Forensic tests have revealed that no DNA belonging to alleged shooting victim Trayvon Martin was found on the gun fired by murder suspect George Zimmerman.
While the prosecution will argue that this shows that Trayvon Martin never had his hands on George Zimmerman's gun, the absence of DNA in this situation merely shows that either Trayvon Martin never actually touched the gun or if he did, he did not touch it long enough to leave DNA.
George Zimmerman, who is charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of the Miami Gardens teenager, has told police that Trayvon Martin knocked him to the ground, mounted him, struck his head against the asphalt, and reached for his holstered gun. Fearing for his life, Zimmerman removed his gun from its holster and shot Trayvon Martin in the chest.
In order for DNA to be present on an object, the DNA must be transferred from one surface to the other. If your hand touches an item for a long enough period of time, DNA from your sweat secretions or skin cells can be transferred. If you touch an item briefly or don't touch an item at all, no DNA would be present.
In this case, the absence of Trayvon Martin's DNA means little to the defense and certainly does not bolster the state's case (although as a former prosecutor I would probably try to squeeze a few inches out of this one). As a criminal defense attorney, the lack of DNA still supports Zimmerman's contention that Martin reached for the weapon. He just never happened to touch it. And if he did, it is likely that he touched only the holster, which was not tested for DNA.
Zimmerman will probably go to trial sometime in late 2013 or 2014. Ample discovery, including the taking of depositions, must be completed before trial.
If convicted, Zimmerman faces life in prison with a mandatory 25-year sentence for the use of a firearm.
Eric Matheny is a Miami criminal attorney and Broward criminal attorney.