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Medical examiner says Zimmerman's injuries 'very insignificant'

| Tuesday, July 2, 2013, 9:09 p.m.

SANFORD, Fla. — Volunteer watchman George Zimmerman suffered “insignificant” injuries in the fight in which he shot and killed unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, a medical examiner testified on Tuesday, as prosecutors attempted to undermine Zimmerman's claim he feared for his life.

Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty to a charge of second-degree murder, saying he shot Martin in self-defense during their confrontation inside a gated community in the central Florida town of Sanford on Feb. 26, 2012.

Testifying for the prosecution at Zimmerman's trial, Medical Examiner Valerie Rao said she reviewed Zimmerman's medical records and 36 pictures of his injuries taken at the police station after the fight.

“They were not life-threatening. They were very insignificant,” Rao told the Seminole County criminal court jury.

Zimmerman, 29, has said Martin, 17, punched him in the face and repeatedly slammed his head into a concrete walkway. Zimmerman, who is white and Hispanic, could face life in prison if convicted.

The racially charged case captivated much of the nation in 2012. Police initially declined to arrest Zimmerman, accepting his story of self-defense and sparking protests.

A special prosecutor later brought the murder charge. The prosecutor accused Zimmerman of profiling Martin and chasing him vigilante-style, rather than waiting for police to arrive.

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