The defense has opened with a bang in the “Freddie Gray” trial of Police Officer William Porter, bringing to the stand as their first witness noted forensic pathologist Dr. Vincent Di Maio, who is testifying that Gray’s death should have been ruled an accident, not a homicide.

As reported by Kalani Gordon at the Baltimore Sun:

Dr. Vincent Di Maio, a forensic pathologist and former chief medical examiner in San Antonio, said Gray’s injury was “so violent, it’s so high-energy,” that it would have immediately caused Gray to lose control of his body and his diaphragm, which is critical for breathing and speaking.

“This has all the appearances of a single catastrophic injury,” he said.

Gray could not have suffered his severe spinal cord, then, at the fourth stop of the van in which he was injured, when Porter found him on the floor of the van and Gray allegedly asked for help, said he couldn’t breathe and said he needed a medic.

The injury had essentially “cut off the head from the body” in a neurological sense, Di Maio testified. He said Gray’s spinal cord was 80 percent crushed.

“You had a head and a body and they were disconnected,” he said. “You aren’t feeling anything. You aren’t able to move. He was paralyzed. He was quadriplegic.”

Dr. Di Maio went on to characterize the injury as an “accident,” and not a “homicide”:

Di Maio said he believed Gray was injured between the fifth and sixth stops, and that his death was not a homicide as state medical examiner Dr. Carol Allan found, but an accident.

“It’s just an accident,” he said, “and accidents happen.”

On cross-examination by the prosecution, Dr. Di Maio was adamant that Gray would have been unable to speak after the injury (meaning that Gray could not have already suffered his injury at the stop at which he asked Porter for help):

[Prosecutor] Schatzow pointed out that Gray’s spinal cord was not 100 percent cut, and questioned whether Di Maio was sure that Gray would not have been able to speak at the fourth stop in which he talked with Porter.

“Impossible?” Schatzow asked.

“Yes sir,” Di Maio said.

“Completely impossible,” Schatzow asked.

“Yes, sir.”

This post will be updated as more details from the trial emerge.

Background on Di Maio

Those of you who followed our daily coverage of the George Zimmerman trial will recall that Dr. Di Maio testified on the behalf of the defense in that case as well, and provided compelling and pivotal expert testimony in that case: Noted Forensic Pathologist Says Zimmerman Story “Consistent” with Evidence, As Defense Case Nears End.  (The featured picture above is of Dr. Di Maio’s testifying at the Zimmerman trial.)

There Dr. Di Maio was the next to last witness before the defense rested, and Zimmerman would be unanimously acquitted by the jury after only a couple of hours of deliberations five days later.

How pivotal was Dr. Di Maio’s testimony in the Zimmerman case? So pivotal that after Zimmerman’s acquittal the SJW organization Change.Org launched a petition to have his medical license revoked: Revoke the Lic. of Dr Vincent Di Maio Medical Examiner for the Defense in the Zimmerman Case. That effort garnered a whopping 26, count ’em twenty-six, supporters, and is now closed.

So far it is reported that Dr. Di Maio is already directly contradicting the state’s medical experts, and that he is testifying that Gray’s death should have been ruled an accident, says Freddie Gray was injured between the fifth and sixth stops.

Here’s a bit of Dr. Di Maio’s testimony from the Zimmerman trial. You can see our original coverage of his testimony in that case and more video of Dr. Di Maio’s testimony at the link above.

–-Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

Attorney Andrew Branca and his firm Law of Self Defense have been providing internationally-recognized expertise in American self-defense law for almost 20 years in the form of blogging, books, live seminars & online training (both accredited for CLE), public speaking engagements, and individualized legal consultation.
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