George Zimmerman trial: Defense expert witness Dennis Root

By Andrea Torres, Local10.com Reporter, atorres@local10.com
Published On: Jul 10 2013 02:13:30 PM EDT
Updated On: Jul 10 2013 08:00:48 PM EDT

George Zimmerman tirial: Dennis Root testified Wednesday in Sanford, Fla.

SANFORD, Fla. -

Law enforcement expert Dennis Root was on the witness stand in the George Zimmerman trial Wednesday. It was his first time testifying as an expert in a criminal trial.

Root said he reached out to Zimmerman's defense before the trial and asked if he could help. Root usually charges a $1,500 consultancy fee and $125 an hour for expert testimony. But said self-promotion was not his motivation.

"I'm dedicated to finding the truth," he said.

Root admitted that he never used deadly force in his law enforcement career. During questioning in court, Root said that if presented with the same options Zimmerman said he had on the rainy night of Feb. 26, 2012 -- he would have acted differently.

"It's just a matter of what you as the individual views as options," Root said.

Root also said Zimmerman did the best he could, when he chose to kill Trayvon. Zimmerman wasn't an athlete and lacked capabilities, ability and training in self-defense, Root said.

Zimmerman "would find himself lacking when compared to Mr. Martin," Root said.

Defense attorney Mark O'Mara and prosecutor John Guy used a gray life-sized dummy to show jurors where they thought Zimmerman and Trayvon were during the struggle.

Guy said Trayvon was on top of Zimmerman.

O'Mara borrowed the dummy and while on top of it he said Trayvon was not moving away from Zimmerman when he was shot.

Root said that he became interested in fighting during child hood, as his two older brothers beat him up.  He added that from his experience with fighting Zimmerman's injuries were "a physical fist fight."

Root also had an opinion about fighters who throw the first punch during a fight.

"You let the person know you're for real and it's devastating," Root said.

Root also said that who ever controls "the rhythm of the fight" generally "can become victorious." Root said Zimmerman did not have a warrior mentality.

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