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Trayvon Martin case: What does the autopsy say?

March 26, 2012|By Rene Lynch

What does Trayvon Martin's autopsy say?

It's been exactly one month since Martin was shot and killed by a neighborhood watch captain armed with a 9-millimeter weapon. The day is being observed with protests, rallies and a town hall meeting. Also notable are leaks of information from police department sources in Sanford, Fla., that could help support George Zimmerman's claim that he fired in self-defense.

That brings us back to the autopsy. Does it conclude whether Zimmerman was standing when he fired? Or was he lying on his back in a defensive position? Does it indicate the angle of the gunshot wound?

Zimmerman has said that he noticed Martin that night in part because the youth was acting strangely -- and possibly on drugs. Was he? Martin had  reportedly been suspended from school days earlier after he was found to have an empty marijuana baggie. Family members have not confirmed this but say they're outraged at what they call blame-the-victim reporting.

The autopsy may provide key evidence in a case making national and international headlines amid allegations of racism. But the public won't get a look at it until the investigation is complete.

The Volusia County Medical Examiner's office, the body that "independently, objectively and scientifically determines the cause and manner of death under certain circumstances," handled the autopsy.

For now, that report remains under seal, spokesman Dave Byron told The Times. It has been forwarded to the Seminole County branch of the Florida state attorney's office and won't be made public while the investigation is pending.

That office, as well as the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice, are among the agencies investigating the Feb. 26 shooting. 

Sanford law enforcement sources recently told the Orlando Sentinel that there's evidence to suggest Martin might have been the aggressor in the incident. Police say those leaks were unauthorized but confirm that the information contained in the Sentinel's article was "consistent" with the details the agency provided prosecutors.

In the absence of evidence from the autopsy report, everyone -- media included -- is speculating about what happened at the scene of the shooting.

"It will be interesting to see what kinds of defensive wounds Trayvon had on the autopsy report," one follower said Monday on Twitter.

"...a witness claimed Zimmerman was on top of Trayvon Martin. Was an autopsy done?" asked another tweet.

It could be weeks, if not months, before the medical examiner's report is made public. A Seminole County grand jury will convene April 10 on the case.

Protesters, meanwhile, promise that they won't let up until they have answers -- and justice.

ALSO:

Blacks in Sanford, Fla., say they've long been harassed by cops

Anger over Trayvon Martin's slaying transcends the issue of race

Trayvon Martin case: 'Blacks under attack' says the Rev. Jesse Jackson

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