A forensics expert testified Wednesday that no DNA from slain teenager Trayvon Martin was found on the gun George Zimmerman used to shoot him. Zimmerman has reportedly said Trayvon tried to grab the gun as the two fought.
Teenager Trayvon Martin's DNA was nowhere to be found on the gun George Zimmerman used to fatally shoot him, a forensics expert testified Wednesday – a development that may cast doubt on the contention that the 17-year-old tried to grab the gun during a fight with Mr. Zimmerman in a gated community in Sanford, Fla.
The gun grab features in Zimmerman’s explanation of how he came to shoot and kill the unarmed black teenager in February 2012.
The testimony of a state forensic expert, Anthony Gorgone, provided rare bits of hard evidence in the second-degree murder case. It came amid commentators' doubts that the state has been able to prove that Zimmerman murdered Trayvon after illegally profiling him as a possible criminal.
Mr. Gorgone said he found none of Trayvon’s DNA on Zimmerman’s 9mm Kel-Tec pistol. Zimmerman has asserted, to police and to a friend, that Trayvon had grabbed for the gun before Zimmerman fired.
Mark Osterman, Zimmerman’s best friend and the author of a book defending him, testified Tuesday that Zimmerman told him on the night of the shooting that Trayvon briefly grabbed his gun as the two wrestled on the ground. Mr. Osterman said Zimmerman said to him, “somehow I broke his grip on the gun when guy grabbed between the grip and the hammer.”
Gorgone also testified he found none of Zimmerman’s DNA under Trayvon Martin’s fingernails. Zimmerman has said Travyon was beating him badly before he fired into the teenager’s chest. Nor did he find anything "that matched [Zimmerman]" on Trayvon's hoodie, including on either of the lower sleeves of the sweatshirt, he said.
Defense attorneys, for their part, got Gorgone to acknowledge that environmental conditions such as humidity or rain could have washed surfaces clean of DNA.
“Environmental factors, whether it’s raining, or there’s heat and humidity, all those factors can degrade DNA,” said Gorgone. “It chops it up into pieces.”
Heavy rain was falling Feb. 26, 2012, when Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain, spotted Trayvon, called 911 to report a suspicious person, and then followed him when the teenager ducked between a couple of houses in the Retreat at Twin Lakes gated neighborhood in Sanford, a city of 53,000 along Florida’s St. John’s River. After a brief fight, Zimmerman fired into Trayvon’s chest at close range, killing him. “Oh gosh, you got me,” Trayvon said, according to Zimmerman's statements to police.