Chris Serino looks like your quintessential hard-ass cop from Central casting. The lead detective from the Sanford police department was the key prosecution witness for day 6 of the George Zimmerman trial. You remember Zimmerman, the corpulent, calm, softie, stone-cold killer who asks a day after putting a hole in a young guy’s chest, “He’s DEAD???” There was no expression of remorse or any hint that Zimmerman gave the slightest little damn.
Serino, who seems to pattern himself after TV cops, looked like he might be the first interrogator of Zimmerman who didn’t treat him like he was questioning his own grandmother. He actually appeared to ask some tough questions as if he thought Zimmerman was full of s**t from the get-go. This after a prior female Sanford Police Department questioner turned out to know nothing about the case, simply sitting in her chair nodding like that bird pecking up and down from a glass of water.
Serino, on the other hand, wanted to know why victim Trayvon Martin sprung out from behind some bushes one time and “just materialized” in another Zimmerman answer. Serino asked why Captain Crunch said Martin came from behind bushes the first time. “It was dark” If it was so pitch dark how did another witness see who was on top, give a blow by blow account of the fight and describe the color of both Zimmerman’s and Martin’s attire? I’ve asked that question before. I’m apparently the only one since it never occurs to pathetic prosecutor, Bernie de la Rionda. His just slightly less pathetic courtroom partner, John Guy and de la Rionda have supposedly collectively tried hundreds of murder cases. Say what?
Serino was curious how Mr. Softie forgot the name of one of only three streets in the complex where he lived. Zimmerman went on to a painful explanation as to how he’s always had a terrible memory, though it was not apparently affected by his virtually verbatim responses to numerous interrogations.
You could tell Serino wasn’t buying the Zimmerman fairy tale especially after hearing from the defendant that he wasn’t really following Martin, just “going in the same direction” (ROTFLMAO). And how could you be afraid of the kid and get out of your car and “go in the same direction?”
It was also interesting that after magically appearing ala David Copperfield, Martin purportedly asked the keystone cop, “Hey man, you got a problem, later becoming “What the f**ks your problem homey?” To which the response was “I don’t have a problem.” There’s at least your manslaughter right there. If Zimmerman had no problem, then why was he following an innocent man? At first Zimmerman said Martin was “looking in windows”, then Martin was looking “AT houses.” Nobody who lived in any of those houses called 911 or Mr. neighborhood watch’s cell to complain. Nobody.
You could tell by the police videotape that Serino was not a big fan of many of Zimmerman’s answers. His testimony seemed to be fertile ground for the prosecution.
Au Contraire dear friends. By now you’re well aware that this prosecutor can make sour lemons out of the tastiest of lemonade. He took advantage of no openings wrought wide by Serino. He failed to have this critical witness expand on points that were highly unfavorable to the killer. He didn’t pursue the matter of Zimmerman not giving one little damn about the dead teenager, his “shock” at hearing of the death he knew was a fait accompli moments after the shooting. Martin was, in fact, declared dead at the scene. De la Rionda failed to push the fact that nobody saw the initial confrontation between Zimmerman and Martin. It’s largely a circumstantial case and the circumstances indicate a cold-blooded shooting provoked by the shooter.
In any event, as I watched Serino, I was comforted by the fact he wouldn’t melt in Defense Attorney Mark O’Mara’s cross examination like every other prosecution witness. As it turns out, Serino melted every bit as quickly as the Wicked Witch from the Wizard of Oz when O’Mara soaked him with the same watery narrative that had dispatched all other prosecution witnesses.
Here’s how O’Mara works. He spends an inordinate amount of time spinning a romantic description of the witnesses’ work. What the job entails; how the witness feels about the job. It’s a dance of seduction. He’ll ask and answer whatever question he wants dismissed from the juror’s minds. He’ll minimize vital testimony that could potentially harm his client. To O’Mara, Zimmerman’s apparent indifference (O’Mara called it his flat effect) to the death of Martin wasn’t indifference at all. It was merely Zimmerman’s traumatic reaction to having taken a human life in SELF-DEFENSE! O’Mara even offered to obtain psychological help. Understand, this is not what Serino said. This was not in evidence. No experts testified. This is the defense counsel giving the jury an answer to dismiss what should have been a vexing problem for Zimmerman. He even got the now testicularly-challenged Serino to offer that “Zimmerman could have been a victim too.”
In taking the issue of non-life threatening Zimmerman injuries off the table, O’Mara shrugged dismissively in saying that in self-defense we don’t need to see any injuries, do we? Serino obediently concurred. The prosecution has never once asked anybody if Zimmerman ever expressed fear for his life, another key element of the case. O’Mara said his client at no time had ever expressed ill-will, hatred or spite toward Martin. Serino, as usual, agreed. Let’s see, calling someone a f**king punk and asshole is apparently to O’Mara and Serino an endearing phrase. Granted, it was a catch-all for bad guys who had come calling, but at the time Zimmerman considered Martin to be one of those bad guys. And how about killing a man? Ill-will? Hatred? Spite? Believe me, you’ll not hear anything from the prosecution on redirect.
In an exquisite piece of timing by the defense the day ended with this Q & A: O’Mara; “Do you think George Zimmerman was telling the truth?” Serino; “Yes.”
Class dismissed. This case continues to be painful to watch for all the missed prosecution opportunities and the endless river of defense snake oil. Again, the facts. Except for one witness who must have been wearing night vision goggles, we’re left with Zimmerman’s shaky version of events. Not in dispute, Zimmerman left the car, followed (in evidence) and accosted him (yes, I believe Zimmerman called out Martin), then said he had no problem after stalking him armed. He said the teenager started the fight by punching him in the face. We don’t know whether Zimmerman threw the first punch and hit him in the body or missed completely or pushed Martin and the fact that Zimmerman was slightly injured goes much more to Martin fighting for his life than Zimmerman.
How do I know Martin was fighting for his life? He was shot dead, fool!