deposition, first thing I need to be safe. So after I determine it is in the intermediate range pattern, then I search the book. I found out that the closest --

WEST: Let me be clear. Have you changed your opinion now from what you gave --

BAO: I did not change opinion because in the book still there, book still same.

WEST: Which books do you refer to?

BAO: I have several books on my shelf.

WEST: Did you refer to any of the books by Dr. Vincent Demayo.

BAO: Yes. His book is one of them.

WEST: All right, so you consulted Dr. Demayo's book on gunshot wounds?

BAO: Yes.

WEST: After consulting his book and others, have you now changed or refined your opinion that the distance of the shot is 0.4 inches to four feet?

BAO: No, I did not. I made the determination before your deposition. I did not --

BALDWIN Quick, quick break. Back after this.


BALDWIN: Back to the testimony. Just to give you a little context, this associate medical examiner is the one to have performed the final autopsy on Trayvon Martin being questioned now about whether or not he changed his opinion on the range of this gunshot.

And you're going to hear this word stippling. I just have learned, stippling is the bit of markings on your skin from the gun powder after being shot. That's the word. Listen for it. Let's resume.

WEST: Is that what you're saying?

BAO: Yes, yes, you're right.

WEST: And once you saw this, you knew that it was an intermediate range?

BAO: OK. Yes.

WEST: And at that point you did not attempt to determine where within that intermediate range this particular shot may have occurred?

BAO: Yes. Because I could not write that down on the autopsy report, because it is not part of autopsy report. It is opinion without very great confidence. It is my responsibility when I do deposition, I have to give you range. So I did research, give you range.

WEST: So the only -- the only testimony you're able to give the jury on how far the muzzle of the gun was from the skin is somewhere between 0.4 inches and four feet?

BAO: Yes.

WEST: If I might have just a minute, I think I'm about finished. Thank you. Thank you, your honor. Thank you, Dr. Bao.

BAO: Thank you.


BERNIE DE LA RIONDA, LEAD PROSECUTOR: Good afternoon again, Dr. Bao.

BAO: Thank you.

RIONDA: let's make sure of a few things. You did a report, and I think it was six pages. Correct?

BAO: Seven page.

RIONDA: Seven pages.

BAO: My notes?

RIONDA: Right. You did a report, but then you also made notes, too?

BAO: Yes, seven pages of notes.

RIONDA: You made seven pages of notes and your report detailed your diagnosis and findings, did it not? Your medical examiner report --

BAO: Yes, the autopsy report.

RIONDA: The autopsy report.

BAO: Yes. Let me see, six pages, autopsy report.

RIONDA: OK. And you documented your findings in this case?

BAO: Yes.

RIONDA: In terms of the gunshot wound, detailing, describing the --

BAO: The autopsy report -- because you cannot rely on your memory to testify say truth, nothing but truth because you don't know the truth.

RIONDA: So at that time it was very fresh in your mind and you did it that same day?

BAO: Yes.

RIONDA: OK and you documented your findings on the report?

BAO: Yes.

RIONDA: OK. And then you created some notes to help you testify in court so hopefully it would be easier?

BAO: Yes.

RIONDA: OK. Like make sure you had your name downright in terms of all your education so it would be easier for you to tell the jury?

BAO: Yes. Even before the deposition, I told you I spent a whole weekend from 8:00 a.m. to 8 p.m. I come to my office. I lay down everything.

RIONDA: Yes, sir.

BAO: I tried to figure out what I can remember. I could not remember anything.

RIONDA: OK. And, in fact, in the deposition, you provided to both sides, defense and state, with some answers to some very simple questions about what homicide is.

BAO: Yes. RIONDA: The definition of intermediate range pattern, correct?

BAO: Yes.

RIONDA: And in it you put in terms of --

BALDWIN: Quick break. This is the redirect. This is Bernie De La Rionda on the state's side going back to that point that was made earlier when they had this whole lunch recess because this, guy, this associate medical examiner was discovered had these notes with him. Not necessarily autopsy notes, but some other kind of notes. They're getting back to that. Quick break, back in a moment.


BALDWIN: Let's continue with redirect with this associate medical examiner still on the stand.

BAO: Yes.

RIONDA: He's trained to do that or did you just that day tell someone to come off the street say, come in here or is he trained to do that?

BAO: Yes. He was trained to do his job. He had previous experience with some other job. We have senior technician train him to do the job.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're vouching for a witness that's not here and subject to cross-examination.

JUDGE NELSON: Can you move on?

RIONDA: OK. I'll move on, your honor. You've mentioned -- may I approach the witness, your honor?


RIONDA: You did recover -- or some blood was recovered, correct, for DNA purposes, correct?

BAO: Yes.

RIONDA: The bottom line, Dr. Bao, whether it's from one to three minutes, from one to 10 minutes, he was going to die?

BAO: Yes.

RIONDA: And never recover from this gunshot wound, correct?

BAO: He had no chance. There are two defects on the heart.

RIONDA: So the bottom line, it could be as little as one minute up to 3 minutes or up to 10 minutes?

BAO: Yes.

RIONDA: Correct?

BAO: Yes.

RIONDA: In your deposition you stated one to 3 minutes, but you recently came across a case where someone could have lived up to 10 minutes, correct?

BAO: Yes.

RIONDA: By the way, in terms of -- you did not go to the scene, correct?

BAO: No, I did not go to the scene.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I object to the leading nature of the last several questions.

JUDGE NELSON: OK. Next question, if it's just to get to a point in testimony, I will allow it.

RIONDA: You -- you were asked by Mr. West to, I think, at some point review your investigator's report that went to the scene? You recall that?

BAO: Yes. I did not go to scene. I just rely on her report here. I do not want to testify on her behalf because I -- I don't have fact.

RIONDA: You didn't go to the scene yourself?

BAO: Yes.


BAO: So I don't have opinion.

RIONDA: OK. Is the evidence -- hypothetically if the evidence showed photographs there at the scene by the police department that the body was covered in a tarp, or a tarp was covered over the body, would that in some way protect the body?

BAO: Yes. Before I came here I did review the scene photos. Not because I went to scene but because I reviewed the photos.

RIONDA: You reviewed photos that were taken by the investigator?

BAO: Yes. I reviewed a few days ago, even yesterday.

RIONDA: Right. Was there indication the body had been covered at the scene?

BAO: Yes, according to my memory, my new memory. Not the memory of one year ago that the body was covered by orange something.

RIONDA: OK. And when you say in terms of Trayvon Martin, in terms of the one minute minimum up to 3 minutes and all that, in other words, his brain was still functioning, but he wasn't able -- was he able to get up and do jumping jacks and all this stuff or not?

BAO: I believe brain is minimally functioning. I don't think he can move based on my case, our case three weeks ago.

RIONDA: All right, don't refer to the other case. Just based on your experience you don't think he can move around?

BAO: I don't know Trayvon Martin's case. I have to refer previous case to predict Trayvon's case.

RIONDA: Sure. All right, in other words -- well, strike that.

BALDWIN: Quick break. These could be the final moments here of the state's case before they rest. Back after this break.


BALDWIN: All right, here we go. Just about the top of the hour. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Good to be with you on this Friday. What a Friday it has been in Sanford, Florida, inside this courtroom. They have now taken a 10-minute recess. The state has yet to rest its case.

But today was the day, this was their chance to make their case and on this day, let me just take you back to the very beginning. They called the person many expected would be their moment compelling witness. Of all people, it's Trayvon Martin's mother. Here she was, Sybrina Fulton.


MARK O'MARA, ZIMMERMAN'S DEFENSE LAWYER: You mentioned that it was probably one of the worst things that you went through to listen to that tape, correct?


O'MARA: And that if it was your son, in fact, screaming as you've testified, that would suggest that it was Mr. Zimmerman's fault that led to his death, correct?

FULTON: Correct.

O'MARA: And if it was not your son screaming, if it was, in fact, George Zimmerman, then you would have to accept the probability that it was Trayvon Martin who caused his own death. Correct?

FULTON: I don't understand your question.

O'MARA: OK, if you were to listen to that tape and not hear your son's voice, that would mean that it would have been George Zimmerman's voice, correct?

FULTON: And not hear my son screaming? Is that what you're asking?

O'MARA: Yes, ma'am.

FULTON: I heard my son screaming.