None of us were there that night Trayvon Martin was shot and killed. All we know is what George Zimmerman has said and the testimony of all those during his trial. My prediction is he will be found guilty of manslaughter. That gives the jury the compromise they can live with, even if they personally feel he was guilty of murder or just defending himself. In my opinion, George Zimmerman followed bad legal advice and strategy for his defense. My mentor and expert on lethal force shootings, Massad Ayoob, points out in his classes two very salient points related to self defense shootings. The first point is when selecting your lawyer. There are many good trial lawyers and a few excellent criminal defense lawyers. How many are good at defending innocent men? It is quite a different thing. The strategy and tools are different. In hindsight, I think an affirmative defense may have had a better chance. In claiming self defense you are saying, essentially, “I did what I did because I had to in order to save myself from ‘death or grievous bodily harm’ and YOU WOULD HAVE DONE THE SAME THING TOO! If you had been in my shoes.” On that premise, the defense has to really be on the offense to establish it’s points. Mr. Root was a poor witness and didn’t make clear the dynamics of a lethal force encounter. With the affirmative defense the goal would have been to educate the jury on the dynamics of a violent encounter and get them to understand/empathize with George Zimmerman. Understand that he was being assaulted and had a split second to decide what to do. There are no guarantees in the courtroom, but a traditional criminal defense counts on sullying credibility and debunking the prosecution’s theory of the crime. The decision not to testify was a mistake too. Not for a criminal trial where the accused more than likely,let’s be honest, did do something. In the affirmative defense it would be essential for the accused to stand up and exp-lain what he did and why he did it. He has nothing to hide. Yes, it’s a risk to put your client in front of the prosecutor and have to answer his questions, but that what all the pretrial time prep work is for. So, George made his decisions and his attorneys did their best. His fate is in the hands of the jury. Lessons learned? Avoid confrontation whenever possible. If you carry a firearm, get training in its use and just as important, get training in the legal aspects of violent encounters.